Kevin Jones is trying to make another run at the NBA and it seems he’s right on track.
Jones, a 6-foot-8 power forward, has been quite impressive in the early stages of the NBA Summer League for the Indiana Pacers.
Last night, Jones had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in a blowout win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, earning him the NBA.com Off the Radar Performer. The double-double was his first of the summer league season and the second time he’s scored in double figures.
In his first two games he had games of 17 points, seven rebounds and six points, eight rebounds, helping the Pacers to a 2-1 record in the early goings.
Through three games, Jones is averaging 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, putting him at 15th overall in scoring and third in rebounding in the Orlando League. His 9.0 rebounds per game are also good enough to lead the Pacers this summer. The impressive thing about it, however, is that he’s averaging just 24.0 minutes per game. The West Virginia forward is also shooting 51.5 percent over three games.
Playing in the summer league doesn’t guarantee a roster spot for any unsigned talent, but playing above and beyond your so-called “pay grade” will open teams eyes.
In the 2010 summer league, Jeremy Lin came in as an unsigned player and played with the Dallas Mavericks. He was later signed by the Golden State Warriors and burst on the scene a year later.
The difference between a player like Lin and a player like Jones is the fact that Jones has put in time in the NBA’s Developmental League, playing for the Canton Charge, and has even had some experience in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers whereas Lin floated around from team to team in the D-League before the New York Knicks took a chance on him.
While NBA coaches are looking at their own rookies that they’ve drafted, it takes the pressure off Jones.
Rookies are working for a way in. Jones has proved he can play.
Now, this time around, Jones is back in the summer league to prove he can excel in the NBA. And his numbers have been on par, ranking up and, in some cases, beyond, top draft picks.
Jones and the Pacers are back in action today at 3 p.m. against the Miami Heat.