Monday, June 08, 2009

2008-09 Season Review: Solomon Jones

Three years into his NBA career, there's still little to indicate why the Hawks spent the 33rd pick of the 2006 Draft on Solomon Jones. Coming out of South Florida, a raw, relatively nondescript* player on a terrible team Jones has had little opportunity to develop as a basketball player at the professional level. From a certain perspective, one could argue that keeping Solomon Jones on the end of the bench for three seasons is a greater indictment of the Hawks' player-development philosophy than Acie Law IV's inability to gain a foothold in the rotation. The Hawks couldn't have drafted Jones with the expectation of him playing right away yet they've appeared to do little to help him develop or augment his nominal skills (shot blocking, offensive rebounding, dunking when handed the ball at the rim) or mitigate the inexperience that keeps him from taking advantage of his one real physical gift: length. It's difficult to rebound or block shots when you're constantly out of position, and, because of his limited skills and experience any blocked shots or offensive rebounds Jones has contributed in his 1486 minutes across three seasons have come at the the cost of fouls, turnovers, and defensive rebounds unclaimed.

*Certainly in comparison to several accomplished college players (Paul Davis, PJ Tucker, Craig Smith, James Augustine, Boobie Gibson, Paul Millsap, Leon Powe, Hassan Adams, Jose Juan Barea, and Mike Gansey) still on the board at the time.

There's little in his performance record (and even less from watching him play) to suggest that he deserved more minutes from the Hawks but one can't help but wonder what benefit a long stretch in the D-League during the 2007-08 season rather than spending the entire season with the Hawks, playing just 145 minutes in 35 games might have done for Jones. One hopes that Jones's impending free agency lands him an opportunity to play somewhere so that he might begin to fashion a skill set that could earn him a basketball career.

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