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|New Celtic Dahntay Jones, above, will probably make the team as a reserve guard.(Courtesy of NBA.com)|
Apparently, Danny Ainge enjoyed reading these player previews, as he has given me more to write about again with the recent acquisitions of Esteban Batista and former Duke guard Dahntay Jones. So, Danny, here we go with what I imagine is the final Celtics player preview before the 2007-2008 season. Jones joins the C’s with an unguaranteed contract, meaning he must play well in training camp in order to earn a spot on the active roster. His deal is kind of like a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training in baseball. With that said, Jones may have his work cut out for him, as he is staring at three rookies with zero NBA experience that stand in his way. Does Jones have enough to make it?
Yes. The 6’6″ Jones, believe it or not, was originally a Celtic. His first stint was extremely short-lived, however, as he was sent in a trade with BC star Troy Bell to the Grizzlies for PG Marcus Banks and high school center Kendrick Perkins. As you may know, Bell isn’t in the NBA anymore, Banks has bounced around, and Perk is the C’s starting center. So that leaves Jones as the dark horse.
Jones had spent his entire four-year career with the Grizzlies. He barely played in his first season (averaged 7.7 mpg). His playing time progressively increased each year (12.5 mpg, 13.6, 21.4). Last season, his best in the NBA, Jones was the one of the Grizzlies’ best players off the bench, averaging 7.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per contest. His best basketball years, like most players, were in college. He began his college career at Rutgers, but made the smart transfer to Duke after his sophomore season. He red-shirted his third year, and stayed at Duke for two more seasons. In his senior year, Jones averaged 17.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.
Jones is a great player above the rim, with the ability to provide many flashy dunks every night. For most of his career, Jones has not been a very good shooter. Part of that can be attributed to youth, and his career year last season (his best with a .477 FG%) may be indicative of things to come. He doesn’t turn the ball over too much (1.2 per game last season). His problem is that his game ends there. He does not contribute anything on the boards, he’s not a very good passer, and he’s an average defender at best. If Jones makes the Celtics, he’ll make the team with his explosiveness and experience only.
Personally, I feel that Jackie Manuel and Brandon Wallace will see some time in the NBDL this season, opening up the two spots for Esteban Batista and Jones. Jones will provide some experience at the bottom of the bench, and will be there as an insurance policy in case any injury weakens the depth chart at guard. So let’s face it, he’ll probably be on the team but may not play many minutes.
Dahntay Jones’s player projection for 2007-2008: