One of the more delightful elements of the Cleveland Cavaliers roster at the start last season was the arrival of stability. No one, other than the obvious Big 3, presents more of an air of stability than James Jones. This year he is no longer one of the newer faces on the team. Given how the roster took shape, Jones saw increased time in the Cavs rotation compared to what projections for him foretold. However, we hope that maybe he can be allowed to play more sparingly in the coming months.
Jones played above expectations last season. Jones played 57 games last season, after becoming a "BREAK IN CASE OF EMERGENCY" veteran for a good portion of his recent career. Playing regular minutes for the Cavaliers and staying healthy for an entire season nearing the end of his career is probably too much to ask.
They simply can't rely on him as much as they did this past year. He's a defensive liability, and you can deal with that if you're the Cavs. He's playable due to his ability to stretch the floor. To echo this space before: If Jones is your ninth man, you're in trouble; but if he has a reduced role, he's going to likely be effective in spots for this team next season
Here's his shot chart from last season:
Ok so, small sample size, but Jones has played this way during the later stages of his career. 62 percent of the shots he takes are threes, and he hits 40.3 percent for his career. That is nothing to sneeze at. Look at that corner three area! He doesn't try to do anything outside of his comfort zone which consists of shooting open three point shots. Offensively, he's hovering behind the line, making an extra pass if it doesn't work out, and letting it fly when he's open. (Good luck in Denver Mike!) A wide-open system like Cleveland's is perfect for a 3-pointer launching veteran like Jones.
Defensively, the most recent moments with Jones are hard to swallow. Jones was put into an unwinnable situation in the Finals last year. He was guarding people out of position and being isolated time after time. The Cavs really had no other options in that regard. Jones's best attributes remain that he's fairly smart and doesn't gamble, and can rotate well, even if he's not going to do much to contest once there.
Look at his PER, it's very strange. Last year, Jones had a particular average year, partly due to being thrown into the fire once injuries made their rounds in the Cleveland locker room. This looks more garish due to the crazy PER that Jones posted in his last year in Miami. This is partly explainable (Jones did spend a lot of time with LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the floor), this trend will prove interesting as his effectiveness usually coincides with downright destructive team offense and slightly above average defense, and we'll have to see if it continues to be near his career averages with the Cavs.
The Cavs are deep on the wing, but injuries have made that depth necessary, and Jones will do his part. We know what Jones can do, but the best place for him seems to be in short bursts of effectiveness rather than long stints of waiting in the corner. Just know, whatever happens he will be ready and that's really all you can ask at this point.