With injuries being an issue throughout much of the season, and the team searching for another big man option aside from Marc Gasol, the Los Angeles Lakers gave a shot to center Damian Jones. A former first-round pick of the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers would sign Jones to a pair of 10-day contracts.
In his short time with the Lakers, Jones did make an impact as an athletic, rim-running big man who gave the team a different look on both ends of the floor. He appeared in eight games overall, starting six, and averaging 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 14 minutes per game while shooting an unbelievable 94.1% from the field, though obviously on a limited number of attempts.
Jones was thrust into a starting role after Marc Gasol entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and Montrezl Harrell preferring to remain in a bench role. Jones handled himself well, providing the team an above-the-rim option on offense and an athletic rim protector on defense.
The big man also understood his role well and didn’t try to play outside of his capabilities. While unable to create his own shots, he was a great finisher when set up by his teammates and always found himself in the right spots. Considering the position Jones was put in due to the Lakers’ injury situation at the time, Jones was a more than serviceable player.
Ultimately the Lakers decided against keeping Jones around for the remainder of the season when that time came to make that decision. This was due largely to the fact that the Lakers wanted to keep that roster spot open once the NBA’s buyout market began to grow, in case a better option became available. They would ultimately add Andre Drummond with that spot.
The Lakers went on a four-game winning streak while Jones was starting and he had a pair of solid outings in the midst of that run. Jones finished with eight points, four rebounds and one block in a blowout win over the Warriors and followed that up the next night with eight points, three rebounds, one steal and one block in a victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jones was a combined 6-for-6 in the two contests.
Following the Lakers’ decision not to retain Jones, he would sign with the Sacramento Kings on a pair of 10-day contracts. Following the conclusion of the second 10-day, Jones would agree to a 2-year deal with the Kings and is under contract for the 2021-22 season.
If there were any hope that the Lakers would give Jones another shot next season, that opportunity has passed.
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