Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. is ready for his transition

Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat directs Derrick Jones Jr. #5 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat directs Derrick Jones Jr. #5 (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Derrick Jones Jr. is ready to shine with the Miami Heat.

Derrick Jones Jr. is no stranger to high-level competition.

Between seeing action in 38 games with the Phoenix Suns in 2016-17, and splitting his time with the Miami Heat and Sioux Falls Skyforce this past year, the swingman has seen what NBA basketball offers.

More than that, he’s embraced the chance to thrive in it.

Jones may not have made a tremendous impact on the league just yet, but the potential to do so is there. Especially now that Miami has signed him to a two-year deal; quite an upgrade from the two-way contract he was on last season.

The 21-year-old isn’t taking the opportunity lightly either.

Although the start of the 2018-19 season is months away, he’s already working towards making sure he’s in world class shape by the time it comes around, to better improve his game.

"“I’m lifting every day. Getting into the lane, I’m not getting off my path like I was last season.”"

Summer League teammates have already noticed the change in Jones too.

"“He seems a lot more confident,” said guard Derrick Walton Jr., who was also on a two-way contract last year. “He’s been working pretty hard on his shot and being strong enough to take bumps on his drives.”"

That strength has already allowed him to put on a great first Summer League showing on Monday night, when the Heat took on the Golden State Warriors.

Jones finished with a team-high 24 points (shooting 7-of-14 from the field), many of which came from quick drives to the basket. His speed and bounce come together perfectly in regards to flying past defenders, only made more effective now that he’s put on some weight.

He also went 4-for-5 from downtown last evening, proving his ability to score from 3 hasn’t diminished in the offseason.

"“If I get an open shot, I’m not going to pass up on it. I worked on my game so much, what’s the point passing up an open shot that I worked on so much? So if I get an open three, I’m taking it.”"

Sounds like a Miami Heat Basketball recipe for success.

The transition into a full-time role with Miami probably won’t be flawless. After all, he only played in 14 games for the Heat in 2017-18, so he’ll need more time to further develop chemistry with the rest of the team.

However, judging by his performance with the Skyforce, it shouldn’t be long before Jones starts making a real impact on the ball club.

The Nevada-native averaged 17.4 points a game on 49.7 percent shooting from the field last year, shooting 33.8 percent from beyond-the-arc. This is alongside 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.8 blocks per contest in 29.1 minutes over 29 matchups.

Clearly, the talent is there.

Next: What's expected from the Miami Heat's free agency period?

While Miami Heat fans may still be waiting on larger-scale free agency moves, Jones is getting ready for 2018-19 action.