Dahntay Jones: Indiana Pacers

Jones was brought in by Indiana before the 2009 season in attempt to get tougher on the defensive end.  The Pacers signed him to a four year, $11 million contract.  A standout high school player in New Jersey, Jones earned McDonald’s All-American Honorable Mention honors during his senior season.  He originally attended nearby Rutgers University, but after finishing seventh in the Big East in scoring in his sophomore year, decided to transfer to the more prestigious Duke University.

He was the Blue Devils main defensive stopper in 2001-02, and then led the team in both scoring and rebounding on his way to earning Honorable Mention All-American status in 2002-03.

Jones was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft, but was traded on draft night to the Memphis Grizzlies.  He played with the Grizzlies until his contract expired after the 2006-07 season, at which point his services weren’t acquired until December of the 2007 season.  He played 25 games for the Sacramento Kings before being cut in February.

He spent the rest of 2008 playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.   Jones was picked up by the Denver Nuggets before the start of last year, and he ended up enjoying a career season for Denver, averaging 5.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and starting 71 games for a Western Conference Finalist.

He also earned a reputation for in-your-face defensive intensity, a trait that both Larry Bird and Jim O’Brien were looking to add to the Pacers.

Jones instantly showed that Bird’s analysis was correct when he shocked Indianapolis basketball fans by averaging 16.4 points and 4.1 rebounds through his first seven games with the team.  His fiery attitude has whipped the Conseco Fieldhouse crowd into a frenzy on more than one occasion early in his tenure with the Pacers; a sure bet that continued love on the Indianapolis sports scene is guaranteed for Dahntay Jones.