Meet Underrated Star Eddie Jones Who Got Overshadowed by Kobe Bryant at Lakers

Published 02/07/2021, 5:30 AM EST


Who could have been the face of the Lakers if Kobe Bryant hadn’t arrived? A man with a solid NBA career, but someone who wasn’t given enough credit for his role in the history of this franchise is Eddie Jones. Some may refer to the fact that in his fourteen seasons, he hasn’t even won a single championship. But that’s not the only thing that makes a great player.

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So who was he?

Who was Eddie Jones?

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If there is a player who was highly underrated back in the 1990s, it was Eddie Jones. Jones was the 10th pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1994 NBA Draft from Temple University. Even though Jones was from a relatively small university, NBA scouts knew the potential he had in him.

Eddie was a smart scorer, but it was his defense that stood out from the rest. He would just somehow manage to be at the right spot at the right time. When Jones joined the Lakers, showtime was already over. They didn’t have Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which meant there were no hopes for any chance at a championship.

However, the Lakers had Nick Van Exel, who brought some attention to them, though the team lacked the side-kick needed to support him. But under just six matches, Jones made his way to the starting lineup. He fit well with the physicality of the game, proving to the Lakers that they made the right choice.

Eddie could play almost everything. He was averaging 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. Although the highlight of his career was at the All-Star rookie game, where he outshone every other rookie. He had 25 points, 6 steals, 4 assists, and was 4-8 for field goals.

How Kobe Bryant took over

By the time he began his third season with the Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant had entered the equation. With a core roster ready for the Lakers, Jones had become one of the best players in the NBA. Voted in the NBA All-Star, he even got some of his own TV commercials.

However, his on-screen popularity didn’t change the fact that he was still underrated in the league that was filled with superstars. Playing next to Shaq meant that he was the main man, leader of the pack. But that didn’t stop Eddie from getting better with each year and instilling fear in his opponents.

Then, young shooting guard Kobe Bryant, who became the greatest of all time, took over. Even though Eddie knew that would happen, that didn’t stop him from passing his knowledge to young Bryant. Although this meant that it was time for Jones to say goodbye to the Lakers, and that day came in 1998-99 season. Halfway through the season, he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets, which hurt Eddie a lot.

His career after the Lakers

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Eddie wanted to win titles with the purple and gold, but that chance was long gone. That didn’t mean he didn’t play well for the Hornets. In fact, he made it to the All-Star team in 2000 and then ended up joining the Miami Heat.

He played four seasons with the Heat, but his primary focus wasn’t offense, but defense. Even though he never became an ABA All-Star again, he was a fan favorite and the heart and soul of the Miami Heat.

So, if it wasn’t for Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Eddie would have been the future of the Lakers. However, Kobe did come around and changed the fate of that franchise forever.

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Yashima Bhatia

1189 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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