Free agent profile: James Jones
This is the 39th post in a series of free agent profiles that analyzes players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.
Type of free agent: Unrestricted.
Positives: Three-point shooting. Three-point shooting. Three-point shooting. Sorry for the repetitiveness, but it can't be stated enough. James has shot 40.2% from three-point range in his eight-year career, including a career-high 42.2% in the 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, the Lakers offered these abysmal numbers: They shot 35.2% from three-point range in the regular season. They dropped to 28.9% in the postseason. Those playoff struggles also included a 37.5% mark from shots within 16 to 23 feet, according to Hoopdata.
That's the main quality Jones brings. But there's more. The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman observed that Jones accepts his speciality role and provides a positive locker room presence. That helps the Lakers perfectly considering they have a logjam at small forward.
Negatives: Jones doesn't have much to offer other than his ability to hit corner three-pointers. He has little leaping ability. He can't dribble. His 6-foot-8, 215-pound frame provides little in the rebounding department. Sure, Jones will have the right attitude. That can only carry the Lakers so far if he doesn't have the right skills.
Verdict: Winderman reported that the Heat could still keep Jones through "Larry Bird rights," but Miami might not be able to offer more than a minimum salary assuming there is a harder cap. The report also casts doubt on whether the Heat would keep James for other reasons. He got buried on the depth chart behind Mike Miller, and it's possible he wouldn't want such a role.
Besides Jones' uncertain future with Miami, the Lakers should pursue Jones for plenty of practical reasons. He's cheap. He'll accept the role assigned to him. Even if his skills remain limited, his one specialty is one the Lakers sorely need.
-- Mark Medina
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