Timing was something Jones didn’t have in his NBA career. He spent the majority of his professional basketball years with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat but was never there when they won the title.
It wasn’t his fault his teams didn’t win, as he could score and was also one of the elite defenders at his position.
Eddie Jones was born, and attended high school, in Pompano, Florida. He played his college basketball at Temple. He could already defend and rebound but it was his steady improvement on the offensive end that NBA scouts were noticing.
11.4 points on 43.7 shooting was followed by a year averaging 17 points and 45.8% from the field and in his final college season he was scoring 19.2 points per game while shooting 47% from the field. His free throw shooting wasn’t great, 61.4% for his college games, but he also showed some improvement in that stat every year.
The L.A. Lakers were in a place they were not used to, among the high draft picks, so they grabbed Jones with the pick 10th of the 1994 NBA draft.
The Lakers made the right choice, Jones was All-Rookie first team and named MVP of the Rookie Game at the All-Star weekend. One thing that was immediately on display was Jones’ defensive prowess. 131 steals, and 41 blocks, in his rookie season.
He was quick, he could anticipate where the ball was being passed to and he had long arms to deflect the basketball. As he had improved during his college years, Jones showed he was still putting in the practice time as he shot 72.2% on free throws, a much better number than his college percentages.
That would be his lowest NBA percentage from the charity stripe, the next season he was at 73.9% and for the rest of his career he was usually up around 80%.
It was going to be Shaq and Kobe’s team, so Jones was traded by the Lakers with Elden Campbell to the Charlotte Hornets for guard B.J. Armstrong, power forward J.R. Reid and star shooter Glen Rice.
In his only complete season with Charlotte, Jones led the NBA in steals, with 2.7 per game. He also lifted his points per game average to over 20. But after a big season with Charlotte it was time for another blockbuster trade, Jones was going to Miami.
In August of 2000, the Charlotte Hornets sent Jones along with Ricky Davis, Dale Ellis and Anthony Mason to the Miami Heat for Jamal Mashburn, P.J. Brown, Rodney Buford, Tim James and Otis Thorpe. Riley wanted the defense that Jones could produce.
He would spend five seasons with the Heat, getting steals and hitting outside shots at a high percentage. As the years went on, his numbers started to decrease and that was when Miami used him to reload. They sent him out and brought in several players who would be key parts of a run to the title. It also ended Jones’ time among the contending teams of the NBA.
The huge trade of 2005 resulted in Jones going to Memphis and also involved players Antoine Walker, Andre Emmett, James Posey, Jason Williams, Greg Ostertag, Qyntel Woods, Alberto Miralles, Rasual Butler, Roberto Duenas, Curtis Borchardt, Raul Lopez, Kirk Snyder and a bunch of draft picks.
After a bit more than a season, Jones was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies. He briefly returned to the Miami Heat, signed as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks and was also a part of a small trade which sent him to Indiana.