Kings Free Agent Profile: Derrick Jones Jr.

May 9, 2024, 5:15 PM

De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dribbling the ball while being guarded by Derrick Jones Jr....

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: De'Aaron Fox #5 of the Sacramento Kings dribbling the ball while being guarded by Derrick Jones Jr. #55 of the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on March 29, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

As the NBA offseason approaches, the Sacramento Kings are at somewhat of a crossroads heading into free agency and trade season.

What can Kings general manager Monte McNair do to push this team to the next level?

This week on Stiles & Watkins with hosts Allen Stiles and Chris Watkins, the guys broke down players that could be on Sacramento’s offseason free agent wishlist.

Today, let’s dive into the next player on Chris’ free agent targets: Derrick Jones Jr.

YouTube video

Derrick Jones Jr. | Dallas Mavericks | SF/PF | Age: 27 | 2023-24 Salary: $2 million

The Sacramento Kings have options this offseason for improving their roster. General manager Monte McNair often refers to the three avenues to do so: the draft, trades, and free agency. For now, we’ll be focused on the latter portion. Working with the full non-taxpayers Mid-Level Exception (projected at 4yrs/$55.3 million) and Bi-Annual Exception (projected at 2yrs/$9.6 million) — leaving some notable optionality.

Their list of pending free agents from last season includes Malik Monk, Kessler Edwards, JaVale McGee, Alex Len, Jordan Ford, and Jalen Slawson. With the unpredictability behind Monk, the Kings must look at a wide variety of potential talents in free agency. Even though guards do not seem like a position of need right now, things could change quickly based on what the Sixth Man of the Year runner-up elects to do.

Either way, increased wing and forward depth would be beneficial. Sacramento head coach Mike Brown often highlighted the opposing team’s size and length throughout the regular season, making his team’s lack of size more apparent each time.

While Derrick Jones Jr. isn’t extraordinarily tall at 6’5, his seven-foot wingspan can cause problems for a multitude of positions. After unexpectedly declining his $3.3 million player option with Chicago for 2023-24, he is looking for yet another NBA home before eventually signing a one-year, roughly $2 million deal with Dallas.

His defensive versatility proved helpful in their first-round victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, spending time defending both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Dealing with wing-sized creators has been a struggle for Sacramento at points in the past, looking towards the likes of KZ Okpala and Maurice Harkless in years past. Their shortcomings came on the offensive end, with Jones Jr. becoming more consistent.

With the Mavericks, he averaged 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists on 48.3 percent from the field, 34.3 percent from three on 3.1 attempts per game, and 71.3 percent from the free-throw line in 76 games, starting all but ten of those showings.

It’s the first time in Jones Jr.’s career that he’s shot more than three triples per game, aiding in his offensive capabilities. It’s not hard to imagine how he would fit alongside De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis in Sacramento’s free-flowing, equal-opportunity offense. While his decision-making can be sporadic, a passing big would reward his cutting and finishing.

Harrison Barnes has regressed as a defender in recent years. Keegan Murray started to come into his last season but still has learning moments. Kessler Edwards has offensive questions. Davion Mitchell and Keon Ellis are both impactful defenders, but neither has the size/length of Jones Jr.

As a high flyer with a Dunk Contest trophy to show for it, it’s easy to imagine a fastbreak featuring Fox, Monk, Sabonis, and Jones Jr. being electric.

From Sacramento’s perspective, acquiring Jones Jr. likely would not require the full MLE, and his versatility could bolster their depth moving forward. Dallas could make a strong pitch to keep him around, especially depending on how far they make it this postseason.

But they must decide if he could be someone they should utilize that asset on, or is the opportunity cost of other options too steep? As we continue this series on Sactown Sports, we will discuss more current free-agent names for the Kings.

When is the next Sacramento Kings offseason date of interest?

For the first time in two years, the Sacramento Kings will be crossing its fingers for luck during the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

The 2024 NBA Draft Lottery will be held on Sunday, May 12, 2024, in Chicago, where Sacramento will have the 13th-best odds of securing the top pick.

How the Lottery works: The 14 teams that missed out on the NBA playoffs are eligible for the Draft Lottery. The final odds were determined after the regular season, and tie breaks were settled between teams with identical regular season records.

NBA Offseason Schedule

  • Sunday, May 12 – NBA Draft Lottery
  • Wednesday, June 26-Thursday, June 27th – 2024 NBA Draft
  • Sunday, June 30th – Free Agent negotiating window opens (3 PM PST)
  • Saturday, July 6th – Free Agents can officially sign contracts
  • July 12-22nd – Las Vegas Summer League
  • July 27-August 11th – 2024 Olympic Games
  • Friday, September 27th – NBA training camps begin

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