Damian Jones was eviscerated by Juan Hernangomez at the rim to end the game and seal a victory for the Nuggets just 24 hours before this game. Jones could have been immortalized in Warriors lore in the likes of Jonas Jerebko if he finished an easy layup, yet he burst into ashes and became a mere mortal once again.
Just one night after suffering a loss by way of game ending block on the road in Denver, Jones had a chance to rise from the ashes like a Phoenix and become born again in the ways of the ancient Greek mythological creature.
Jones’ ascension this season has really been from the ashes as he was considered forgotten and grossly overlooked by many headed into this season. With JaVale McGee, David West, and Zaza Pachulia all off the roster, many people looked at Jordan Bell as the Warriors starting Center of the future. DeMarcus Cousins joining the team in free agency had further established doubt over Jones role in the Warriors lineup.
Damian Jones got the nod as the starting Center on opening night and in four games he has looked far more impressive than any stretch in his first two years in the league. Facing Steven Adams, Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic, and DeAndre Ayton to start the season was no easy task and he has answered the Bell (pun intended) in impressive fashion.
Against the Suns, Jones recorded a line of: 13 points on 5-5 field-goals, 4 rebound, 1 block, and 1 assist. That point total represents a career high in Jones’ young career. A career high and a strong 1st quarter in a blowout victory earns Damian Jones honors as Warrior Wonder against the Phoenix Suns.
Damian Jones was a raw athlete out of college and for much of the first two years of his career, he was an unknown as he was either in Santa Cruz with the Warriors G-League affiliate, or buried at the end of the bench as the 15th man. He was often limited to getting minutes during blowout wins and losses. It didn’t help that Kevon Looney had emerged and carved out a larger role last season.
Jordan Bell’s flashes of brilliance as a rookie did not help either. Not much was asked or expected of Jones.
This year we are seeing the fruits of the labor Jones has put in with all his time in Santa Cruz over the last few years. While Jones will not be asked to do too much on a nightly basis because of the Warriors embarrassment of riches at the other four starting positions, his best ability will be his availability.
Facing the the NBA’s newest big man and the number one overall pick in this past summer’s draft, Damian Jones opened some more eyes as he outplayed Ayton to begin the game. He was active on the defense and on the boards as displayed by this put back after a missed corner three by Stephen Curry:
This has been what we have seen all season from Jones and if his early play is indicative of what we can expect all year, then Jones will only prove to be an exciting spark plug in an already electric offense. The young platoon of Jones, Looney, and Bell will be fun to watch all season as each guy offers a different skill set depending on game flow and situation.
Jones has every reason to keep playing up to this level as a key date is coming up next week where the Warriors can pick up that 4th year option.
Steve Kerr: "This is why we have to have Damian (Jones) ... he passed this week's test with flying colors." The Warriors have until Oct. 31 to pick up Jones' 4th-year option (worth $2.3 million). I think it's pretty safe to assume that is going to happen...— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) October 23, 2018
Schedule lightens up as Jones next faces a softer schedule on deck: Dwight Howard & Enes Kanter
Now it is time for you to cast your vote for your Warrior Wonder:
Who was your Warrior Wonder against the Phoenix Suns
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