Pelicans wing Herbert Jones wants to make sure he doesn’t take his foot off the gas pedal this season after signing a four-year, $54MM deal as a restricted free agent over the summer, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com.
“I think the biggest thing for me was after I signed, I never got complacent,” Jones said. “I know it’s not the most somebody has signed for in the NBA. But it’s still a lot of money.
“A lot of people, once they get to the first one, a lot of guys back off the gas a little bit. I just wanted to continue to work hard and show my true love for the game. There really was no dollar amount that could slow the grind down.”
With a well-deserved reputation as one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, Jones is off to a pretty remarkable start on that end of the court in 2023/24, especially from a play-making perspective. As Clark notes, Jones is currently averaging 2.1 steals and 1.6 blocks per game, trailing only Anthony Davis in “stocks” (steals plus blocks).
Here’s more from the Southwest:
- Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal details how Jaren Jackson Jr. helped Bismack Biyombo quickly acclimate to the Grizzlies, writing that the two big men had a preexisting relationship, as they’re both vice presidents of the National Basketball Players Association. Following a season-ending knee injury to Steven Adams, the Grizzlies signed Biyombo once Ja Morant was placed on the suspended list. The Congolese center has played a prominent role for the injury-ravaged team, starting eight of his nine games while averaging 7.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 1.1 BPG in 25.1 MPG. “He can fit in any locker room,” Jackson said of Biyombo. “He’s a great leader. That’s why he’s doing what he does for his country and does what he does for the union. I know how much he cares about the league. That care carries over to the locker room.”
- Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, a free agent addition over the offseason, has been playing a regular role with No. 4 overall pick Amen Thompson sidelined due to an ankle sprain, writes Danielle Lerner of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). “He’s a guy that can play on and off the ball,” head coach Ime Udoka said of Holiday. “Stronger, tougher than his size and then also shoots the ball well, so he’s been invaluable to us with the guys out. He’s been really good lately.”
- In a conversation with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, Mavericks first-rounder Dereck Lively touched on his influences, his rookie season thus far, and playing with Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, among other topics. Lively will be sidelined for Friday’s matchup against the Clippers due to a lower back contusion he sustained on Wednesday vs. the Lakers, per the NBA’s official injury report.