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For Tyus Jones, starting against the Grizzlies was another stride forward

Terry Davis

WASHINGTON, DC – Over the summer, former Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Tyus Jones lost his unofficial title as “best backup point guard in the NBA.” That happened when Jones was traded to the Washington Wizards to start a new chapter in his career as the starting point guard.

Up to that point, Jones had been a critical link in the success of the Grizzlies backing up All-Star point guard Ja Morant. He took over the reins of the team when Morant was out for any reason.  And, he was part of the second unit that kept the team going and – at times – provided the spark to get it going.

Last Saturday (Oct. 28) in Washington, DC, Jones crossed paths with his old team in what was his second official game as a starter for the Washington Wizards. Before tipoff, Jones exchanged pleasantries with his former teammates and support team staff in what had the feel of a family reunion.

That was the case after the game as well.

The soft-spoken Jones helped create and find the music for the Grizzlies’ famous pregame entrances that other teams in the NBA now began to duplicate.

After the buzzer sounded on the Wizards’ 116-106 win, it was all love for Jones.

“It was great. That is my dog,” said Memphis’ All-Star power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. “I spent a lot of time with him. He and his family are doing great. That is all that matters.”

Tyus Jones, who was traded from Memphis to Washington during the off-season, guards Marcus Smart, who was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Grizzlies. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The New Tri-State Defender)

With the Wizards, Jones is expected to be the locker-room leader of a unit with a lot of growing to do.

“He is a young vet and he is very steady,” said the Wizards’ head coach, Wes Unseld Jr. “He is a high assist and low turnover guy. With that, it gives us a little comfort. He makes my job at times easy. He knows what is needed. He understands how to get guys involved. When you have a guy out that there that steadies the ship at times, that is great.”

Memphis Grizzlies head coach called Jones “an unbelievable person. It meant a lot to us and to me, in the locker room, on the floor. He took the nickname ‘Stones.’ He embraced it. It is all about the right thing. What stands out the most, is he would do anything for the team to win.”

Desmond Bane, who has taken up some of the leadership slack created with the departure of Jones from the Grizzlies, said ones “earned himself a starting spot. I wish him all the success in the world.”

The game was the first of only two meetings that Jones will have with his former. Washington will play Memphis in March at FedExForum, providing fans of the Grizzlies an opportunity to show Jones the love and affection they have for him.

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