Detailed grading for Spurs most improved player of the year

Tre Jones won a tight race to be the San Antonio Spurs' most improved player this season.
Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs
Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

In a season marred with negatives, finishing with a 22-60 record, good for 14th place in the Western Conference standings, there were still some glimmers of hope, filled with some obvious methods and players the team can count on next year. This year, like last year, was a year of improvement. The team continued to gel and develop together at the NBA level. As the season progressed, there was a cohesion and a purpose that wasn’t there at the start of the year.

Many players showed glimpses of the future, like first overall pick Victor Wembanyama, but the player who improved most this season was point guard Tre Jones.

Statistically, Jones improved in many categories. He played 77 games this season, up from 68 last season, but only started 48 this season. His minutes decreased, from 29.2 to 27.8 per game, but his field goal percentage was significantly higher at 50.5% this season as compared to 45.9% last season.

A guard shooting over 50% from the field is a quality number.

Jones’ three-point percentage significantly increased as well. Jones shot 28% last season from three, a clear weakness. That number improved to 33.5% this season, a significant increase that opposing defenses need to account for, opening up space in other areas of the floor.

Tre’s assists per game slightly decreased, from 6.6 in 22-23 to 6.2 this season, but that slight disparity came over nearly two fewer minutes per game. Tre controlled the basketball better this season, lowering his turnovers per game from 1.6 in 22–23 to 1.5 this season.

Jones’ points per game decreased this season, from 12.9 to 10.0. This came with three fewer shots per game this season. As the Spurs had more focal offensive options, Jones did not need to shoot as much.

Jones’ steals per game finished at 1.0, and his blocks per game finished at 0.1, but he’s not expected to be blocking many shots. An improved number is his fouls per game, as that number decreased to 1.2 per game this season.

The 24-year-old Minnesota native’s most notable improvement this season was his steady, mature play. As he’s been in the league for a few years now, he’s looked at in the realm of a Zach Collins or Keldon Johnson in regards to his veteran status—the younger players can look to him for guidance.

Jones handled the point guard rotation at the beginning of the season as a seasoned pro, not complaining but working to improve each day. When his time was called to assume the starting role, he didn’t relinquish it the rest of the way, and it helped the Spurs achieve offensive continuity as the season moved on.

The Spurs, as a team, fed off Jones’ determination and resilience. The team will continue to improve going into next season. For his mental toughness and determination, coupled with his mostly improved numbers across the board statistically, Jones grades out well.

Final grade: B+