After 78 games, the mantle of “lead guard with the ability to post a triple double” has finally passed from Dejounte Murray to Tre Jones. The younger Jones brother had a career night Sunday versus the Sacramento Kings, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting while grabbing ten rebounds and putting up 11 assists. Tre also played some pretty great defense, nabbing one steal.
More importantly, defensively speaking, Jones held De’Aaron Fox (the runaway favorite for the Jerry West Clutch Award) to four points in the last 11 minutes of the game, including zero in overtime. It was an incredibly impressive performance across the board from Tre Jones, which should set him up well for his upcoming contract negotiations.
Tre is a restricted free agent this summer, meaning the Spurs can match any offer another team puts on the table. Even before his breakout night, I would have said that it is in San Antonio's best interest to re-sign Jones (preferably before he has the chance to speak to other franchises). His value has only increased following his latest outing.
As mentioned earlier, his career performance came at the expense of the Sacramento Kings, who fell 142-134 to the good guys. There were great games from several other Spurs, including Doug McDermott and Julian Champagnie, who combined for 56 points off the bench. That standout level of play from San Antonio's reserves was crucial with their three best players, Keldon Johnson, Devin Vassell, and Jeremy Sochan, on the sidelines.
The win all but locks the Spurs into third place in lottery odds. Noah Magaro-George wrote this article explaining the potential scenarios San Antonio could face on May 18th. Like the teams in first and second (the Pistons and Rockets), the Spurs hold a league-best 14% chance to choose Victor Wembanyama with the number one overall pick. Now that the organization has practically placed itself in third for good, the lowest it can fall in the draft is seventh. Speaking of Vic...
Back to Jones, the point guard fits into several potential iterations of the post-draft Spurs. If they get lucky and end up with Wemby, the French big man will need someone feeding him the rock. If San Antonio lands the second pick, Tre could serve as a great sixth man and veteran presence for Scoot Henderson. The other prospects that the Spurs could select third through seventh could also use a lead guard like Tre.