The NBA Draft usually marks the beginning of the off-season and the wheeling and dealing commences. This summer is primed to be the most active in league history. With that in mind, the stage was set for a very active and eventful draft night, even so for the Mavericks. While the front office has their eyes set on landing a big free agent such as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or Joe Johnson, the move they made on draft night may provide a starter-kit for a player they may be targeting.
The idea of moving up into the first round became reality as the Dallas Mavericks signed a check for three million dollars to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights for the 25th overall pick in the draft, Dominique Jones from South Florida. Jones was projected as high as the 3rd best shooting guard to come out of this year's draft. He was the Big East's second-leading scorer last season. The 6-4, 216-pound guard, averaged 21.4 points last season for the South Florida Bulls.
Here's a scouting report for the guard from South Florida:
Strengths: Powerfully built combo guard with a polished offensive game ... An instant offense type of player who is capable of big scoring outbursts ... Has developed into a mature, polished guard with a good grasp of the game ... Strong leader who has gained a lot of confidence in his game and plays with a swagger ... Shows diverse offensive skills, with an excellent outside shot plus the ability to create off the dribble ... Understands how to use his strength to create space and finish at the rim ... An solid athlete who makes up for his lack of size with craftiness ... Owns a solid first step and the shiftiness to keep defenders off balance ... Effectively creates offense for himself and others off the dribble ... Has good form on his shot with a quick and compact release ... Fundamentally sound player who does everything on balance and with a purpose ... Uses his strength to post up defenders effectively ... Competitive, high energy player who always gives strong effort ... Handles the ball with ease and rarely makes unforced errors ... Possesses excellent vision and passing ability, which is impressive considering his scoring prowess ... Equally effective playing on or off the ball ... His excellent ball skills should allow him to play some point guard in spot duty ... Effectively utilizes the teardrop instead of taking drives all the way into shot blocking bigmen ... Works hard, using sharp cuts running his defender off picks to free himself for shots off the ball ...
Weaknesses: A tweener lacking a true NBA position but shows the ability to play either guard spot and appears destined to settle into the 2G spot ... Lack of size limits his potential to a degree ... Struggled to play up to his ability before his junior year ... Outside shot has been riddled with inconsistency. Shot can be streaky ... Not an overwhelmingly explosive athlete, but has the hops and strength to finish at the rim ... His lack of size lends to questions about his ability to create shots against longer and more athletic defenders. How big an effect will this have on his effectiveness ... Doesn't get huge lift on his jumpshot, which due to his size is a slight concern ...
And here is instant analysis from Head Coach, Rick Carlisle
"Dominique Jones is a guy we had (ranked) as a top-three 2-guard in the Draft,'' said Carlisle, noting that the South Florida product is the only guy in the country who averaged 21 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. "We'd looked at trading up a lot higher to get him. ... He was above Anderson, and we like Anderson. ... Jones is a very resourceful scorer. His ability to get to the line is unique for a college player ... Great body, strong. ... We like his toughness, his ability to score, his sense and feel for the game offensively.''
Carlisle raved about Jones' NBA readiness, calling it "almost unique. He's got a pro-ability to get his own shot and create,'' the coach said, labeling Jones "very humble and a hard-working kid who seemed appreciative of the opportunity to get drafted and come here. ... We do a lot of homework on off the court things, character.''
For the Florida perspective on "DoJo" coming to Dallas, be sure to check out Voodoo 5
Dominique Jones is widely seen as a "tweener" or combo guard, but it appears his fit on the Mavericks is at the shooting guard position. He does appear to have the Dwayne Wade-like abilities and those skills fill a gap that is currently lacking on the current roster. The consistent mindset to attack the lane and have the strength and ability to finish at the rim, while absorbing contact, is an added bonus for the team. His size might be seen as a sign of caution but that is over-exaggerated. Shooting guards such as Wade and Ray Allen are comparable in size to Jones.
If you run with the idea of Jones being a two guard, this might solidify the fact that the Mavericks believe that Roddy Beaubois can handle the point guard responsibilities and still bring some added depth to the shooting guard position. The Beaubois/Jones duo has the potential to pack a powerful punch on the offensive end of the court.
The depth at the guard position is interesting with the selection of Jones. In addition to the rookie, they still have Jason Terry, Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, Roddy Beaubois, JJ Barea, and Matt Carroll who could easily fill minutes at the shooting guard position. Trade rumors will swirl all summer long with all of the above mentioned players. It will be interesting to see how it plays out and to see who stays and who goes.
The fact that the Mavericks didn't have to sacrifice any of their "trade chips" to obtain Dominique is another huge plus. The NBA landscape contains teams shedding salary and are afraid to spend any kind of money. While that is the case, Mark Cuban opened the wallet and took a chance on a player who can provide a spark to the roster. The Mavericks are poised to be active this summer and they hit the ground running tonight with the addition of Mr. Jones.