The title pretty much says it all. In fact, that’s all for today – thanks for reading!
Ok, I’m not really gonna cop out that quickly (in fact I may be lying, because I do have a reasonable idea on why Dwayne isn’t in the bigs) but the general point stands. As word on the street has him potentially bolting the D-League for more lucrative work overseas, it seems a good time to examine the question.
I think the statistics speak pretty well for themselves. Nobody averages 15.6 rebounds per game in any league unless they are an absolute murderer on the backboards.
Having watched Dwayne Jones (currently of the Austin Toros, as if you didn’t know) up-close-and-personal this year, game action confirmed what statistics suggested: he is a good positional rebounder and a physical specimen seemingly built for this particular job. But perhaps most importantly, he is a tenacious worker on the glass. In fact, tenacious might be an understatement.
In two games at the Jam Events Center, I watched Dwayne Jones grab a total of 46 rebounds – 21 offensive and 25 defensive. Granted, Bakersfield is not a particularly good rebounding team, but it is considerably better with the improvements made by Brian Butch and the presence of seven-footer John Edwards.
Based on what I’ve seen from Jones and throughout the NBA (and I am a dedicated NBA follower both personally and professionally) I would say there are no more than six or eight teams where he couldn’t step in today and be at least the second-best rebounder on the squad. Jones simply doesn’t quit on a rebound until he has it or an opponent is either doubled over with the ball in his belly or swinging his elbows like scimitars.
It’s an impressive commitment, one that inspires memories of Dennis Rodman for a 28-year-old Bulls fan. And while his defensive prowess might not be quite Rodman-esque, he does bring a similar enthusiasm to that side of things and ranks third in the D-League with 1.9 blocked shots per game.
Why then can he not get a call-up? Well you could point to his lack of offensive skills, but the guy is managing to average 17.1 points on 61.8% FG shooting without any real offensive game.
To me that says he already understands his strengths and weaknesses – he knows that his best offense is the dunk, and he rarely wastes his or his team’s time with attempts at back-to-the-basket moves. Not to mention that even if he didn’t already play that way, you’d think an NBA coach could convince him not to shoot from outside of the crease and to kick the ball back out on offensive rebounds.
This is where I stood, philosophically speaking, a few days ago when discussing this quandary with one of my roommates, Bakersfield Jam assistant coach (and wise elder) Chris Leazier. I just couldn’t understand why no team had seen fit to spend a few bucks on a demonstrably dominant rebounder and quality defender in the rash of call-ups after the trade deadline.
Naturally, Chris is considerably cleverer than me (as proof, he would probably call himself “more clever”). Jones had, in fact, worked out for the Dallas Mavericks but received no contract offer; this fact led Chris to a conclusion that likely never would have occurred to me but seems to make rather a lot of sense.
To wit: teams want to work guys out, and it’s easy to imagine that Jones would be a terrible workout guy.
When I say terrible workout guy, I don’t mean that he would underperform in workouts, per se. Rather just that his particular skill set is not one that you might expect to resonate particularly well in solo workouts.
He is obviously a very good athlete, but he doesn’t necessarily appear fluid or graceful in his movements around the court. He would have very little to show in terms of shooting or post moves. I don’t know his vertical leap offhand, but I don’t imagine it would be especially impressive.
The strength of Dwayne Jones is his ability to out-battle, out-hustle, downright out-will other players for a rebound. How one is expected to show that in a one-man workout – or even really in a four or five-man workout – I am not entirely sure.
That said, it’s still hard for me to believe that with NBA scouts at virtually every game, nobody thought the D-League’s best rebounder (and he is grabbing five more rebounds per game than the guys in second place) was worth a look at the next level.
So I guess I wasn’t lying to you after all…
I don’t understand why Dwayne Jones isn’t in the NBA right now.