Grizzlies Tyus Jones Faces Difficult Free Agent Decision

Tyus Jones proved himself to be the best backup point guard in the NBA this season. Just don't tell him that he's a "backup". "I never called myself that," he says. And now, he can call himself a free agent—with a difficult decision ahead of him. 

“I would like to be a starter in this league, obviously," Jones said. “I think any player you ask in this league would say that. I’d be lying if I said no. At the same time, that’s not the end all, be all.”

With Ja Morant ahead of you on the pecking order, there's not much chance of being the regular starter. But when Morant was out for 25 games due to injury this season, Jones thrived, with the Grizzlies going 19-4 with him as the starter, as he averaged 12.7 points and 6.6 assists in that role. 

“You always strive for more, but at the same time with that being said, I’ve always viewed myself as a starter, even coming off the bench,” Jones said. “A lot of times being called one of the best backups in the league, I never called myself that. I always just viewed that I was just a starter that’s coming of the bench. That’s always been my mindset.”

In the last four seasons, he has led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio. Overall, he averaged 8.7 points and 4.4 assists in 21.2 minutes this season. 

There are a number of teams that have Jones on the radar as a starter, not the least of which, a certain team that plays in the self-described mecca of basketball. 

But according to Damichael Cole of the Memphis Commercial AppealGrizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman says he has the support of owner Robert Pera and will have no problem keeping and paying players they want to retain. As Cole notes, Jones will be the first test.

Photo Credit: Joe Rondone-USA TODAY Sports