It takes more than ice-cold shooting to shut up the Cavs’ Damon Jones, writes the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Bill Livingston.
It’s not a slump, this little, um, ballistic downturn. Damon Jones is — no, not struggling, never that. “That word is not in my vocabulary,” Jones said.
Damon Jones is not even persevering. He is glad-handing. That’s what any shooter does, much less Jones, the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest shooter.” A shooter never met a shot he doesn’t like, you see, so he is eager to get acquainted. “The next one is going in. I always believe that,” the Cavaliers guard said.
Damon Jones has shot a pesky 5-for-28 from the 3-point arc in his last seven games, three of which he has, however briefly, started. He is 5-for-32 overall in those games. He ventures in front of the arc only if convinced, apparently, that sharks are cruising there.
Offense is his game, so what’s going on? Why is Jones’ shot not falling? It’s sure not the shoes, right? Monday, Jones will hold a news conference to announce formally he is the first NBA player to endorse Li-Ning sneakers. It is China’s version of Nike.
“How many guys get to go global?” Jones said, smiling. “LeBron James. Yao Ming. And Damon Jones.”
“I will,” he added, “be just behind Yao. And maybe Wang Zhizhi.”
There is a large amount of put-on with Jones, so the transcript of his comments reads more like what happens when arrogance means delusion than was really the case. He is aware that some of what he says amounts to globaloney.
“I’m an icon. I’m global,” Jones said. “If I was on the All-Star ballot, I’d have a million votes in China. And none here, because everybody thinks I’m arrogant.”
Not content with ruining Danny Fortson’s life, Suns’ CEO Jerry Colangelo is demanding a three-year commitment from players he’s recruiting for Team USA. The New York Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence suggests there’s a conflict of interest.
If Jason Kidd drops out after the first year, Chris Paul would slide in as his replacement, already having played in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s system. It’s interesting that Colangelo would bring up Paul, the Hornets’ top pick who’s playing well enough to win Rookie of the Year honors. No one doubts that Colangelo wants to make the U.S. supreme once again in Olympic competition. But could he put Paul or someone else on the team for selfish reasons? With Steve Nash turning 32 next month, there is going to be a need in Phoenix to find a new point guard soon. It can be argued that Colangelo’s position with Team USA could give the Suns a competitive advantage down the road in securing Paul or another free agent who found a spot on the Olympic team.
Let’s be clear: No one is questioning Colangelo’s integrity. As NBA executives go, he’s a veritable institution with an impeccable reputation. But the league has never been in this position before, with an official from one team potentially wielding so much power over an Olympic roster. Before, NBA executives such as Stu Jackson and Rod Thorn, when he worked under David Stern, chaired the Dream Team selection process.