Catching up with the team’s starting center.
In 2018, Damian Jones started at center for the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 24-year-old’s future in Golden State appeared promising at that point, even after he missed most of the regular season with a torn pectoral and had struggled with injuries and competition level in his first two years in the NBA.
Since appearing against Portland that night — which resulted in his being benched by coach Steve Kerr less than three minutes into the game with three fouls — Jones has undergone a career upheaval similar to what many young athletes on the edge of major league relevance experience.
In July, Jones – the No. 30 overall selection of the 2016 NBA draft out of Vanderbilt – was traded along with a 2026 second-round pick to the Hawks for fellow No. 30 pick Omari Spellman, who has rebuilt his image in his first year with the Warriors, averaging eight points and six rebounds on 42 percent shooting.
Since returning to the Southeast, the former Commodore has continued to flash potential, but questions remain surrounding his ability to translate raw athleticism into consistent on-court production.
Monday night’s 104-79 blowout victory against the Warriors — a game which saw Jones score a career-high 16 points punctuated by three thunderous fourth-quarter dunks — provided fans in Atlanta with an encouraging glimpse of the 6-foot-11 big man’s tantalizing skill set and ability to fill a much-needed rim-protecting role in Atlanta.
After the game, Peachtree Hoops caught up with Jones, who reflected on his past year, detailing the moment he learned he was traded to his arrival and growth with the Hawks.