Damian Jones could eventually be on the outside looking in
Going into next season, it’s nice to know that the Cavaliers will have what should be a more suitable backup 5 than Robin Lopez was last season. Cleveland acquired Damian Jones via trade from the Utah Jazz over the weekend before last, of which has since been finalized, and Jones could help Cleveland’s big man depth.
Jones is not a player who is going to put up gaudy numbers in his minutes, though, as evidenced by career splits of 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per outing.
With Jones, his frame for some rotational rim protection, screening and rebounding could be meaningful for Cleveland to have for spurts, and his physicality as well. His 7-foot-4 wingspan has played into his career blocks per-36 minutes average of 1.7, and that should aid Cleveland’s defense over the course of 48 minutes, one would think.
However, Jones has bounced around a ton in his career, which is not ideal. Further, his lack of shooting capability really aside from near the rim and his issues with fouling could eventually lead to him being out of the rotation. That’s especially when considering Evan Mobley will seemingly get run again as a de facto backup 5, and by comparison, even as a two-way player, Isaiah Mobley has more offensive prowess than Jones, who is predominantly a roll-and-cut big.
Perhaps Jones’ physicality, length defensively, rolling activity and energy play ends up being a notable boost for Cleveland’s bench. As a two-time NBA champ, back in his first two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, he could help this still-young Cavs team from an intangible standpoint, too.
The issue is, with Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and potentially Isaiah Mobley in the fold, Jones might prove to be the odd man out there at some point.