Name: Dahntay Lavall Jones
Years in NBA: 10 (Wait, what?)
Years with Clippers: 0.5
2014-2015 Salary: $387,632. Does not include in-kind value of shrimp he smuggled home from post-game spread in gym bag.
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent. Expected to sign multi-year deal as Uber driver come July.
Key Stats: 33 games played; 3.7 MPG; 0.6 PPG; 0.3 RPG; 7.4 EDCPG (exaggerated dunk celebrations per game, second in league to Leandro Barbosa)
In A Nutshell
A few years back, a company I was working for hired a temp worker that I still think about every now and then. He was a little too old to be temping–he was in his mid 30's, at least–but he knew that my company occasionally would hire temps into full-time administrative assistant positions. From his first day on the job, everyone in his department could sense he was determined to be so irrepressibly nice and team-oriented that no one would have the heart to deny him the full-time gig. This was one of his last chances, and he wasn't going to blow it.
He stopped and chatted with everyone who crossed his cubicle, developed fun nicknames with his boss, asked us multiple times per day whether we wanted anything while he was out grabbing coffee (his treat!). Every sentence in every email ended with an exclamation point, and within a week he was already endorsing me for "Public Speaking" and "People Skills" on LinkedIn. He wasn't the quickest when it came to learning Outlook or re-routing phone calls, but he was the first in the room for every all-staff meeting and company happy hour.
At first, we all liked this temp worker. When someone is so obviously trying to demonstrate how much of a team player they are, and how desperately they want a job, it's hard not to empathize.
But towards the end of this month-long appointment, my coworkers and I began to find him unbearable. Not every sentence in every email needs an exclamation point. Our team's presentation for the client went well, but it wasn't "beyond incredible". How was he able to be ten minutes early to every staff meeting? And why would you do that in the first place?
Dahntay Jones is that temp worker. No, I'm not speaking metaphorically--I'm pretty sure Dahntay Jones' temp agency placed him at my company, and then on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, and then on the Clippers in mid-February.
How can you quantify what Dahntay brought to the Clippers? Well, he certainly was a breath of enthusiasm after Jordan Farmar's "It's so obvious no one likes me here but I'm growing this Movember moustache out anyway" truculence. Doc was in constant praise of Jones' professionalism and enthusiasm, and the bench did seem generally more involved in the game after his arrival. Actually, there are so many strengths in Dahntay's game, only bullet points can contain them.
- Allotted six personal fouls, as much as any other NBA player.
- Totally down to pick up Austin from soccer practice after film session.
- Inspires teammates with halftime stories about his service in Korea
- Won't take it personally if you brush off his high-five on your way back to the bench.
- Knows a guy who knows a guy who "can take care of that problem for you, boss"
- When intentionally fouling a poor free throw shooter, able to discreetly slip a business card to the opposition's head coach during brief stint on floor.
You can't really write about a player's weaknesses if he averages less than four minutes a game. But I will say that Dahntay could use a bit more creativity in his bench celebrations.
In fairness, it might be a generational thing. Dahntay might be able to inspire the Clippers with a war story about his service in Korea, but he's less inclined to do things like this...
(Apologies for including a Dubs highlight, but I have a soft spot for the Bazemore '13'-14 celebrations).
Future With The Clippers
I'd be surprised if Dahntay is with the Clippers next year. Yes, we'll have plenty of veteran minimum players on the roster, but Doc typically likes to sign cheap players who at least have the potential of seeing floor time before the season starts (see CDR, Ekpe, Jet Cunningham). At the age of 35, Dahntay doesn't really fit that criteria.
But if Ballmer needs an assistant manager in Zune customer service....
Like Sheryl said, always lean in.
Dahntay, Clipper Nation will forever remember you for this.Thank you for your service.
As always, a huge thank you to Mr. Connor Carroll for the photoshop assists. Connor, you are the Hedo to my Dahntay.