When looking at the Dallas Mavericks roster, it's unlikely that Dominique Jones will be joining them any time soon. Jones shouldn't feel like he's being forced to stay in Frisco with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks' Development League affiliate, as punishment. When it comes to playing time, there just isn't any room with the varsity squad for the young guards. An injury or other situations could alter that but right now, he's getting better experience at Frisco and gaining confidence in his abilities.
The Texas Legends have a plethora of former first round picks, including Jones, on their squad but they recently lost one to a major injury. Point Guard Antonio Daniels will be sidelined for several weeks due to a hand injury. Based on rules in the D-League, the team waived Daniels but they retain his rights and the opportunity to re-acquire the veteran guard when healthy.
Guard Justin Dentmon will likely take the role as the starting point guard but Dominique Jones is likely to get his fair share of minutes manning the point. Through seven games in his stint with the Legends, Jones is averaging 16.1 points, 5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 34.1 minutes of action. Speaking with Donnie Nelson prior to Daniels' injury, he called Jones' work as a, "50-50 split" between point guard and shooting guard.
Dominique Jones was sent down to Mavericks' affiliate in Frisco in late November. That doesn't mean he has been totally quarantined from the facility in Dallas. Jones has been making trips back and forth between the two teams. The versatile guard is getting tons of work with both teams, even having multiple workouts within the same day between each squad.
The Mavericks like what their rookie guard is doing. Dallas' General Manager Donnie Nelson is the co-owner of the Legends and that allows him to watch Dominique live and in person. Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle watches as many of the Legends' games as he can and he's communicating with Jones on a day-to-day basis to let him know what the coach notices as Jones continues to develop.
It's been nearly half a year for Dominique Jones to experience life in the NBA and the rookie believes he is playing the same way that got him drafted in to the league. "I think I have the same game," said Jones. "I just think I'm just getting better at certain things and there's still a lot of stuff I have to get better at." Dominique works extensively on his jump shot and you can see that it has improved since he was drafted. The shooting range hasn't been fully extended to three-point territory but he can knock it down. He's gaining more confidence in his jumper in the 18-20 foot range. His shooting percentage has dropped as the minutes continue to go up, but I would attribute that to having more on his plate and a natural dip comes into play. As Jones becomes more comfortable with the minutes and the competition, that should lead to the numbers leveling out.
Dominique Jones loves being able to play the game he loves but he doesn't really focus on positions. "I'm a player, but I like to play point guard," the rookie guard said. "I get my rhythm with the ball in my hands." One of the biggest intangibles Jones has that the Mavericks absolutely rave about is his ability to make players better with his overall court vision. "I just think it comes naturally," Jones said when describing the key attribute. "I'd rather draw (the defense in) and kick it out." When running the point, the rookie thrives when he can push the pace. He is always looking to create a fast break opportunity. That's not a knock at his ability to play in a half-court pace, he is comfortable in that setting. Jones has pretty solid recognition when it comes to being able to take his man off the dribble and attack the defense.
The rookie guard mentioned Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, DeShawn Stevenson and Caron Butler as the guys he's leaning on in terms of mentors on the Mavericks. It's a diverse group the rookie is leaning on for mentors and should lead to an interesting maturation for the guard from South Florida.
As Dominique Jones continues logging mileage with the trips back and forth between Dallas and Frisco, it now appears that he might be more valuable to the Legends as opposed to the Mavericks. "I'm just taking it day-by-day and taking it how it goes," said Jones. The question then becomes: When Dominique Jones comes back to the Mavericks, will he be a point guard or a shooting guard?