Just a few months ago, Damian Jones was a gigantic question mark. Now, he’s an integral part of the Golden State Warriors rotation, not just for now, but for the foreseeable future.
Ahead of the October 31 deadline, the Warriors officially exercised Jones’ fourth-year option, meaning he’ll be under contract for the 2019-20 season, at the cost of $2.3 million.
Warriors exercise fourth-year contract option on center Damian Jones: pic.twitter.com/waSOQqtGNf— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) October 30, 2018
To the surprise of some, the Warriors picked up Jones’ third-year option this time last year, even though they hadn’t seen him crack the rotation. Then, nothing changed, as Jones spent the bulk of the year either in Santa Cruz, or on the very back of the Warriors bench.
Through two seasons, Jones accumulated just 206 total minutes of playing time (including playoffs), the bulk of which was garbage time.
But with Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee gone, and DeMarcus Cousins sidelined with an Achilles injury, Jones entered training camp with the opportunity to earn a role. He did exactly that. He’s started all eight games this year, and while his minutes have been a little low (16.9 per game), he’s impressed.
On the year, Jones is averaging 6.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. He has played strong defense, but most impressive has been his rim-running and willingness to be patient on offense - he’s shot a stunning 21-27 from the field.
So despite entering the year without any history of NBA success, Jones made the decision easy for the Warriors.
He’s also the only center under contract for next season, as Cousins and Kevon Looney will be unrestricted free agents, and Jordan Bell will be a restricted free agent.