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Little guy will shoot 50 times a night"— Jumaine Jones on Larry Brown's warning about playing with Allen Iverson

Jumaine Jones' experience with the Philadelphia 76ers and Allen Iverson complements Alex Caruso's journey to the NBA
Jumaine Jones on Larry Brown's warning on playing with Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson

While the NBA comprises the best basketball players in the world, the reality is that a select few are more talented than the rest. Former NBA player Jumaine Jones, a great scorer in Georgia, learned this early on when he became teammates with Allen Iverson.

Little guy

Jones showed off his offensive prowess in high school, averaging 32.8 points per game as a senior. He picked up where he left off in college. In his first year, Jones led the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game. The following year, he became the first sophomore to lead the team, scoring 18.8 points per game. He became the first second-year man to score 1,000 points since NBA icon Dominique Wilkins in 1981.

He was selected 27th overall in 1999 by the Atlanta Hawks, then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on draft night. Right from the get-go, Jones learned he the 76ers acquired him not because of his scoring potential.

"It was a transition for me because I came from being a scorer and I led the SEC in scoring [at Georgia], and I thought that was one of the reasons why I got drafted to go to Philadelphia. And it was funny, the first day I got to practice, [head coach] Larry Brown came up to me and he was like, 'Look here, Jumaine. You want to play for me, you've gotta find something else to do, because we've got a little guy on our team who's going to shoot 50 times a night,'" Jones said, per NBC Sports.

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Brown was very blunt, but this was necessary. He clarified Jones' role in the team right from the get-go. In hindsight, we can say that this was the right move as the 76ers made strides, especially in 2001 when they made it to the NBA Finals. That wouldn't have been possible if Brown wasn't honest with his players.

Know your role

Jones's experience perfectly complements the journey from the G League to the NBA of the Bulls' current guard Alex Caruso. Unlike Jones, Caruso entered the league in 2016 as an undrafted prospect. He stayed in the G League for a couple of years before becoming a rotation player for the Lakers. Now, he's considered of the best and smartest defenders in the NBA.

Caruso's experience has armed him with knowledge — wisdom that should be taken to heart by everyone who harbors NBA dreams.

"A big reason guys get stuck in the G-League is because they don't realize the position they're trying out for. It's like going to a job interview thinking you're going to be the CFO of the company, and they're looking for someone to clean the bathrooms," Caruso said, per The Old Man and the Three.

These are the little stories that get drowned out. While there's nothing wrong with celebrating generational talents like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Luka Doncic, among others, we shouldn't forget that basketball is a team sport. Star players don't win titles by themselves. They are surrounded by role players who are superstars in their own right based on the things they bring to their respective teams every single game. 

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