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Opening night was a brother-brother thing for Tyus, Tre Jones

by Najee El-Amin —

From an opening-night defeat in which the Grizzlies’ soaring star Ja Morant notched a career scoring high, Memphis backup point guard Tyus Jones logged a memory years in the making.

Morant was incredible. His 44 points and nine assists were eye-popping, even though fans had to watch on television – their absence from FedExForum a safety protocol in response to the COVID-19 menace.

The Grizzlies (0-1) got rocked 131-119 by the visiting San Antonio Spurs (1-0) as the NBA cautiously eased into a season 10-games shorter than usual and one unfolding amid a public health pandemic that forced last season’s playoffs into a “bubble” environment in Orlando.

The loss notwithstanding, the game amounted to a proud moment for Jones, who was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. For the first time in his NBA journey, he shared the floor with his younger brother, Tre Jones, a second round choice by San Antonio in the 2020 NBA draft.

Despite his usual calm and collected demeanor, it was clear that the brother-brother encounter registered large with big brother Tyus.

“It’s just an exciting moment for both of us, especially for our family,” he said prior to the game, “because it’s something we both have been working towards and dreaming about since we were little kids.”

Tyus Jones (left) and Tre Jones. (Twitter)

Both brothers attended Duke University. Tyus, who made the All-ACC Freshmen First Team, led the 2015 Blue Devils to an NCAA championship. Drafted as the 24th overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves to start his career. The Grizzlies picked him up as part of a trade in July 2019 and he has been contributing as a key bench player ever since.

Tre spent two years with Duke, where he averaged 13.9 PPG and reaped multiple awards, including ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

While he notched some playing time with the Spurs during the preseason, Tre didn’t crack Wednesday’s opening-night lineup. Big Brother Tyus earned 14 minutes off the Memphis bench, with a stat line that also read, seven points, one rebound and one assist.

Tyus Jones secures a loose ball, showing the hustle that has cemented him as a key contributor off of the Memphis bench. (Photo: Warren Roseborough)

If Tre needs a model for being patient in his rookie year, he can draw upon his brother’s experience. Tyus didn’t notch any game-time experience until the seventh game of his first season.

The Grizzlies and the Spurs meet again at the FedExForum on January 30th, 2021 – the next possibility for a Jones-versus-Jones, on-court memory.


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