Leftovers on Jones, draft, Mavs and Cuban
Don't get Norman Jones wrong -- he was happy to hear his son Dominique's name called when the Memphis Grizzlies took him with the No. 25 pick on Thursday night. He just knew the Grizzlies had told him they didn't intend to take Jones because he was too much like what they already had on their roster.
"When Memphis picked Xavier Henry (at No. 12) and they already had O.J. Mayo, we thought there was no way they would pick us," the elder Jones said. "Memphis loved him when he came to work out, but they said he was the same kind of guard O.J. Mayo was, so they didn't really think they would take him."
Sure enough, minutes later, Jones found out that Memphis had been drafting him on behalf of the Dallas Mavericks, who according to ESPN sent the Grizzlies the maximum $3-million in cash compensation for the draft pick. Dallas traded away its second-round pick, so Jones is the only drafted rookie for the Mavericks -- he'll make his Dallas debut in the NBA's summer league in Las Vegas on July 9.
EASY AS CAKE: A half-hour after he was drafted, Jones' family gathered in his grandmother's kitchen, ready to celebrate his draft with a cake -- "Congratulations Dominique!" it read. "Drafted #" with the number left unfrosted, added after the welcome news came with No. 25. Jones, however, was taking his new professional life -- and its dietary requirements -- seriously enough that he didn't want to eat any cake.
CONGRATS: Jones got a phone call from Mavs owner Mark Cuban after the draft, and according to Norman, Cuban asked Jones what kind of worker he was. When he responded that he was a workaholic, Cuban told him "if you're a workaholic, then I can make you a star," Norman said.
SOUNDS GOOD: Jones and his father were optimistic about being picked at No. 24 by the Atlanta Hawks, who had told Jones' agent on Thursday afternoon that they had two players in mind for their top pick and Jones was one of them.
When commissioner David Stern came to the podium, he announced that Atlanta had chosen Damion James, a forward from Texas, but the name was close enough to tease the Jones family, watching on TV.
"Oh, man, they're playing with us, right?" Norman Jones said. "They went D.J. on us!"
FREQUENT FLYER: Jones worked out in 18 cities for NBA teams, even twice for some, and yet he finds himself starting his NBA career with a team that never worked him out.
"I don't think it helped me at all," Jones joked about his whirlwind pre-draft tour of the league. "I got drafted by Dallas, which I didn't even work out for. I went to all these places for nothing."
RIGHT CALL: Jones was one of three Big East underclassmen taken in the first round, along with Syracuse's Wesley Johnson (4th) and Georgetown's Greg Monroe (7th), but four other Big East early entries weren't as fortunate.
Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson didn't get picked until the 40th pick (second round) by the Pacers, and West Virginia sophomore Devin Ebanks didn't go until No. 43, at least going to the Lakers. Two other underclassmen -- DePaul's Mac Koshwal and Louisville's Samardo Samuels -- weren't drafted at all, and now face long odds trying to make an NBA roster as an undrafted rookie or play overseas.