Life’s been pretty hectic for Popeye Jones of late — and not just because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers, Jones — an 11-season NBA veteran with six different teams, including the Toronto Raptors — has been keeping busy with his job and a 10-month-old for a little while now, and the novel coronavirus rearing its ugly head only proved to complicate matters a little more.
And now, with the NBA set to return at Walt Disney World at the end of July, and a historic movement for racial justice marching forward every day, there’s even more on Jones’ plate to think about.
Sportsnet recently managed to catch up with Jones where, among other topics, he weighed in on the debate about whether NBA players should play during this time of civil unrest, the NBA’s return-to-play plan and his two famous NHL hockey-playing sons, Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Edmonton Oilers’ Caleb Jones.
Note: This interview has been edited for clarity.
You’re an assistant with the Pacers. What have you done to stay busy from a coaching perspective in this social distancing world we live in?
Popeye Jones: I’ve just been participating in virtual coaching clinics that people are hosting online, studying film, studying not only our team but other teams and international teams. And listening to NBA coaches talk about basketball, international coaches talk about basketball and having phone conversations with other coaches to talk about the game. Just trying to get better in my mind and trying to keep my mind fresh and engaged in the game of basketball.
In regards to your team, Victor Oladipo had just recently returned from a bad knee injury last year and was looking pretty good. What’s he looking like