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IC Cold Links: O'Brien Wants Better Shooting From Jones Before Earning More PT

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As several of us Pacers fans watched and blogged during last night's win against the Nets, we were wondering why Dahntay Jones has been so in-and-out of coach Jim O'Brien's rotation this season. He plays good defense, usually plays hard and when he's on his A game, he can become a catalyst for a win.

But he's never been fully utilized by O'Brien. Jones hadn't played in four of the previous seven games prior to Saturday. After averaging nearly 35 minutes per game in November and December, Jones has rarely played more than 25 minutes in games during March and April. So what's the deal? Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star had the scoop this morning.

For all of Jones' positive qualities, there is one part of his game that is severely lacking -- 3-point shooting. And it's lacking enough that O'Brien feels it makes him nearly obsolete on the court. Jones, who scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting in 31 minutes last night, is only 4-of-32 from beyond-the-arc this season. O'Brien told Wells that he'd much rather have a shooter spacing the court than what Jones brings to the table, which is slashing and cutting to the basket.

"Let me answer it this way: I like to space the court," O'Brien told Wells. "I think if we were to get a point guard that can really space the court, shoot the 3, I think you can get away with having a wing that doesn't space the court. He is a good player; he's good to have on our basketball team. I think we've had a lot of success recently because we've become a real tough team to guard when we space the court."

As Wells said, it looks as though Jones better spend his offseason working on his outside game. Jones said after last night that he's going to continue doing what he's good at, which is driving to the basket and making plays. But that's not good enough for O'Brien. Jones' up-and-down relationship with his coach will continue until he can drop a few daggers once in a blue moon.

More links after the jump.