Today let's take a look at Dwayne Jones. He has been in the background since arriving from Minny, but I can't help but feel that if given a chance, he will be a force in the center. I certainly like his game more than Pitts or Scal. On a team that needs rebounders, especially to run, Dwayne could fit really well. Danny insisted on his being included in the Minny trade. I have to believe that he is going to play a role on this team and get some minutes this year. If nothing else, the battles between Perk and Dwayne in practice must be something to see.
Dwayne Jones is a bit of a mystery to Celtics fans. I couldn't find much biographical information on him. He is 6'11" tall and specializes in rebounds and blocking shots. His hometown is Chester, Pennsylvania and he went to high school at American Christian School in Aston, PA, where he was a three-time first team All-Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference selection and averaged 25.8 points, 17.8 rebounds and 6.4 blocks per game as a senior. His father, Dwayne, played football for West Virginia in the 1980's.
He went to St. Joseph's in Philadelphia and was a teammate of Delonte West there. He redshirted for the 00-01 season. His sophomore season, he started all 32 games and led the A-10 in blocks with 2.0 bpg and he ranked 10th in the conference in rebounding at 7 rpg. His junior year, he ranked fifth in the nation in rebounds with 11.6 rpg and blocks with 3.0 bpg. He also averaged 10.1 points. He had 19 double doubles on the year and became the first SJU player since 95-96 to average a double double. He was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week twice. He led the Atlantic 10 in blocked shots in 03, 04, and 05. He was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the year in 2005.
He was an early entry candidate in the 2005 draft but went undrafted. Minnesota signed him to a contract in August of 2005. Minnesota sent him to the Florida Flame of the NBDL and while there he lead the D League in rebounds (11.7) and blocked shots (2.04). He also averaged 8.9 ppg.
He was traded by the Timberwolves to the Celtics in the January trade that sent Mark Blount, Marcus Banks, Justin Reed and Ricky Davis to Minnesota for Jones, Kandi, and Wally. He remained in the D League until February when the Celtics called him up to the parent team. It was said at the time that Danny insisted on Jones being included in the trade. Jones didn't see much playing time until the last two games of the season. When he finally got playing time, he showed that he can really help on the boards. in 28 and 30 mpg, he grabbed 13 and 10 rebounds respectively. He hasn't shown that he can be much of an offensive player and most of his points came on put backs after a rebound.
In this year's Summer League, he didn't see much playing time. It may have been because they were looking at other players or perhaps they didn't want to showcase him so that other teams wouldn't ask for him in a trade. He only played 10 mpg and averaged 2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1 assist, and .5 blocks per game. One of the observers at the games mentioned how absolutely immovable that Jones is when he gets position under the basket.
"Dwayne Jones has all the physical tools you look for in a solid big man rotation player in the NBA. He is built like a rock and has great size of 6'11 on a terrific NBA body that is already chiseled to perfection. He is extremely athletic, he runs the floor very well, possesses a very good vertical leap and is extremely quick off his feet. He has gotten better consistently every year in many key areas since his freshman year, and there is no reason to believe that he won't continue to do so since he has a very good work ethic.
Defense is Jones' forte as of right now. He is a terrific shot blocker, thanks to his strength, wingspan, and outstanding vertical leap, and can block shots with either hand which is a nice skill to have from a player of his size. Weak side shot blocking is where he excels the most right now, he is quick to rotate over and elevate for an emphatic rejection. His timing is extremely impressive and this leads you to believe that this is certainly a skill that will translate over to the NBA.
Thanks to his body, timing, and athletic ability, Jones is a terror on the offensive glass. This is where he scores most of his points, as getting touches offensively are very hard for him to come by in St. Joe's extremely perimeter oriented offense. That, along with setting picks seems to be his main role right now in St. Joe's offense. Occasionally he will get the ball after sealing off his man, and Jones is always sure to finish strong around the basket with an emphatic dunk."
He certainly has promise and the fact that he hasn't seen much playing time, even in Summer League, is quite puzzling. On a team that has rebounding and defense as its biggest weaknesses, you would think that they would be giving a big man who can rebound and block shots more minutes. When he has had a chance to play - in the D League and the last 2 games of last season - he has produced. It isn't clear what his role on the team will be or even if he will be on the team at all, but you have to think that a player with his size and talent should find playing time. I would love to see him have the chance.
Count me in as a Dwayne Jones supporter. I think highly of this kid's chances of becoming a regular in the big man rotation. IMO, he's got some aspects to his game that Perkins doesn't; speed and lateral quickness. His speed can help us play the small ball better because he'll be a factor in the uptempo game as a Center. And his better lateral quickness allows him to shift around the paint quicker and stay in front of quicker big men. I would like to see these 2 duke it out for the starting spot (though I still say we will benefit a great deal by getting a star Center who supplants both guys at the starting spot). Perkins has more strength, while DJ has better quickness and lateral movements. Both guys are 6'10" ~ 6'11", both have long reaches, both guys hold their ground well, and both guys play with toughness.