(Erica Rodriguez/Los Angeles Lakers)
2019 Player Capsule: Jemerrio Jones
The rise of Jemerrio Jones from undrafted rookie to G League bench player to impactful NBA starter, albeit for only a few games at the end of the Lakers season, was both furious and fun.
The Lakers signed Jones for the final six games of the regular season after he’d excelled as a role player with the South Bay Lakers, impressing with his defense, rebounding and glue-guy tendencies, and put him in the starting lineup for the final three games with these results:
7.0 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.3 steals in 36.3 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Lakers beat two playoff teams, the Clippers and Jazz, and lost to Portland on a buzzer-beating three. Jones defended the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Lou Williams, Donovan Mitchell and Damian Lillard, limiting each below their season field goal percentages.
“I just love basketball, so if you see me, you’ll like the game I play too, because it ain’t all about a bucket,” said Jones. “It’s about the little things. The dirty work. The nitty gritty. But I’d play basketball even if I wasn’t getting paid. No matter what. It’s something that eases my mind … as soon as I touch the practice floor, I’m good.”
BY THE NUMBERS
10.7: Net rating in his six games, which led the team aside from Andre Ingram’s 12.2 in his 3.7 minutes per game in four appearances.
13 Jones’ approximate rebounding average at nearly every level, per 36 minutes, as he grabbed 13.2 as a senior at New Mexico State, and 9.5 boards in 24.7 minutes for the South Bay Lakers (13.8 per 36 minutes) and 13.6 in his final three games for the Lakers.
20 Jones’ percentage from 3-point range in the limited sample size, an area he said he’s going to target in the offseason.
Almost everything is next for Jones, given how few total minutes he played at the NBA level: 142.
There are two things we do know for sure: he can rebound at an NBA level, and he can defend at an NBA level. Such is the athleticism of Jones, that he could literally go for every rebound on both ends of the floor, and yet never fail to get back to his man in transition, or to fail to recover to his man on the defensive side if he didn’t get the rebound.
His passing is actually better than you might think, as he often played backup point guard for the South Bay Lakers. His G League coach, Coby Karl, made sure to put him in such situations after realizing that he had real playmaking ability.
The obvious weakness in Jones’ game at this point is his shooting, which he stated multiple times when up with the Lakers to be the area he’s going to target in the offseason. He converted only 2 of 10 3-pointers, and shot 36.4 percent overall in his six games.
In his exit interview, he said that he could also stand to add a few pounds of muscle, which could help in all areas of his game.
G LEAGUE SHOT CHART
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