James Jones has played 336 minutes in 44 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, averaging 2.8 points and 0.7 rebounds per game, but production isn’t why Jones is on the team. Jones is one of LeBron James’ veteran confidants. He was part of the Miami Heat teams that James won his first titles on and has since followed James to Cleveland where he’s one of the few that had championship (or even deep postseason) experience prior to James’ return to the Cavs.
That experience (and friendship with James) means Jones’ voice carries weight in the locker room that is unlike most guys deep on the bench in the NBA. When the Cavs held a recent team meeting to discuss their recent struggles, Jones was one that spoke up the loudest, according to cleveland.com.
After the Cavs lost their ninth game in 15 tries Monday against the Spurs, 14-year vet James Jones spoke in the locker room, asking rhetorically what the players really wanted out of this season, a source told cleveland.com.
Team meetings for a team stuck in a rough patch aren’t unusual. Neither is a veteran being the one to stand up and call out a team’s desire, but for a Cavs team that got over the hump a year ago, finally winning a championship, one would have expected them to be better equipped to handle the balance of finishing the regular season strong and also getting ready for the playoffs.
You would especially think they would have responded after LeBron James called into question their toughness a week ago.
Whatever is going on with the Cavs right now, they’re running out of time before the playoffs to get it right and are on the verge of losing homecourt advantage through the Eastern Conference playoffs. They’re tied with the Celtics at the top right now, with a game advantage on Boston in the loss column. There is legitimate reason to have some questions about whether the Cavs will the East again this season because of the issues they’ve been having recently on the defensive end.
Then again, once the playoffs come, the rotation tightens and Playoff LeBron shows up, so all of this might not matter in two months.