Orlando Pinstriped Post presents the second entry in a series about the Orlando Magic's four training-camp invitees. Friday's focus is Solomon Jones. Here's Tyler. - ED.
Jones, at 29 years of age, is the oldest of the four Magic training camp invitees. The Atlanta Hawks selected him in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft. After three seasons in the ATL, he moved on to the Indiana Pacers, where he played from 2009-2011. After leaving Indiana, he bounced around with the Clippers, Hornets, and Knicks.
In order to learn more about the veteran big man, I turned to Tom Lewis of Indy Cornrows (on Twitter: @IndyCornrows), the SB Nation Pacers blog. Below is our conversation:
Tyler Lashbrook, Orlando Pinstriped Post: What kind of skill set does Solomon Jones bring as a basketball player?
Tom Lewis, Indy Cornrows: Solo has NBA caliber big-man skills when considering a reserve role with decent length and the ability to step out an knock down a mid-range shot. He can play both power forward and center although is ultimately not big enough to log too many minutes at center. But he has proven capable of filling needs in the front court in short bursts of playing time.
OPP: His per-36 numbers look good (career per-36 of 10 points, eight boards, two blocks) but he's averaged just over 11 minutes a game. What is the reason for that?
IC: When given consistent minutes in Indiana, Solo's production wasn't consistent and at times varied greatly. There were times it seemed he might not grab another rebound. It is hard to pin down why, but he does seem a bit aloof at times, so his level of effort didn't always match his ability on the court. In fact, Solo saw little time following the Pacers coaching change from Jim O'Brien to Frank Vogel in Solo's last year in Indiana after Vogel shook things up, looking to play more physical, "smash-mouth" basketball.
OPP: It's a crowded front court in Orlando, but Jones could set himself apart if he's able to provide decent minutes from the center spot. Is he more naturally a power forward or a center?
IC: As mentioned above, Solo can cover the center position in small doses but doesn't have enough size and game for extended minutes against other true centers.
OPP: Jones is, at 29 years old, the veteran of the four non-roster guys invited to camp, how can that help or hurt his chances to make the team?
IC: I would imagine Solo's veteran status would hurt him just from a bottom-line dollars point of view. That said, his experience and understanding what he needs to do to make a roster should be a big benefit.
OPP: What path do you realistically think Jones' career will take? Is he worthy of an NBA roster or is he likely to finish his career overseas?
IC: Solo has had trouble holding a roster spot since leaving Indy and I don't know at this point that anyone should expect his game to develop much more. Again, as a reserve big man in a limited role, Solo can hold things down and won't be a liability on the court. I'd say he's more comfortable on the offensive end than defensive end but that too can vary from night to night.
Also, here's a link to player review of Solomon Jones' last season with the Pacers. You should probably read the last two comments on that post.
Thanks to Tom for all of his help. You can check out his work at Indy Cornrows.