PHOENIX — Dwayne Jones went to training camp with the San Antonio Spurs and played his second straight season with the D-League affiliate in Austin that they own.
He learned the Spurs way, got ingratiated into Spurs culture and yearned to become a full-fledged member of the silver and black.
Then after dominating the D-League from a rebounding standpoint, April rolled around and the Suns needed some big man insurance with Robin Lopez’s ailing back leaving the team thin up front.
So one thing led to another and Jones now finds himself fighting with Steve Nash on the Suns side of things as they attempt to finally find a way to knock the Spurs out of the playoffs.
“It’s kind of weird getting so familiar with those guys, going to training camp with them and being in Austin the whole year,” Jones said. “It’s kind of funny how things turned out.”
OK, so Jones probably won’t possess the same intense feelings of revenge in his heart that Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire likely do toward the San Antonio franchise, but it is pretty interesting that Jones all of a sudden finds himself on the opposite side of the rivalry, even if he’s a deep reserve who might not even be active if Lopez returns.
When Andrew A. McNeill from 48Minutes of Hell penned a guest piece on Jones when he first signed, McNeill wrote that he doubts Jones can provide “any insight on how to shut down Tim Duncan or contain Manu Ginobili.”
Jones said the Suns coaches have asked him about a couple plays San Antonio runs but that they get paid to do those kind of things and do them well.
Still, the Toros and the Spurs run the same system, a system Jones has played in the past two years. He knows it like the back of his hand, and he won’t be surprised by anything San Antonio does if he’s called upon for some spot time, a nice trait to have in a deep reserve. And who knows, maybe he could help the coaching staff decode some intricate wrinkle that the Spurs run.
“I think I’m very familiar with the system having run it for the past two years in Austin,” Jones said. “Being in training camp with those guys I kind of know a little bit of their tendencies if I’m needed.”
Although Jones aspires to find a permanent place in the NBA one day, for now it’s almost as if he’s playing the role of spy for the Suns. He spent two years studying everything he could about the Spurs, and now he could wind up being a secret weapon for the Suns, if only from a strategical perspective.
However, when asked for advice on how to stop Tim Duncan, he didn’t have much more of a clue than anybody else who has ever defended The Big Fundamental.
“When he’s subbed out on the bench,” Jones said.