Worst Starter No. 2 – Damian Jones
Perhaps reacting to the failures of Festus Ezili and Anderson Varejao in the Warriors’ NBA Finals loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team used their first-round pick to draft Vanderbilt center Damian Jones in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Jones then played just 49 total games in three seasons with the team, resigned to mop-up duty his first two years before getting some more run in 2018-19, starting 22 games for the Warriors as they retooled the rotation around their core. They didn’t go well.
Jones, to his credit, finished well that season, shooting 71.6 percent from the field as an incredibly low-usage finisher. That’s about all that he did, however. The offense was 3.2 points per 100 possessions worse with Jones on the court, per Cleaning the Glass, and the defense gave up 3.9 points more per 100 possessions. He had some solid defensive potential (potential he has flashed at times in the years since) but it didn’t come through with the Warriors.
Interestingly enough, although Jones had one of the worst on/off impacts of any starter during that era, the Warriors were so good that he actually had a positive point differential in his 22 starts. Even so, it was clear the Warriors couldn’t rely on Jones in important moments (eight total playoff minutes that season) and they moved on from him that offseason.