Although the modern NBA calls for someone like Anthony Davis to exclusively play center, the Los Angeles Lakers knew they needed to surround him with other big men to get him through the rigors of the regular season.
To his credit, Davis played most of his minutes at the five during the 2021-22 season, but the Lakers wasted no time in finding him a running mate in the front court when they brought back a familiar face in Damian Jones on a two-year deal.
Jones played in eight games in Los Angeles during the 2020-21 campaign, starting six of them. As a rim-running center who was a reliable lob target, he provided vertical spacing in the half-court and figures to resume the same role in his second stint with the team
The 27-year-old could have had his pick of teams but acknowledged that playing alongside the Lakers’ stars is what drew him back to the Purple and Gold.
“Being familiar with being here and maintaining that relationship and just the opportunity here getting to play with these guys LeBron [James], Russ and AD,” Jones said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Even though the Lakers ended up parting ways with Jones after his 10-day contracts ended in 2021, he is still happy to have landed back with them.
“Yeah, for the most part, I knew just trying to leave a good impression for any future opportunities and for me to be able to come back here, it’s great. I’m glad to be here. I’m glad those 10 days worked out well.”
Playing alongside stars like James, Davis and Westbrook would be a draw for any free agent and with playmakers around him, he will be able to focus on his role whenever he takes the floor. It will be interesting to see how head coach Darvin Ham works in Thomas Bryant and Jones alongside Davis, but the Lakers should feel comfortable with the big man rotation they’ve assembled.
Damian Jones envisions role will be like JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard
As an athletic big man, Jones has blueprints to follow as far as his role with the Lakers. In fact, Jones envisions he will be used much like JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard have been in previous years.
“Probably similar to like, was it I guess, three years ago now, like, when JaVale [McGee] and Dwight [Howard] we’re here in last year, but you know, probably something similar to that role.”
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