The Indiana Fever acquired forward Jazmine Jones earlier this week. Jones was placed on waivers by the New York Liberty on Feb. 4, and the Fever claimed the youngster off of waivers on Thursday.
Jones, a 25-year old wing from the University of Louisville, spent her first two seasons with New York. She has scored eight points per game in her pair of campaigns after recording nearly 11 points per game as a rookie. Additionally, she has shown off an effective-enough ability to pass and rebound the ball from the perimeter. And that has guided her to nearly 900 minutes of WNBA action since joining the league — including an appearance in the Liberty’s 2021 playoff game vs. Phoenix.
Jones’ success in her first season led to an inclusion on the WNBA All-Rookie team in 2020. However, salary cap shuffling caused Jones to be waived in New York. But the duo of seasons she has played to open her career have been successful.
“This is a great opportunity for us to bring in a young player like Jazmine, who has shown a lot of potential early in her career,” Fever head coach Marianne Stanley said in a team-issued statement. “She is a very versatile perimeter player who will increase the level of competitiveness in our training camp.”
Jones, at 38.3%, showed growth with her three-point accuracy last season and would have been Indiana’s best perimeter shooter in 2021. Her athleticism on the wing and utility as a shooter make her a natural fit to make Indiana’s final roster of 12. And she could even push for serious rotation minutes depending on who the Fever choose in the 2022 WNBA Draft.
Moves like these are the exact type of moves that a team like Indiana should be making. With their poor record in recent seasons, the Fever need to grab young talent whenever it becomes available. At age 25, Jones is certainly that. The former first-round pick could be just what the Indiana Fever need. And it’s rare that an opportunity to grab a player in this situation arises.
Jones won’t dramatically change the fortunes of the franchise without significant improvement. But she could be a difference-maker for the Fever, and she provides depth on the wing — something the roster needed. So claiming her contract off of waivers was a shrewd move by General Manager Tamika Catchings.
Bringing in Jones, who still has two unprotected seasons remaining on her rookie-scale contract; if the Fever picks up her team option in 2023, pushes the Fever to 13 players under contract. And that number doesn’t factor in the upcoming WNBA draft, where Catchings has six total selections — including three in the first round. As it stands now, Jones has a good chance to earn one of the Fever’s final roster spots. But any thoughts about the structure of the team could shift on draft night.
Jones’ story with the Indiana Fever is entirely unwritten. But in a free agency period filled with rebuilding moves from Catchings, bringing in a young, talented player on a valuable contract is good business. Indiana will be better off for it as they near the end of their free agency moves.