Undrafted forward Kevin Jones confident of making Cavs roster
Independence, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Despite being described by Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott as an “undersized” power forward, undrafted free agent Kevin Jones is confident that he can earn a spot on the team and show his wares in the NBA.
“If I go out there and keep on doing what they brought me here to do — rebound and play tough defense — I really like my chances,” said the 6-8 Jones.
But in reality, Scott’s chances play from slim to none as Scott has five power forwards on the roster behind starter Tristan Thompson. Jon Leuer and Samardo Samuels are competing for the backup job while Luke Walton, Luke Harangody and Jones are waiting in the wings.
Scott said Jones has a strong chance of making the team if he’s two inches taller so he can go up against the best power forwards in the league, like Kevin Garnett.
”It’s one of the reasons he didn’t get drafted,” Scott said. “If he had two or three more inches, he would have been a first-round pick with the numbers that he had.”
“At 6-7, there aren’t many power forwards in our league at that size that are great players. Some are 6-9, 6-10, even 7 feet. At 6-7, he’s at a disadvantage on the defensive end guarding some of those guys,” Scott explained.
Jones was just the third player in Big East Conference history to pace the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season. He averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds for the West Virginia Mountaineers last year.
“He plays extremely hard,” Scott said. “He’s a bright kid. He rebounds on both ends of the floor. You don’t lead the Big East in rebounding without having a nose for the ball.”
If he makes the team, Jones earns the league minimum of $473,604 this season, and only $50,000 is guaranteed.
Jones has appeared in two of the Cavaliers’ six preseason games, playing a total of 18 minutes, with no points and five rebounds.
“Jones can shoot the ball from the outside,” Scott said. “He doesn’t shoot it as well as Samardo does. Samardo is better on the post than Kevin is. Jones has the ability to make shots from 17 feet. He’s more of a 17-, 18-foot guy.”