The Los Angeles Lakers have another young prospect with NBA potential coming through the ranks in Mason Jones, who made his home debut with the team in Friday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jones thrived in the G League after signing a two-way contract with the Lakers, finishing third in G League MVP voting after averaging 25.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
With the South Bay Lakers season recently coming to an end, he got his chance to showcase his skills at the NBA level against the Thunder for just the third time this season.
Explaining what facilitated his growth, Jones said he didn’t consider playing G League basketball as a step back and made sure he got the most out of the opportunity.
“To be honest, it’s really all credit to the coaching staff from South Bay because I really didn’t have a bad mindset being down there,” the 23-year-old said.
“I really took advantage of the opportunity and when I was down there, I really just wanted to get better because at the end of the day, I needed to continue to show people that I was an NBA prospect so that was the goal at the time and as soon as I changed my perspective in the G League, I started to continue to get better. So I was very blessed to be able to have this opportunity to be in the South Bay organization, to have this chance to be a two-way player for the Lakers. I don’t take none of this for granted.”
Jones got more minutes against the Thunder than his first stint with the team in December when they were dealing with a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Now that time has passed, Jones feels his all-around progress makes him comfortable ahead of his second stint with L.A.
“Coming in from being known as just a scorer to being able to transition to a playmaker, to being able to be considered as a two-way player from defense to offense,” he said. “Just them helping me change perspective of how people were looking at me really helped me. So being able to come in every day and be able to just really continue to take every day joyful. Coming in every day, a lot of people don’t see G League as a blessing, but it’s really a blessing in disguise. I’m definitely more confident.
“Just working every day and being able to work with South Bay, you’re able to be confident and able to really just continue to get better and finally I was able to get a chance to show up here and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Mason Jones not taking opportunity to represent Lakers for granted
Jones scored 13 points against the Thunder to help L.A. win its last home game of the regular season. Although the victory didn’t change anything for the Purple and Gold’s situation in 2021-22, as they have been eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention, the guard said he didn’t take the opportunity to represent the team for granted.
“I was kind of sad yesterday that we lost, but it was actually kind of, one of my friends told me it was a blessing in disguise for me,” Jones said. “Not selfishly wise, but because I knew I wanted to be up here, I wanted to showcase my talents the last couple games. Being able to really take advantage of this last home game as a Laker, I don’t really take that for granted so every day I want to continue to work hard.