INDEPENDENCE — If Kevin Jones can do for the Cavaliers a fraction of what he did for the Canton Charge, Cleveland will be on to something.
The Cavs on Tuesday recalled the 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward from their NBA Development League team, for whom Jones averaged 23.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in five games.
Jones, who was third in the D-League in scoring and rebounding, also averaged 1.4 steals while playing 41.0 minutes a game, the fourth-highest average in the league.
The West Virginia product, who joined Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and Troy Murphy as the only players to lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding in the same season, received $50,000 in guaranteed money to come to training camp with the Cavs, but was cut in the preseason in favor of Harangody, who was later cut when Cleveland decided to re-sign Jones.
“I always kept faith in myself,” Jones said. “I knew my talents would land me someplace.”
The 23-year-old practiced with the Cavs at Cleveland Clinic Courts on Tuesday and might see some action tonight at 8 when the Chicago Bulls come to Quicken Loans Arena, but coach Byron Scott is leaning toward giving the rookie a few more practices.
“He looked pretty good today,” Scott said. “The first thing I asked him is if he remembered anything we do on the offensive end and he said, ‘Not really.’
“It’s going to take him a little while, but he’ll pick it up pretty quickly. Even today, not knowing what we’re doing, he just has a nose for the ball.”
Second-year man Tristan Thompson will continue to start at power forward, but the opportunity for Jones to earn playing time off the bench is there because Samardo Samuels and Jon Leuer have struggled.
“I’m just here to do whatever Coach needs me to do, whether that’s practice or whatever minutes I might get,” Jones said. “I’m just here to mature and grow.”
- Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, who sprained his left ankle in the second overtime Saturday against Portland and didn’t play Monday in Detroit, did not practice and is listed as questionable (50/50) for tonight.
- Scott started Omri Casspi at small forward and moved Alonzo Gee to shooting guard against the Pistons, but didn’t like the way his team played in falling behind 30-17 after the first quarter. Scott said there’s a 75 percent chance he will change his lineup tonight, but he wouldn’t divulge specifics. It’s likely he’ll move Gee back to small forward and start Daniel Gibson or C.J. Miles at shooting guard if Waiters can’t play.
- The Bulls have beaten the Cavs nine straight times and have won the last four meetings by an average of 30.3 points. Chicago won 115-86 at The Q on Nov. 2.
- The Cavs and Bulls will both be without their franchise point guards tonight. Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving is out with a fractured left index finger and Chicago’s Derrick Rose is still recovering from knee surgery.
Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.