3 ways suggested free agency target Derrick Jones Jr. could help Cavs

Miami Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miami Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. reacts in-game. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Derrick Jones Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Miami Heat wing Derrick Jones Jr. dunks the ball. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Cavaliers’ second reason for targeting Jones: Finishing

Jones, who won the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest (even though Dwyane Wade admittedly helped), is a great finisher.

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In his career to this point first for the Phoenix Suns and since, with the Miami Heat, mostly the last two seasons after signing a two-year deal with them in the 2018 offseason (of which this year’s was fully guaranteed before 2019-20), Jones has hit 69.5 percent of his attempts 0-3 feet from the rim.

He is an incredibly explosive athlete that is always going to have a presence in that way in settled offense. Jones can dunk with the best of them, but he also has nice touch near the basket as well, and is able to use hang time occasionally to hit runners.

His ability to hit those runners has shown more this season, too, and he’s hit 47.2 percent of his attempts from three-10 feet out as a result.

What is a constant with Jones, who has come on this season with 8.9 points per game, is his activity as a cutter and of course, lob threat.

He times up his cuts to the rack well and often receives passes due to that from Adebayo, Butler, Goran Dragic and post-trade deadline, Jae Crowder, among others.

Jones’ ability to do that would mesh well with great passing bigs in Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr., and he could feasibly get to the rack after dump-offs from Sexton, Garland and Kevin Porter Jr., too. Furthermore, thanks to his bouncy style/finishing authority and improved finishing skill level, Jones has placed in the 80th percentile thus far in 2019-20 as a cutter, per Synergy Sports.

That sort of thing could lead to him still being productive offensively in meaningful stretches on the Cavs even as not being a floor-spacer (just a 27.6 percent three-point shooter in his career), and could provide a different wrinkle for them athletically, if they were to target him in 2020 free agency. He always brings activity in the offensive rebounding department, too, and has had a career 7.3 percent offensive rebounding rate, per Basketball Reference.

Plus, even though the range hasn’t shown much yet, Jones hitting 77.9 percent of his free throws this season is at least an indicator that the potential could be there to improve as a shooter. His stroke is more compact than earlier on as well, which is encouraging.

Lastly, the third way a potential Jones signing could help the Cleveland Cavaliers relates to the transition game.