Former University of Washington forward Bobby Jones was a second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2006, who was traded immediately to the Sixers. He signed a two-year deal with the team and played spot minutes of 44 games in his rookie year, before being traded again in the offseason to the Denver Nuggets as a part of the Steven Hunter/Reggie Evans swap. Denver played him in 25 more games but waived him before the contract guarantee date, at which point Jones signed two ten-day contracts with the Grizzlies. After the expiration of the second one came a fresh one with the Houston Rockets, quickly followed by two more with the Miami Heat, and one with the San Antonio Spurs, before Denver picked him back up for the last week of the season. Denver signed him to a contract that ran through the 2008-09 season with various guarantee dates along the way, and precisely because of that, Jones’s unguaranteed deal became a trade chip, one capitalised upon when he was traded along with Taurean Green to New York in exchange for Renaldo Balkman. The Knicks waived him a day later, which prompted the Heat to claim him off of waivers, yet he lasted only about a week there before Miami waived him prior to his contract guarantee date kicking in. A month later, Jones joined the Sacramento Kings for training camp, but did not make the team. And that was Bobby Jones’s NBA career.
Jones has not signed an NBA contract since. However, given that he played for six teams in two years, and was a member of 11 franchises in that time (including two of them twice), the NBA had probably gotten him pegged by then. Jones currently plies his trade in Italy for Bancas Teramo, for whom he averages 11.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in Serie A alongside 12.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in the EuroCup.
Damon Jones was also in Italy, but not now. He was a midseason signing of Martos Napoli, and played in nine games for the team, averaging 13.3 points per game. The self-proclaimed best shooter in the world took 42 two-pointers, 71 three-pointers and 0 foul shots in those nine games, also managing to record only six personal fouls in 325 minutes. Complete avoidance of physical contact? That’s our Damon.
Jones left Napoli when they went bankrupt. Indeed, everyone left Napoli when they went bankrupt. And when I say everybody, I don’t just mean American veterans such as Jones, Robert Traylor, Kevin Kruger and Travis Best……I mean everybody. Every first team player they had, every second team player they had, and every third team player they had. Every player that could command even the most basic pay check left the club, as the club had no pay checks to give. The only person to stay was assistant coach Federico Pasquini, who now coaches this cataclysmically moribund ragtag pile of dross.
To give you an example of quite how desperately pathetic things have been, Napoli have used 39 different players this season. In only 22 games. All losses.
When the team went bankrupt at the turn of the year, Napoli were last in Serie A with an 0-11 record. They had just lost 85-71 to Bobby Jones’s Bancas Teramo, a game win which Bobby Jones had 18 points and 9 rebounds, and Damon Jones scored 18 points on 16 three-point attempts. Over Christmas, the implosion began, and in their first game after Christmas, Napoli’s remnants lost by a staggering 70 points, 124-54, to Angellico Biella. Yet despite the hugeness of that loss, it was only the beginning.
Napoli lost their first 11 games by a total of 241 points, scoring only 673 points and giving up 914, despite all the former NBA talent on the roster. Their average final score was an 83-61, their closest loss being three points, and their heaviest being 40. But after the implosion, 40-point losses became the stuff dreams are made off, because the losses started reaching three digits. In their 11 games post-bankruptcy and mass exodus, Napoli have scored 595 points and conceded 1,591. Their highest scoring output was 82, and their lowest 37 (achieved twice); their lowest points-against was 117, while their highest was a staggering 181. That’s 181 points conceded, in a 40 minute game. Their average loss is 90 points, their smallest lost is 58, and their biggest loss is 126. Points. In a 40 minute game.
In these 11 games, Napoli have grabbed only 202 rebounds, for an average of 18.4 per game. They have given up 615 rebounds, for an average of 55.9 per game. Opponents have more offensive rebounds than Napoli do defensive ones, and this is in spite of the fact that opponents barely play their senior players against them any more. For example, in Napoli’s last game, a 176-50 loss to Carife Ferrara, no Carife starter played more than 20 minutes. Two of the starters were Luke Jackson and Sharrod Ford; Ford had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes, while Jackson had 40 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks. That’s in 20 minutes, remember. Instead, Carife emptied their bench of youngsters, and gave them the opportunity to gain free minutes and free stats. And yet Carife’s deep bench were still so ridiculously far better than Napoli, hence the 126 point victory.
Carife also played a 40-year-old, Massimiliano Rizzo. Rizzo has been an Italian second division player for the majority of his career, and when Carife called him at the start of this season, he was down in the 5th division, playing for a team called Pordenone. Why Carife had called him up when he was so old and so far down the ladder is not immediately obvious, but nevertheless he had appeared in 33 minutes over 10 games, and totalled 4 points, 1 rebound and 6 fouls. So what did he do against Napoli? 21 minutes, 32 points, 14 rebounds, 16-17 from the floor. A forty-year-old man from the fifth tier of Italian basketball is easily, EASILY better than any player from a current Serie A team. It boggles the mind and offends the sensibilities.
It is simply amazing that they are allowed to continue operations, and even more amazing that they want to. There is literally nothing to gain from this weekly embarrassment; the team will not stave off relegation, will not acquire any new senior players, and will not acquire any new sponsors. They exist now only to fail, and fail they most certainly do. So therefore, God bless all those heavily-exposed teenagers for their valiant efforts, and for the remaining skeleton coaching staff who are trying to better some kids lives in the midst of complete and utter humiliation. Those are the heroes in an otherwise depressing tale of basketball failure.
As usual, Dwayne Jones got a training camp contract this October, this time with the San Antonio Spurs. He did not make the team, and went to play for Crvena Zvezda, but he was released after only a couple of days. No official reason was given for this; the unofficial reason was that they just didn’t feel comfortable with him, much like Hedo Turkoglu didn’t like the vibe from Portland after he got there. Or whatever.
Jones instead to the D-League to play for the Spurs affiliate, the Austin Toros, and down there he’s been averaging 40 minutes, 17.4 points and a league leading (if not world-leading) 16.0 rebounds per game. Jones is not much of an offensive player, but he should have been called up long ago. He rebounds, he defends, and he’s big enough to do both at the next level. And even if he can’t post or shoot, he gets to the foul line a ton and grabs a ridiculously big number of offensive rebounds. Those are two offensive skills. He is not hopeless there. And thus he should be in the NBA.
But he isn’t. He’s had his try-outs, including ones with Dallas and Washington this season. But for whatever reason, he can’t even get as much as a ten-day contract. I am starting to think that he walks into GM’s offices and craps on GM’s desks, because there appears to be no other obvious reason as to why he’s not in the league right now.
By the way, a day after I wondered aloud about why the Spurs hadn’t signed Curtis Jerrells, they went and signed Curtis Jerrells. Equilibrium is restored.
Jones was last with the Indiana Pacers, who received him along with two second-round picks in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Shawne Williams, a trade they didn’t do their homework on. In this video clip (51 minutes in), Mark Cuban talks about how all NBA teams try to hide their “morons” so that other teams will take them on, and apparently Indiana did just that with this deal. Whoops. Jones was bought out by the Pacers, retired, and has gone a bit quiet since, although he did appear in an episode of Joes vs Pros last summer.
Fred Jones has spent the season with Angellico Biella in Serie A, where he has averaged 12.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in Serie A play. He missed a couple of months due to injury, returned to play in January, but has missed the last two months with another injury. In that time, Jones called a radio show to announce his desire to take the open Oregon University job, and when you consider that he turned 31 a couple of weeks ago, it’s perhaps not as surprising as it was. At that age, you have to be looking forwards.
Jones is also in Italy, playing for Pepsi JuveCaserta. He is averaging 13.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, with the rebounds ranking 5th in the league. He is averaging 33.0 minutes per game, and would be averaging more were it not for a 7-minute outing versus Napoli. Like I said, front line players don’t play against them much. That’s why the lopsided wins are even more disgraceful.
Former Magic guard Mark Jones last played in 2005-06 with BC Kyiv. Despite that season being only one year removed from his first (and only) NBA campaign, it was Jones’s last, and he retired to become a personal trainer. If you want to book him for an after-dinner speech, you can do so here.
Former Arkansas Little-Rock forward RJJ was a surprise addition to the Philadelphia 76ers training camp roster this October, surprising because he’s never done anything to suggest NBA proximity. Jones-Jennings once led the NCAA in rebounding, but he did so while grabbing more rebounds than points, even in the mid-major Sun Belt Conference. Last year, he averaged roughly 8 points and 10 rebounds, but that was in the German second division. If you can’t score more than you can rebound as those standards of play, you won’t score a single point in the NBA. And if you can’t score a single point in the NBA, you can’t play in it. Unless you’re Michael Ruffin.
Jones-Jennings went to Ukraine to start this year, but then moved to the French second division to play for Boulazac. He is averaging 8.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The man is fearless and can board, but he needs to show more.
Siena product Antoine Jordan didn’t play for the first few months of the season, but signed with Goettingen in Germany in February to replace Cornell graduate Cody Toppert. He is averaging only 4.8 minutes and 1.8 points per game in the German league, playing on a team with eight other Americans. And a Canadian. And one German. True story.
Two of those eight Americans are former Villanova forward Dwayne Anderson and former Illinois guard Chester Frazier. Anderson is averaging 11.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game; Frazier has already been covered in this list, but broke his hand last week and will be out for a while.
Former Clippers draft pick Jared Jordan is also in Germany, playing for Telekom Baskets Bonn, on a team with five Germans. They almost have more Germans than Americans, which is basically unheard of. Jordan is averaging 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game; the assists are tied for fourth in the Bundesliga, fittingly with another guy called Jordan. Even better, his first name is Michael.
Chinese national Kai is in China, and was covered in the relevant post about that. A post about which I continue to receive angry feedback.
The finest Argentinian-German basketball player with the initials FK that you’ll ever see, former Blazers draft pick Kammerichs is in his native Argentina, where he was recently named an All-Star. Kammerichs is averaging 13.8 points and a league-leading 11.8 rebounds; the second leading rebounder has a mere 8.1. He’s also shooting 40% from three-point range, pours in 2.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game, and is in his prime at age 29. Could he be the Blazers’ in-house replacement for Travis Outlaw next season?