Duke fans have a pretty good idea of how good Tre Jones can be. When he was in Durham, he was dominant defensively, and at times in a way that was truly incredible.
In his freshman year, when Syracuse came to Cameron, Jones set a standard defensively that maybe - maybe - Billy King and Tommy Amaker might have approached. We’ve honestly never seen anything like it - a guard, and a smallish guard at that, totally controlling the other team defensively.
You were watching and wondering, how the hell is he doing this?
That’s about when he injured his shoulder, which ended his night and ultimately made it easier for Syracuse to come back. Basketball is not an individual game, but he had them. He owned them. He was punking the hell out of them.
Patrick Ewing hit that level but he was 7-1 and controlled the game from the lane out. We’ve honestly never seen anyone do what Jones did that night, brief though it was.
The San Antonio Spurs took him in the 2020 NBA Draft with the 41st pick and he’s taken a little bit of time to settle in.
He’s starting now though and on Thursday night, he had a superb outing against the Houston Rockets, finishing with 26 points (Jones shot 10-16 and 2-6 from deep), five assists and three rebounds. Watch him as he slices through the Houston defense and gets to the basket, over, and over and over again.
We’ve always said watch who the Spurs pick because they are one of the smartest teams in the game. This is the franchise that found Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen and many, many others.
The other execs must sit there and think: what do they see that we don’t? And immediately wonder if they’d made a mistake.
When it comes to Jones, increasingly it looks like they have.