The San Antonio Spurs need Tre Jones in the starting lineup.
Before I try to make sense, let me tell you something that doesn't: The Spurs have the tallest, most anticipated prospect since who knows when, yet they still rank 27th in points in the paint per game (44) so far this season, according to teamrankings.com. The starting lineup is so big but can't create in the paint. This should change! But how?
Well, to score in the paint you have to get the ball there. Into the equation comes Tre Jones. When you watch Tre bring the ball up the court, your eyes dart because he's either getting the first step on a defender or throwing a bullet forward pass to someone close to the basket, or finding the open man on the outside. He's a point guard. His eyes are always looking for a lane and when he finds the lane, he thrives. Already this season we've seen him finish contested shots at the rim multiple times. Watch Tre find a lane, drive hard, and take Dillon Brooks, body to body, from the top of the key to the basket. On top of his finishing in the paint, he's been pretty much the only guy on the team to dump it to Wemby in good spots, including the paint. I know we're only 3 games in, but replacing Jeremy Sochan with Tre Jones as starting PG will get the ball to Wemby early and often, when there's no close-game pressure and he can just do his work, and get experience handling the ball in the NBA.
In addition to scoring at the basket, Tre has a real ability to create for his teammates. He led the team in assists last season at 6.6/game so he has the vision and desire to distribute. Hypothetically speaking, if teams start crowding the paint against the Spurs to cut off the Wemby-oop, there will be someone else in a spot for Tre to dish to. The Spurs starting lineup has decent options to pass to...Devin Vassell is money with his jumper, Zach can usually create in a post up, passing to Keldon while he's cutting down the lane is a nightmare for defenders. There is a lot of opportunity to make a good pass with this group. Not only will Tre make those passes, he'll take care of the ball while doing it. While leading the team in assists last season, he also had the best assist to turnover ratio on the team at 4.1. This 4.1 Assist/TO number also happened to rank top ten in the league. Passing vision really is where Tre is going to stand out in the starting lineup. He has experience moving the ball extremely well, and will shine in keeping a high tempo both in transition and also while running plays.
So he can score and pass like a PG. But what about Jeremy? Sochan also has starting experience and is a strong presence on both sides of the ball, why bring him off the bench? I think for exactly those reasons. Imagine a sixth man that is 6'8, athletic, can defend 1-5, and has flare...well you don't have to imagine, we already have him. There's also an argument to bench Collins and have Tre and Jeremy start together. Aside from having a slightly less physically imposing lineup, I see no issue with starting Tre and J together. The only problem is, Zach Collins just got a $35 Million extension and the organization probably doesn't want him coming off the bench this early on. I could be wrong there, and sure a great reason to keep Collins starting is rebounding. But, honestly, Tre Jones can rebound. More often than not he's close to the basket to take it up the court after opponents put up shots. He grabs a healthy amount of these rebounds, and starting will only help him grab more, especially because teams are less inclined to go for offensive rebounds early in a game.
Ultimately, it's early enough in the season where the starting lineup is conditional anyway. It would just be fun to see Wemby getting the ball early, miss or make, while having other guys in position to score too in case it's not there for him. Let's not forget Devin Vassell is shaping up to be something special. So, by no means am I worried as a Spurs fan. In fact, this is the most excited I've been for a season in some time.
Let me know what you think: