Jones compiled 24 points (10-19 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 2-2 FT) to go with four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks across 29 minutes in Thursday's 114-111 preseason loss to the Magic.
Coach Alvin Gentry rolled out in an 11-man rotation in what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the regular season, and though the team ended up sacrificing a 23-point lead, little of the blame can be placed on Jones, who outscored all five of the Pelicans' other bench players combined. It's worth noting that Jones, who will open the season as the top backup to power forward Anthony Davis saw more minutes than starting center Omer Asik (24), which figures to be a frequent occurrence during the regular season. Because Davis is capable of manning the center spot, he'll share the floor frequently with Jones, who has made himself a great late-round target in drafts through his outstanding performance in the preseason. He averaged 17.2 points (on 46.4% shooting), 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 treys and 1.2 blocks across 26.0 minutes per game in four exhibition appearances.
Jones (knee) compiled 18 points (6-15 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 4-5 FT), four rebounds and one block across 21 minutes in Tuesday's 96-89 preseason loss to the Hawks.
After missing the Pelicans' last two games due to a knee contusion, Jones came off the bench Tuesday, even though Anthony Davis' (ankle) absence left the starting power forward role up for grabs. Dante Cunningham ended up assuming those duties, but like Jones, he struggled from the floor, scoring 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Jones' own inefficiency isn't encouraging, but it was good to see him take on an integral role in the offense, which could continue if Davis remains sidelined through the start of the regular season. If that's the case, Jones and Cunningham would likely split most of the minutes at power forward, with the former offering the greater fantasy upside of the two.
Jones was considered questionable heading into Tuesday's contest and there still may be a chance his minutes are limited off the bench. Dante Cunningham getting the start at power forward suggests that this may be the case, but the fact that Jones is active is a good sign that his recovery is going well and that he shouldn't be in danger of missing the start of the regular season.
Jones continues to battle a bruised right knee, which has now kept him out of action for more than a week. If the Kentucky product is ultimately held out Tuesday, his final opportunity to take the court before the regular season will be Thursday's matchup with the Magic.
Jones (knee) didn't see the floor in Wednesday's 116-104 loss to the Rockets in an exhibition game played in Beijing, China.
A right knee contusion kept Jones out of both of the games in China against his former team, but the team hasn't provided any indication that the forward's injury is expected to linger into the regular season. Jones is expected to serve as the primary backup to Anthony Davis this season, but if healthy, he could have a chance to start opening night. Davis ended up exiting Wednesday's game with a Grade 2 ankle sprain and is expected to be sidelined for the next 10-to-15 days, according to ESPN.com's Marc J. Spears.
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