Vengeance isn’t on the mind of WNBA rookie Haley Jones

The Atlanta Dream rookie is only worried about winning

Haley Jones has always been the focal point.

She was the No. 1 high school player in the country in 2019 and won the 2021 NCAA Tournament Outstanding Player honors after leading Stanford to a national championship. In the final two years of her college career, Jones was projected to be, at least, a top-three pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft. During her senior season at Stanford, however, she shot 9.4% from 3-point range and didn’t show much general growth in the scoring department throughout the duration of her collegiate career. Pair the 3-point shooting concerns with an early tournament exit in an upset loss to Ole Miss, and Jones’ draft stock became more of a question mark than a sure-fire thing.

Jones not only fell out of the top three but out of the top five and right into the hands of the Atlanta Dream at No. 6.

Does the former Stanford star care about the slide, though?

“Not at all,” Jones told rolling out. “I’m drafted where I’m supposed to be. I’m excited to be here in Atlanta. I think I’m with the right organization, and with the right staff to make me the player I want to be.

“I don’t see it so much as, ‘Oh. I slipped. Now, I need to go do this and that.’ I have the same drive, no matter what it is, right? No matter if I was the No. 1 pick, 15 pick, whatever. It doesn’t impact the way I’m going to work day in and day out … I’m interested in team success. I want to win.”

What made Jones the 2021 NCAA Tournament Outstanding Player is her versatility. Standing at 6-foot-1, Jones uses her length to disrupt opponents and grab rebounds on defense, while her vision, ball handling and passing make her a threat on the floor for all 94 feet.

This upcoming season, it looks like she’ll be able to show off her full arsenal as a backcourt player.

“I’m playing more point guard and one-two guard stuff right now,” Jones told Hunter Cruse of The Next Hoops. “It’s cool to be that point guard [because] you don’t have to wait for an outlet pass. I can fly in there, get the board and take it myself. Also, I don’t have to dribble 20,000 times to get [up] the court. I’m fine to triple push or whatever, and kick it to amazing guards like Aari [McDonald], who’s the fastest player ever and or [Danielle Robinson]. Playing with other point guards like that, it’s all five. Whoever gets it, others are running the lane. You have people like Allisha Gray and AD running the lane. It’s really fun to be here and play with a [team] like that.”

She has also been working on her shot from long range.

“I guess it’s [about] shooting without thinking about it,” Jones said. “I think I have the skill and the talent to do it. The shot form’s there. Now, it’s just about taking them.”

The Dream’s regular season tips off at 1 p.m. EDT on May 20 at the Dallas Wings.

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