Posted in: Op-edSports News
Published:
December 24, 2019 4:20 PM UTC

Derrick Jones Jr.’s Monster Dunk Perfectly Symbolizes Stunning Heat Turnaround

Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. is not a household name, but if he can continue to make plays like he did against Rudy Gobert, he'll become one.

  • The Miami Heat are one of the more pleasant surprises of the NBA season so far.
  • They were expected to be better this season but not a top-four team in the East.
  • They owe the turnaround to relatively-unknown players like Derrick Jones Jr – not just Jimmy Butler.

Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. is not a superstar that came into the NBA with a lot of fanfare. He wasn’t a lottery pick; in fact, he went undrafted after leaving UNLV after one season. During his short career, he has floated between the G-League, the Phoenix Suns, and now the Miami Heat.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, on the other hand, is an established star. The 7-foot-1-inch Frenchman is arguably the best defensive player in the league. He has won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award the last two seasons, after all.

Monday night during a game in Miami, these two met on the court. From their backgrounds, it would be a fair assumption to think Gobert would get the better of Jones.

But that was not the case at all.

Derrick Jones Jr. with the Slam!

Jones has only appeared in 15 of Miami’s 30 games this season and is averaging right around 20 minutes a game. But with plays like the one he made over Utah’s Gobert Monday night, there is a good chance he could earn himself a little more playing time in the future:

It was one of only two baskets made by Jones on the night. He played 32 minutes off the bench and recorded eight points and six rebounds in what would end up being a 107-104 win for the Heat.

The victory improved the Heat to 13-1 at home this season and 22-8 overall. It also brought an end to Utah’s five-game winning streak.

What Does This Mean for Jones (If Anything)

Jones is like the silent multitude of athletes that fans often know little of. He makes a good living, of course. But, unlike the big-name draft picks and established stars, he doesn’t have the luxury of being able to have an off-night or a few bad games.

When you don’t come with fanfare, you have to earn your keep every night – just like the Miami Heat as a whole. You have to prove your worth, and you certainly can’t give them any reason to doubt your value.

With plays like this, his value is undoubtedly on the rise—and probably his playing time, too.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:40 PM UTC

Travis Pulver @FatManWriting

Travis graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, with a master's in Political Science. Prior to that, he attended IU Purdue in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science and earned his first degree at Texas A & M in Galveston, TX, a BS in Maritime Administration. You can contact him on Twitter at @FatManWriting. Over the last few years, Travis has worked for several news-oriented sites that focused on sports, especially football, baseball, basketball, and to a lesser extent, boxing and MMA. Having grown up in the football-crazed state of Texas, football is his first love. According to his mother, he was more excited to watch NFL and college games as a baby than Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse. His passion for sports quickly spread to baseball (favorite team is the Houston Astros), basketball, and track and field as a kid. It wasn’t until his college years that he discovered the tremendous game of rugby. He currently lives in the United States in Indiana (is a basketball fan but hates going to the Indy 500) with his wife and two adorable kids.

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