His role has surpassed what the team thought it would be.
After moving into the starting lineup for two games with Richaun Holmes out, Damian Jones is being brought back to the Sacramento Kings on another 10-day contract, per reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Sacramento is signing center Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 16, 2021
The Kings have yet to announce the deal, likely because today was an off day for the team. The official release will probably come before practice tomorrow or before Sacramento plays Dallas on Sunday to maximize Jones’ time with the squad.
Jones has seemed fairly comfortable with what the team is running. He credited that to the Kings’ playbook having a lot of similarities to what the Warriors ran in his three seasons in Golden State, which comes as little surprise since both Luke Walton and Alvin Gentry spent time on Steve Kerr’s staff. Jones’ role is also clearly defined.
“Provide a presence defensively, blocking shots, blocking and altering shots and just being a big presence down low,” Jones said after his first practice. “And offensively, screen and rolling.”
All three of the 25-year-old center’s made field goals have been dunks. On offensive rebounds, he’s kicked out a couple times to open shooters. Jones hasn’t stretched himself at all, but it’s hard to ask him to do so on a 10-day.
Then again, the Kings clearly like him and apparently want to see more of him. When Jones was initially brought on, Walton said that Hassan Whiteside and Chimezie Metu would still be ahead of Jones in the rotation. However, that changed when Holmes got hurt, and Jones was placed into the starting lineup. Stylistically, Jones is closer to Holmes than Whiteside is because of the vertical spacing. That might have been the rationale for Walton’s decision, at least before Whiteside entered the starting lineup in the second half of the loss to the Phoenix as Jones struggled to contain the beefy Deandre Ayton.
Over the past three games, Whiteside has played 50 minutes, Jones 40, and Metu 24. Walton has said he’d also like to find some time for Chris Silva, but that will be more challenging with Jones returning. Holmes is also set to be re-evaluated when the team returns from Dallas.
For now, Jones is firmly a part of that center rotation. Being benched in the second half of the Suns might have been an indication that he was on the outs, but he’s getting another chance, so hopefully the Kings continue to give him and their other young bigs more minutes in this latter portion of the season.