Colby Jones

McNair explains why Kings traded for ‘winner' Jones in draft

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Kings no longer are the laughing stock of the NBA.

Sacramento snapped its notorious 17-year playoff drought last season but is making it known that the feel-good story won’t end there. That belief was at the top of Kings general manager Monte McNair’s mind in Thursday’s draft.

The Kings reportedly traded center Richaun Holmes and the No. 24 pick to the Dallas Mavericks in a move that cleared up significant cap space. A few moments later, Sacramento traded the No. 38 overall pick and a future second-rounder to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Xavier guard Colby Jones, who was selected with the No. 34 pick.

“He’s a smart and productive utility player, defender, two-way player, somebody we’re really excited to add to the culture that Mike [Brown], myself and the rest of us are building here,” McNair said of Jones on Thursday night. “Really a winner. Won almost two-thirds of his games at Xavier. We’re excited to bring him in.”

Jones, 21, played three collegiate seasons for the Musketeers.

In his first year at Xavier, Jones averaged 7.7 points in 27.8 minutes on 33.3 percent shooting from 3-point range. The next year, his 3-point efficiency further sank, shooting 29.2 percent from deep but averaging 11.6 points in 33.5 minutes.

His steady increase in field goal percentage kept his confidence alive, though, shooting 46.4 percent, 48.3 percent and then 50.9 percent, respectively. In his third and final season, he averaged 15.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 34 minutes per game.

Despite his early shooting struggles at Xavier, McNair shared why he remains confident in Jones’ ability to thrive in Sacramento.

“Colby’s work ethic, the person that he is, his character – those are the types of things we like to see from guys as they improve throughout college, and they’ll continue to improve when they get in our situation,” he said. “It’s all the other stuff Colby does, too. He’s got great touch. The shot improved obviously this year. He can get in there and make a play with a pass or offensive rebound on the offensive end.

“And then defensively, he can guard up and down [lineups] – probably not a lot of centers – but he’s strong, he’s big. He’s going to be versatile on that end. Obviously, the shooting is a big part of the NBA these days, and we like to see the growth that he showed.”

Jones, who stands 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, is known as a solid defender with a high basketball IQ.

His versatility excites the Kings, and McNair believes he can grow around All-Stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

“We’ve got two All-NBA guys that we’re building around. Guys that can help them on both ends of the floor – Domas and Foxy are going to do a lot of the heavy lifting for us on the offensive end,” McNair said. “Guys that can be connecting pieces, guys that can finish plays, guys that can make the intermediate play – the hockey pass – especially the offense that Coach Brown and Coach [Jay] Triano have. We want high-IQ guys who can come in here and contribute no matter who they’re on the floor with.

“A lot of guys, especially as you watch the playoffs, the guys that are versatile can do a lot of different things on the floor because you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you. Colby showed that at Xavier through his three years, especially this year as he took on a bigger role. I have no doubt that he’ll be able to figure that out at the next level.”

Contact Us