By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
KAI Jones continues to put up dominant numbers in the G-League with the Charlotte Hornets affiliate Greensboro Swarm.
Jones scored a career high 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 139-119 win over Long Island Nets at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina on Sunday.
He shot 12-18 from the field and 1-4 from three-point range to go along with three blocked shots on the defensive end.
This season, Jones is averaging 17.9 points, 10.9 boards, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks over 31.6 minutes. His elite defensive efficiency jumps right off the stat sheet. His blocks per game ranks sixth out of all centres, and his steals per game puts him at 35th out of all players in the G-League.
Jones has played sparingly in the NBA with the Hornets but has been one of the top players on the Hornets roster since he was recalled. He also posted 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 112-100 win over the Westchester Knicks on March 26, 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 123-112 win over the Lakeland Magic, 15 points in a 125-84 loss to the Motor City Cruise Suns and 22 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots in a 117-104 loss to the Cleveland Charge.
Jones’ rebounds per game totals ranks eighth in the G-League, higher than many players who have all had a significant run in the NBA, including Jordan Bell, Tacko Fall, Greg Monroe and others.
James Plowright, who covers the Hornets and Swarm beat for SB Nation, detailed Jones’ recent growth that has been on full display over this recent stretch of game. “The difference in Kai Jones game from summer league to now is seismic. In Summer League he was playing power forward and forcing shots inside while contested, over dribbling on the perimeter, overly commuting to offensive rebounds and generally trying to do too much,” he said in a series of tweets.
“Now watching him in the G League he’s playing almost exclusively the five, but his play style is the thing that has changed the most. [Jordan] Surenkamp has completely simplified the game for him, he’s now playing much more like a traditional big.”