During his three years with the Warriors, the most points Damian Jones scored in a single game was 13.
Earlier this season, his first with the Hawks, Jones scored 14 against the Suns. On Monday night, he topped both of those numbers.
In his first game against his former team, Jones dropped in a career-high 16 points, helping the Hawks beat the Warriors 104-79.
“You always like to see a guy go against his former team and come out and play well and I thought it was good to see Damian’s performance tonight," Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce told reporters after the game in Atlanta. "But I thought his defense in the first half particularly, he was a presence around the rim, he altered a few shots and he got obviously a couple easy baskets around the rim as well.
Jones also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out one assist and had one steal.
Even Hawks star guard Trae Young knew it was a big game for Jones.
"He’s playing against his old team, so there’s probably a little bit more motivation to go out there and play harder, and just put on a show for his old team," Young told reporters. "I don’t know how he’s feeling … I didn’t want to ask him about it, but it’s probably a little bit of motivation playing against his old team.”
The Warriors thought highly of Jones when they drafted him with the No. 30 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
But because they are hard-capped due to the D'Angelo Russell-Kevin Durant sign-and-trade, the Warriors needed to shed payroll anyway they could. Which is why they traded Jones to Atlanta for Omari Spellman. Golden State saved roughly $400,000 this season by making the trade.
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It probably stung the Warriors front office to have to give up on a talented player like Jones, but they should feel good that the 24-year-old is averaging a career-high 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in Atlanta.
The Warriors would also like it if Jones didn't set a new career-high when the two teams meet again in March.