The 27-year-old, who has made stops in France, Hungary, and Israel and joined the Pacers for training camp last September as he rehabilitated from shoulder surgery, has played in 26 games for the Mad Ants this season, averaging 11.4 points per game while shooting 37.8 percent from three, which is up from 28.9 percent last season.
“Something that Trey hasn’t played consistently is at the point guard position,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey told The Journal Gazette’s Justin A. Cohn at the start of January. “That was one of the things he and I talked about during training camp, was giving him some chances at point guard. He’s an unbelievable defender and is athletic and can get to the rack. ... It’s going to help Walt (Lemon Jr.) with giving him more energy. I’m liking what Trey’s doing out there.”
Coincidentally, neither player will be available to lighten the other’s load for at least the immediate future, as it was also announced today that Lemon Jr. is set to sign a 10-day contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. By comparison to McKinney-Jones, the 25-year-old slasher’s ability to aggressively dissect his opponent’s defense — to the tune of 22.7 points and 5.9 assists per game — is at the core of Fort Wayne’s largely more position-less offense.
Even so, given that Darren Collison was only expected to miss two to three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on February 6, it seems somewhat strange that the Pacers would add another guard to the mix with the team’s open roster spot, even if only as a temporary stop-gap.
Especially since any minutes that the do-everything defender turned floor general earns will likely come at the expense of calling on two-way player Edmond Sumner or Joe Young, who has only just recently started to find his fit as an efficient stop-release as opposed to a shot-hunting point guard.
Be that as it may, Young’s attempts to compensate for his lack of size by harassing the point of attack has brought with it mixed results. Sometimes, he manages to pester the Celtics into botching a simple inbounds pass, or he ends up goading Ramon Sessions into committing an offensive foul. On other occasions, he picks up Goran Dragic full court only to allow the hard-nosed guard to drive all the way to the rim with his left hand.
Over the last 10 games, the Pacers have surrendered a mammoth 118.2 points per 100 possession in the 117 minutes that the 25-year-old has been on the floor as opposed to 105.5 when he’s been on the bench.
In that regard, Trey McKinney-Jones, 6-foot-5, is better suited to provide the bench with defensive versatility in a pinch.
After his initial on-the-job audition expires, the Pacers will have the option to sign him to a second 10-day contract.