Kevin Jones making a difference for the Cavs as the season winds down
photo by Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer
Kevin Jones has had an interesting rookie season. He has split time between the Cleveland Cavaliers and their NBDL affiliate, the Canton Charge. When he goes to Canton, he dominates with averages of 22.4 points and 11.5 rebounds in 37.5 minutes per game. With the Cavs, He’s played in 27 games, averaging nearly 10 minutes per with around 2 points and 2 rebounds per game.
In the last three games with the Cavs, Jones’ minutes have increased dramatically, due in part to an injury to Luke Walton, but also Cavs’ head coach Byron Scott sees something in Jones in which he wants to get a closer look. His points and rebounds in those three (averages of 3 points and 5 rebounds) don’t tell the full story. When you scratch the surface and dig a little deeper, you can see how Jones has helped the Cavs to a 2-1 record in those games. The lone loss came after blowing a 20-point lead to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. The Pacers hold the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs race.
In the wins at home against Orlando and on the road against Boston over last weekend, Jones played 19 and 22 minutes respectively. He struggled shooting, going a combined 3-15 from the field. While Jones may not fill up the stat sheet in areas that would help your fantasy team, he’s doing things to help his real-life team win. That is, the intangibles that made him such a good player at WVU: hustle, defense and work ethic.
The +/- statistic keeps track of how a team plays when a particular player is on the court. If the players’ team outscores the other team during that time by, say, 5 points, then that player would earn a +5. Conversely, if that team is outscored by 5 points, then they would get a -5. A good + rating shows that that team plays better with that person on the court.
In the two wins over Boston and Orlando, the Cavs were a combined +26 with Jones in the game as pointed out by Chris at Akron Sports Now. Jones played great defense in those games and hustled all over the court. It might not show at the first glance at the boxscore, but Jones was very much a key part for the Cavs in those wins.
Someone who doesn’t always look at boxscores and recaps, but would have a good feel of how Jones played is his head coach Byron Scott. Jones’ efforts have not gone unnoticed.
”"Kevin’s just a solid player,” Scott told Jodie Valade of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s just one of those guys who when he’s out there, he’s not going to make a lot of mistakes. He doesn’t try to do things he’s not capable of doing. If he has an open shot, he takes it, and he takes it with confidence. Defensively, he doesn’t hurt you because he has a good understanding of where he needs to be and where he should be. I think the last two games he’s looked pretty comfortable out there and he’s played pretty well.
”He has a knack for rebounding the ball and doing some little things that I think will keep him around here for a while, in the league,” Scott continued. “Plus, he’s a great kid who works his butt off.”
Going into their game on Friday night, the Cavs have four games left on their schedule. That is four more chances for Jones to cap off his rookie season on a strong note.