DALLAS -– From all indications, the Dallas Mavericks can count on Dominique Jones if they want him to run their offense this season.
Jones showed off his point guard skills when he averaged 16.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists for the Mavs during their five summer league games in Las Vegas over the offseason.
“He was very effective,’’ said assistant coach Monte Mathis, who coached the Mavs’ summer league team. “He played a lot of point guard position, which we wanted him to learn a lot about that this summer.
“He really handles the ball well, he ran the team well, he really improved on his passing during the summer league and he was finding open guys. We all know he’s a good pick-n-roll guy, a good driver, but he was really finding the open guy and playing off of that a little bit.’’
But that wasn’t all Jones was able to accomplish during summer league play.
“We used him backing down in the post a little bit, too, as a stronger guard going against a smaller guard, and he did a great job of passing out of the post, too, when he posted up,’’ Mathis said. “He really improved this summer and he’s been playing great in training camp.’’
During his first two seasons, Jones played some point guard, but was primarily used at shooting guard. However, the 6-5, 215-pound veteran is open to playing either position.
“Wherever they need me and wherever coach puts me, I’m ready for it,’’ Jones said. “Me playing the point, that’s just a natural position.
“The (shooting guard spot) -- a natural position. So wherever I’m at I’ll make the best out of it.’’
As a rookie two years ago, Jones played just 18 games and averaged 2.3 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 7.5 minutes. And in 33 games last year he averaged 2.7 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 8.1 minutes.
Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Delonte West, Vince Carter and Rodrigue Beaubois were among the guards Jones had to compete against for playing time last year. But Kidd and Terry are no longer with the Mavs, increasing the chances of Jones earning more playing time.
“We’ve had Hall of Fame guys and guys like Jason Terry who -- when we won the championship -- he was main person,’’ Jones said. “And even last year, Vince Carter and guys like that, you can’t expect to just come in and be put in front of them.’’
Other than improving his skill set, Jones, according to Mathis, has another important intangible working in his favor.
“One thing about the guy is he has extreme confidence about himself and about his game, which you know in this league goes a long ways with whether or not a guy can perform at this level,’’ Mathis said. “He’s very confident about himself, so that helps him play against these guys in this league.’’
Jones is hoping that confidence pays off in the form of more playing time – be it at point guard or shooting guard.
“I think I made a lot of progression during the summer,’’ Jones said. “It was a good summer -- I guess you can say -- for me.
“Yeah, I was pleased with it.’’
-- Dwain Price
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