The Mavericks are signing free agent guard/forward Derrick Jones Jr. to a one-year guaranteed contract, agent Aaron Turner told Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion became a free agent this offseason when he turned down his $3.36 million dollar player option with the Bulls. Jones Jr. played his last two seasons in Chicago, appearing in 64 games last season, while averaging 5.0 points in 14 minutes per game.
Jones, 26, is 6-foot-6 and is mostly known for his dunking ability throughout his seven year playing career. After being undrafted in the 2016, Jones went on to play for the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat, Portland Trail Blazers, and Chicago Bulls.
He now looks to bring athleticism to his new team in Dallas and fill a defensive role off the bench. To be noted, the Mavericks have already acquired Richaun Holmes, Grant Williams and re-signed Dwight Powel lthis offseason, as the team is looking to put an emphasis on improving their frontcourt to complement superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
After all, last year’s Mavs finished 24th in defensive rating and 29th in rebounding rate. With that being said, coach Jason Kidd will look to utilize Jones’ versatility on both sides of the ball.
Jones said in an interview this past April that he puts priority on defending.
”That’s one thing I learned in my career: Defense wins championships,” he told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. “I want to be All-Defensive team one day. I feel like I could do it. I just need the right opportunity and proper amount of minutes.”
Certainly, when looking at Jones’ intangibles, he has all the makings of a 2-way slasher with a 7-foot wingspan and 46-inch vertical. As can be seen with his highlight tape, Jones can certainly play above the rim, but his disruption on the defensive end is what will lead him to leveling up as a player.
By all means, the former UNLV star has showings of decent perimeter defense, with playing passing lanes and contesting shots, he is able to rack up steals and blocks. Not to mention, as being one of the best dunkers in the league, fans in Dallas hope to witness many high flying dunks in transition this upcoming year.