After spending a full season with the Grand Rapids Drive of the National Basketball Association’s D-League, Duke Basketball alum Dahntay Jones looks to regain his form on the grandest stage. Jones signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers where he joins a team full of great expectations in the post season. During this past season, Jones battled the Cavaliers developmental team the Canton Charge fiercely. On the season the shooting guard and defensive specialist played 35 minutes a game and scored 15.7 points per game. For the Cavaliers Jones defensive capabilities will be a key for a long run into June.
In games against Canton’s Charge, Jones jokingly swaggered up and down the court once dunking on 2015 National Champion guard Quinn Cook, the NBA Development League’s rookie of the year. Dahntay Jones also playfully winked at former NBA guard Damon Jones, a Charge assistant and former teammate of LeBron James. James’ newest teammate will be the 15th man on the roster for the Cavs. Minutes will be sparce for Jones in Cleveland where he’ll be playing behind former Duke Blue Devil Kyrie Irving, fellow New Jersey born guard JR Smith, and Iman Shumpert who attended Georgia Tech.
However, in his return to the NBA last night, he played 42 minutes in a 110-112 loss to the Detroit Pistons. He had a pretty solid stat line for someone who has been in the D-League all season: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal. The only glaring issue were his 6 fouls, but aggressive defense for 42 minutes can lead to a lot of fouls. Plus, it’s highly unlikely he’ll see 42 minutes of playing time from here on out, as Coach Tyronn Lue rested his starters for this game.
The most important stat not found in the score-sheet that Jones will help with is post season experience. Jones has played in 49 post season games in the NBA and started 16 of those games. Jones can help out a defense in Cleveland that has given up a lot of points and a lot of shots. Earlier this season, Jones spoke about wanting another chance to play in the National Basketball Association. “I think at 35, I probably have something left to give,” said Jones earlier this season before a Drive divisional duel with the Charge.
Jones has not won an NBA Championship and sat out Duke’s 2001 Championship Season after transferring in from Rutgers. Watching him play against the Charge this year Jones clearly has a little more than something left in the tank. Jones legs looked full of life dunking with ease in 6 games versus Canton this season. His voice will be heard in the Cavaliers huddle. Hopefully, that voice will be loud and full of celebration in June standing next to the Larry O’Brien Trophy. For as much as Dahntay Jones was beloved at Duke, his legacy as the 15th man in Cleveland will last forever if the Cavaliers can win the first championship for the city since 1964.