The Hawks received center Damian Jones in return. Jones was also a former number 30 overall pick in the draft. He was selected with the final pick in round one of the 2016 draft.
Standing seven feet tall and weighing 245 pounds, Jones is a true center. He has three-year career averages of 3.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per contest.
Though it has been difficult for Damian Jones to crack the rotation of the talented Warriors squad, he posted his best numbers to date last season. He played in 24 games and started 22 of them.
Jones posted career high averages of 5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1 block. He also achieved new career highs in minutes played (17.1), field goal percentage (71.6), free throw percentage (64.9), and steals (0.5).
Chris Vivlamore of The AJC recently asked Travis Schlenk for insight on the Omari Spellman for Damian Jones swap and gave the following thoughts:
"Q. Can you give me any insight on the trade of Omari Spellman? A. It balanced our roster out a little bit. Getting (Damian Jones) back who can play center and we get a future pick for taking on very little salary."
The move did balance the Atlanta Hawks roster, giving the team a third true center to compete for minutes with starter Alex Len, and second round pick Bruno Fernando. Damian Jones also gives the team another dive man in the pick and roll and a rim runner.
Most importantly, Jones adds a potential shot blocking threat, to protect the rim for Atlanta. Damian averaged 2.2 blocks per 36 minutes played. That was better than the departed Dewayne Dedmon and Alex Len, who both blocked 1.6 shots per 36 minutes.
The block rate that Damian Jones registered, was also better than the 1.1 Omari Spellman posted. The Atlanta Hawks ranked tied for number 13 in blocked shots, with the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks last season. Getting into the top 10 next season, would help improve the team’s defense exponentially.
The drawback on Damian Jones, is his inability to stretch the floor. He has never attempted an NBA three-point shot. This mean he must be the roll man, in pick and roll sets. This will limit his minutes on the court playing alongside John Collins.
Damian Jones also needs to rebound the basketball better. His 6.6 rebounds per 36 minutes trailed Dedmon, Spellman and Len. He needs to return to his rookie rebounding rate of 9.7 per 36 minutes.
The other drawback of trading for Damian Jones, is the Atlanta Hawks will only have one season to evaluate his performance. After this upcoming season, the team will have to decide rather to extend a qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent or let him test the market without restrictions.