Eddie Charles Jones (born October 20, 1971) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for several teams in his 14-year National Basketball Association (NBA) career. Jones played college basketball at Temple University and was the 1993–94 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. The three-time NBA All-Star was selected 10th overall in the 1994 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers raised some eyebrows when they selected Jones with the 10th overall selection. Many felt that the Lakers really needed a front line player to help out James Worthy (who retired at the beginning of the 1994-1995 season), Elden Campbell, Vlade Divac, and George Lynch, although very few left available were worthy of being a selection this high; and with Nick Van Exel, Sedale Threatt, Anthony Peeler, Duane Cooper, Tony Smith, Doug Christie, et al already in the fold, drafting Jones would only further complicate the already “log jammed” backcourt and wing positions. But then-Lakers general manager Jerry West wasn’t swayed by the critics and drafted Jones anyway. “We wanted the best pure athlete available, and Eddie was too good to pass up,” West said.
In his rookie season Jones averaged 14.0 points per game and 2.05 steals per game as he played in 64 games, 58 of which he started. He also led the NBA in steal/turnover ratio (1.75), placed 4th in the NBA Rookie of the Year ballot, and was on the 1994–95 NBA All-Rookie First Team. In the 94–95 All-Star weekend Rookie Challenge he won the MVP, posting a game-high 25 points, 6 steals, and 4 rebounds. With his combination of size, athleticism, and defense, Jones began to draw favorable comparisons to another former Lakers great, Michael Cooper. (Cooper himself said that looking at Jones on the court was like “looking in a mirror.”) Jones would become an integral part of the Lakers squad, along with Nick Van Exel and Cedric Ceballos as the Lakers made the playoffs and upset the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round 3 games to 1 before facing the top seeded San Antonio Spurs led by league MVP David Robinson. The younger Lakers managed to push the Spurs to six games before losing the series, with Jones averaging 8.7 points off the bench in his first playoff run.
In the 1997-1998 season, Jones averaged 16.9 points with 2 steals a game, and scored 15 points with 11 rebounds in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.
Jones became a free agent after the 2000 season, and talked with the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic, but wanted to play for his hometown of Miami. In the offseason prior to the 2004-2005 season, Miami made major roster changes, trading Odom and Butler along with center Brian Grant for Shaquille O’Neal, Jones’ old Lakers teammate. Although Jones started the season at the shooting guard position, he would move to the small forward position with Wade taking over as the team’s starting shooting guard. The result was a blossoming season for Wade combined with the dominating presence of O’Neal. Jones saw his scoring output dip to 12.7 points a game, but he remained a crucial 3 point shooting option for Miami as the team won 59 games and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Near the end of the season the Heat also brought back Alonzo Mourning, and the team would sweep New Jersey and the Washington Wizards in the playoffs before facing the defending NBA champion Detroit Pistons. The Heat took a 3-2 series lead after five games, but faced difficulties with an injury to Wade, and the Pistons rallied to win game 6 in Detroit and game 7 in Miami. Jones averaged 13.7 points throughout the playoffs. Miami was disappointed to have just missed a chance to make the NBA Finals, and Riley decided to part ways with Jones after five seasons as he was dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies for James Posey and Jason Williams on August 2, 2005 in a record five-team, thirteen-player trade. In Memphis, Jones started in 75 games, averaging 11.8 points with 1.7 steals a game as the Grizzlies made the playoffs but were swept in the first round by the Dallas Mavericks. Jones started in 14 of 29 games the following year for the Grizzlies, before getting waived by the team on January 30, 2007.
After the 2006–07 season ended, Jones became an unrestricted free agent. On August 3, 2007, Jones agreed to a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Jones also played for the Golden State Warriors.
On October 10, 2008, Jones was traded to the Indiana Pacers.
After being traded to the Pacers, Jones had his contract renegotiated which enabled him to pursue playing for another team or retire. On October 16, 2008, he was released from the Pacers in order for them to free up cap room.
Career highlights and awards
3× NBA All-Star (1997–1998, 2000)
All-NBA Third Team (2000)
3× All-Defensive Second Team (1998–2000)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (1995)
NBA steals leader (2000)
Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (1994)
Robert V. Geasey Trophy winner (1994)
Men’s Basketball Competitor for United States
FIBA U21 World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1993 Valladolid National team