Watch out for Airplane Mode as Derrick Jones Jr. continues his high flying streak paving the way for the Miami Heat’s future big four.
The Miami Heat have unrolled the future of their franchise in the form of a new young big three. Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow have proved their worth and have been deemed fit to lead the way for years to come. The rest of the team still lingers with rotation issues and occasional swings that press questioning concerns of their immediate future.
Take Hassan Whiteside for example. A dominant post presence and supposed two-way big threat, Whiteside has now slipped into the second unit. That’s something that never seemed possible after witnessing him erupt for performances like a triple-double with 17 rebounds and 11 blocked shots two years ago. But it’s been nothing but regression ever since. He is still an integral part of that second unit, but with Adebayo’s emergence, you can assume he can be replaced for the right price.
Dion Waiters, a clutch figure that the Heat needed to take control, has been limited in his rotation minutes due to uncertainty with his physical game post-surgery. The Dragon, Goran Dragic, another constant battle with the injury bug that has limited his progression. Not to say this hasn’t benefited the breakout roles for the young three, but it is still molding some rather odd situations with the lineup.
There is, however, one more player that needs to be talked about more and could very well be the new addition to the future big three. Better yet, the new formation of Miami’s big four.
That player is Derrick Jones Jr., an athletic force that has turned heads with his high flying abilities. Nicknamed “Airplane Mode”, Jones has emerged as one of the top offensive rebounders for a small forward. Averaging only 7.2 points per games this season, a slight nudge from his career best of 5.7, his game on the floor speaks volumes compared to his overall stats.
With a 7’0’’ wingspan, Jones has proved his worth as one of the top elite defenders within this Heat team. His timing has also been in the range of impeccable during his breakout role. In a recent win over the Brooklyn Nets, Jones finished the night with 18 points and 4 rebounds but the impressive mark was his +29 for the game. A statistical advantage that confirms he can be a difference maker among the Heat’s rotation.
A 35.9 percent 3-point shooter, his game is not limited to high-flying dunks only. Not his strong suit, but something that adds fire to his arsenal. If he continues to work hard for a future role within this young core, he can become a quick threat. On top of everything, he is only 22 years old.
Heat fans that have waited patiently for the developments of their recent draft picks are starting to pay off. Jones Jr., an undrafted player from UNLV, is starting to prove that he should definitely be added to that list.
With the recent success of this short but sweet win streak, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will be wise to not mess this momentum up, but with a consistent 20 minutes a game, Airplane Mode should continue his rise within the rotation. Derrick Jones Jr. is an athletic run-and-gun forward ready for his take off.