Few people know much about the newest Pacer acquisition Solomon Jones other than that (A) he’s big, (B) he’s athletic, (C) he can block some shots, and (D) his per-minute rebounding stats are decent.
Oh, and (E), Solomon is happy to be in Indiana, where he hopes he has a better opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation than he would have had in another year in Atlanta.
“The Hawks kept it real with me,” he said. “They told me that my role was going to be pretty much the same as it was last year, and that I wouldn’t have a chance to move up and get more time unless somebody got hurt like last year. And I realize that’s just the way it’s going to be with Josh and Al [Horford] and Zaza already in place. It’s cool. I get a chance to go somewhere else and try and start over and see if there’s a chance to have a bigger role. The Pacers want me up there right away to get to work and that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. But I appreciate the Hawks keeping it straight with me and not trying to sell me something that they couldn’t deliver in terms of playing time and opportunity.”
Other than that, the only insight I have to add is that he did seem to have some minor presence on the boards in limted minutes in the Playoffs for Atlanta this season, but not enough to really be memorable. And he did earn one Playoff start against Cleveland, so Hawk coach Mike Woodson at least saw enough in him to give him the nod at center over Zaza Pachulia once while Al Horford was hurt.
But just because I’m of little-to-no assistance in helping you figure out if Solomon is at all worth getting excited about, I didn’t want to leave you hanging. So I reached out to Bret LaGree of the Hawks blog Hoopinion for a few email questions and answers on Solomon the player and the person.
I supplied the Qs; he gave the As.
Enjoy. And leave some responses to Bret’s reponses in the comments.
Q1: What are the Pacers getting in Solomon Jones?
Bret: Jones is athletic but struggles to anticipate events on both ends of the floor so regularly that he’s rarely able to use his athleticism to any practical purpose. When the stars align he can impressively complete an alley-oop or block a shot. He has put in good work to get stronger over the last three years, but again, he’s so often out of position that it’s not much help as his rebounding numbers demonstrate.
Q2: Does he have any offensive ability at all?
Bret: He’s a 70%+ free throw shooter and has decent mechanics on his shot, but Solomon Jones shooting face-up jumpers is so far down the list of things you want to have happen in a half-court possession that it hardly warrants mentioning. If he catches the ball cleanly he does a good job of finishing at the rim.
Q3: How concerned should we be that he’s 25-years-old and still a “project” player?
Bret: I’ve always been hard on Jones (perhaps at times, unfairly so) because drafting him at the top of the second round was a terrible allocation of resources and, to me, a sign that the Hawks had little idea of what a useful or even potentially useful player looked like. I contend that taking Jones ahead of Millsap is less defensible than drafting either Shelden or Marvin Williams rather than the alternatives. That being said, he had a mildly encouraging (in terms of hoping he might develop into a decent reserve) rookie year. He didn’t get a chance to build on that as he played just 145 minutes in 2007-08. If ever there was a guy who needed game experience, even if it came in the D-League, it was Jones. He didn’t get that experience and looked no more comfortable or refined on the court in his third season.
Q4: Are you disappointed to see him leave?
Bret: I’m not.
Q5: I really want a guy named Solomon to be a good player on my favorite team. Give me something to embrace about this guy.
Bret: By all accounts he’s a good guy and there is absolutely no reason ever to question his effort. His impressive plays will always catch you by surprise so they tend to provide an outsized psychological boost for witnesses.
UPDATE: Peachtree Hoops, another Hawks blog, recapped Solomon’s top ten moments as a Hawk.
1. The time he punched Zaza in the face.
Sorry to be a spoiler, but that was easily the best one.
It’s safe to say that Bret has not always been a huge fan of the Hawks drafting strategy.