3 former Heat players thriving, 3 who are struggling this season

From LeBron James to Gabe Vincent, here is how several former Miami Heat players are faring with their new teams this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Luka Doncic, Derrick Jones Jr.
Dallas Mavericks v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages

Derrick Jones Jr

Derrick Jones Jr.'s time in Miami was mainly characterized by his dunks, as he claimed the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest award after a series of visually pleasing slams in his final year with the Heat.

Jones originally joined the Heat on a two-day deal in late 2017, but received a considerable amount of playing time from the get-go, in what was a very difficult period for the organization. He played an average of 23 minutes per game for the Heat in the bubble season, his highest collection of minutes in the NBA.

Only 38 of the small forward's 133 appearances for Miami came as a starter, five starts fewer than what he received in his one season in Portland in 2020-21.

Now on the Dallas Mavericks, Jones' offensive growth has been exceptional in the early stages of the season, as he is on course for career-high averages in points (9.6), 3-point shooting (36.7%) and assists (1.2).

Remarkably, Jones hadn't scored over 16 points in a singular game since 2020 before signing for the Mavericks this season, but he already boasts two 20-point evenings and a 17-point showing in the season's early weeks. His two 20-point games in the season's opening 12 fixtures are the same number as he'd managed in this department in his first seven years in the league.

Dallas has sprung magnificently into a 9-3 start and lay just a half-game behind table-topping Nuggets in the West, and their new small forward has already won over fans of a Mavericks side who are desperate for a resurgence after their inability to reach the post-season last year.

The improving role player continued to sell himself in the road victory at the Wizards on Thursday night with perhaps the finest display on his new team: 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Jones has replaced exciting prospect Josh Green as the Mavs' most useful wing defender and could be playing himself into a far-more lucrative contract than his current $2.7 million, one-year-deal.