The energy and athleticism that Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. provides off the bench is unmatched by anyone else on the Heat roster. Other Heat players have begun to notice just how important Jones’ athleticism, which allows him to keep lots of plays alive, is to the team.
“It’s hard to crash every time and then you got to get back, but he does it” said Heat guard Dwyane Wade. “He’s definitely been that bright spot for our team probably every night just because of that, outside of his ability to dunk and his ability to play the game of basketball. But just his ability to crash every play, it changes our team.”
So far this season Jones is averaging 7.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game. Two of those 4.5 rebounds per game comes on the offensive end, which ranks 46th in the entire NBA.
After joining the Heat in December of 2017, Jones has carved out a solid role on the team. He has played in 17 of the team’s last 18 games, averaging 9.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 21.7 minutes per game during that span.
As a team, the Heat rank third in the NBA when it comes to offensive rebounds per game (12.1). The 21-year-old spoke about what the team’s mindset is when it comes to offensive rebounds.
“More rebounds, more offensive rebounds, more points. More chances to get points. That’s real simple,” said Jones. “We just want to crash the glass as much as we can.”
Throughout the season, the UNLV product has put up numerous impressive performances, including when he went for 16 points and nine rebounds, seven of which were offensive rebounds, on Dec. 30 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Should he continue to perform at the level he has this season, Jones will undoubtedly earn more minutes from head coach Erik Spoelstra and end up becoming a key piece of the Heat’s future.