Jaime Jaquez Jr. has emerged as the steal of the NBA draft and the rookie forward’s reputation is growing beyond the scope of Miami Heat fans.
National broadcasters rave about Jaquez, who was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in November and December. He’s carved out a role for the reigning conference champions and is averaging 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists while impressing with his low-post moves and poise.
Miami Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. continues to draw praise from the highest levels of national analysts and pundits.
Despite being selected 18th in the draft, Jaquez has the fourth-best odds to win Rookie of the Year. FanDuel has him listed at +50,000, behind Charlotte’s Brandon Miller (+15,000), Oklahoma City’s Chet Holmgren (+500) and San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama (-600).
Jaquez won’t win the award over the two generational rookies that have turned this into a two-player race, but that he’s one of four rookies even listed at odds underscores his impressive rise.
Jaquez’s emergence has garnered the attention of acclaimed NBA writer and podcaster Bill Simmons, who recently revealed a new round of his NBA trade value rankings with Jaquez debuting on the list at No. 60.
"I wouldn’t trade No. 60, Jaime Jaquez, who I’ve talked about many times on this pod. He had a lot of momentum. He was playing like 35 minutes a game. They were running the offense through him. Then he got hurt. Now he’s back. I love him, and I hate that he’s on the Heat. I hate it."- Bill Simmons on the Bill Simmons Podcast
Jaquez’s ability to carve out an essential role on a playoff-contending Heat team is impressive, and it makes sense why a famous Boston Celtics fan like Simmons would hate the idea of the Heat getting another difference-maker.
Things have slowed down for Jaquez recently. After missing six games with a groin injury, he failed to crack double-digit points in his first five games after returning. But Jaquez has scored at least 10 points in two of his last three games. With Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson expected to miss multiple weeks with injuries, Jaquez will get even more of an opportunity to make an impact.
Given how well Jaquez has handled every assignment handed to him so far, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his ranking rise on the next round of Simmons’ trade value rankings.