The Sixers Lose Jones To Minnesota In Draft

Posted: June 16, 1989

The NBA's expansion draft nicked the 76ers yesterday, lifting 6-foot-8 forward Shelton Jones and depositing him with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"We felt he's a young small forward with a lot of basketball skills," said Billy McKinney, Minnesota's player-personnel chief. "He runs the floor, rebounds, he's very active and plays with a lot of intensity. . . . This is a great opportunity for Shelton to come in and fit into a pretty darn good role."

Jones, who was signed as a free agent by the Sixers in January, started 34 games at forward in place of the injured Cliff Robinson, but was given only sparing minutes. He was pulled out of many of those games quickly, giving way to Ron Anderson. Late in the year, he lost his starting position to Derek Smith.

Sidney Green, a backup forward-center for New York Knicks, was the draft's first selection, by the Orlando Magic. The second pick, by Minnesota, was Rick Mahorn, a bruising power forward who helped the Detroit Pistons to the NBA title.

The Magic also chose guard Reggie Theus, a former all-star, from the Atlanta Hawks.

"We felt there were two ingredients we needed - a big rebounder to get us off to a good start and a scorer," said Pat Williams, president and general manager of the Magic. "We felt Sidney Green was the best rebounder available, and Reggie Theus is a guy who can score a lot of points."

Jones, 23, averaged 14 minutes, 5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 42 games for the Sixers last season. His high game was a 20-point effort against the Washington Bullets on Feb. 1. The former star at St. John's also was with the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors for brief stints last season.

"Shelton was the guy we kind of expected to lose, because of his youth and his upside potential. We had a good deal of discussion about whether to put him on the list," Sixers general manager John Nash said.

It is believed that the Sixers left Jones, forward Bob Thornton and guard David Wingate unprotected in the draft to stock the two new teams. Both Thornton and Wingate ended the year on the disabled list.

"I'm a little stunned right now. I thought I'd be taken by Orlando because I'd heard some things," said Jones, who was the 16th player chosen. "Things like this happen. That's the kind of year I had. I'll make the best of the situation. I look forward to getting out there and meeting with the coach. I don't even know who it is."

Jones' new coach is Bill Musselman, a disciplinarian who will have to rein in some of his new forward's wilder tendencies. Jones is a talented player, but one who can get out of control on a basketball court.

Minnesota's other selections were forward Tyrone Corbin of Phoenix, forward-center Steve Johnson of Portland, forward Brad Lohaus of Sacramento, guard David Rivers of the Los Angeles Lakers, forward Mark Davis of Milwaukee, forward Scott Roth of San Antonio, guard Eric White of the Los Angeles Clippers, guard Maurice Martin of Denver (a graduate of St. Joseph's) and center Gunther Behnke, whose rights were owned by Cleveland.

The other players taken by Orlando were forward Terry Catledge of Washington, guard Sam Vincent of Chicago, guard Otis Smith of Golden State, guard Scott Skiles of Indiana, forward Jerry Reynolds of Seattle, center Mark Acres of Boston, guard Morlon Wiley of Dallas, guard Jim Farmer of Utah, forward-center Keith Lee of New Jersey and guard Frank Johnson of Houston.

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