Jones scores points, but not with everyone
Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon Journal has an interesting article on DJ.
You know the old saying about leopards and their spots, virtually the same goes for NBA veterans.
The book on Damon Jones was penned years ago; now the Cavaliers are reading its dog-eared pages. Jones is giving them exactly what they thought he would when they heavily courted and then signed him last summer. He makes 3-pointers, sometimes in droves. He leads the NBA in 3-pointers per 48 minutes. He leads the team in makes, attempts and percentage (if you discount Sasha Pavlovic’s small 3-of-6 sampling). He’s shooting almost exactly his career average from behind the arc, about 40 percent.
In the locker room, he has become fast friends with the team’s stars. He throws fun parties; he wears the flashiest clothes; he plays stand-up comic and opinion machine with the media. This is Damon Jones at his best.
See, but there’s also Jones at his worst, which the Cavs, and particularly coach Mike Brown, are trying to manage. The fan base has made it clear that they love his shooting ability and have a distaste for his defense, an already popular grindstone on call-in shows. The Cavs knew of his defensive issues when they signed him; General Manager Danny Ferry watches TV, too. Brown insists that Jones actually is doing a decent job and isn’t a bad off-the-ball defender. That is neither here nor there.
The mounting issue with Jones is his attitude. He’s not happy coming off the bench, which he has made ever so clear to any party that asks. He told TNT the other night that going from the starting point guard on the Miami Heat to Cavs backup was akin to going from “the lead singer for the Beatles to a backup, doo-wop guy for the Isley Brothers.” He left the Heat for more money and years with the Cavs, an understandable motive. Yet, the money, it seems, can’t always make up for the fewer minutes and shots he’s getting. At least three times in the past week, Jones has had exchanges with personnel on the bench over substitutions.
Last week in Milwaukee, he asked to come out of the game in the third quarter, apparently frustrated with trying to guard the Bucks’ T.J. Ford. Team athletic trainer Max Benton immediately went over to see if something was physically wrong with him, and the answer was “no.” He didn’t play the rest of the game.
In the loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Jones glared and said something to Brown and assistant coach Hank Egan after he was replaced in the third quarter. Jones had just hit two 3-pointers, but Hawks guard Tyronn Lue had scored or had been fouled by him on three consecutive possessions. Brown then called timeout and put him back in the game.
Then, on Thursday, against the Denver Nuggets, Jones became angry when he didn’t go in at the six-minute mark in the third quarter, when he usually goes in with forward Donyell Marshall. The Cavs were working on a run, and Brown kept Jones on the bench when Marshall went to the floor. Jones glared at Brown and those on the bench when he was sent in at the three-minute mark. During a timeout, a few minutes later, assistant coach Michael Malone spoke to him in an attempt to calm him down.
Jones ended up hitting two big 3-pointers down the stretch that helped the Cavs win that game, so there’s no doubting his value. What remains to be seen is whether it equals the headaches that crop up.
It didn’t seem to in Miami, where the Heat could have re-signed him but passed when they deemed the Cavs’ price too high. Heat coach and president Pat Riley vented Friday when he heard about a comment Jones made to the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy was set up to fail this season.
“He’s questioning my integrity, and it is absolutely who he is,” Riley told the Miami Herald. “That’s why he’s who he is… That’s wrong. But that’s why he’s Damon Jones.”
Riley said it: Damon Jones is Damon Jones. Click HERE for the complete story.