The Miami Heat will need their returning players to step up even more next season. Here are three things for Derrick Jones Jr. in the short offseason.
With the Miami Heat season and the NBA Finals in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look at what improvements everyone on the Heat roster can make before the start of next season. Today, we’ll be taking a look at Derrick Jones Jr., aka Mr. Slam Dunk Champ.
While Derrick’s highlight dunks can bring a tear to anyone’s eye, there are still holes in his game. Let’s take a look at how three minor improvements could make or break DJJ’s 2020-2021 season, especially if that’s in a Miami Heat uniform.
1. WEIGHT GAIN
Plain and simple, DJJ needs to put on more weight. If he had his jersey tucked in the whole time, a slight breeze could make Derrick blow away like he was a kite.
Part of the reason that Jones Jr. didn’t get a lot of run in the playoffs was he would get punished by bigger dudes down low. In fact, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that he lost 7 pounds between the start of the season and restart, a literal influence on his lack of court time down the stretch.
With the season most likely starting in a few weeks, gaining weight is going to be tough, especially for someone like Jones Jr. who has had a hard time gaining weight at all. However, even if it’s just ten or fifteen pounds, that would make a huge difference.
The Miami Heat will need more from Derrick Jones Jr. if he wants to stay in the rotation going forward. Here are three things the free agent can work on.
2. THREE-POINT SHOOTING
The NBA has often been described as a make or miss league. I tend to subscribe to this sort of thinking, especially with the evolution of the three-point shot.
Shooting is critical for every team, which is why DJJ shooting 28 percent from beyond the arc just isn’t acceptable anymore. If you’re going to shoot that low, you have to make up for it by being special in other places, I.E. Draymond Green with the Warriors or even prime Andre Iguodala.
Special doesn’t mean dunking really well, which we all know Derrick can do. I fear that if his shooting doesn’t improve, he will lose playing time and be stuck on the bench permanently.
This kind of goes along with the shooting, meaning if you can’t shoot, you better be able to bring something else to the floor. DJJ averages barely an assist per game.
Now in a bench role, I’m not going to kill guys for that, but it would help his case for playing time if he can learn to be a better distributor.
There’s no doubt that Derrick Jones Jr. is talented. From highlight dunks to terrific blocks on the defensive end of the floor, he’s everything you could want out of a role player.
But, with the emergence of Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and with rumors of Chris Silva and KZ Okpala improving over the offseason, DJJ will need to get better over the coming months if he still wants to be a contributor off the bench for this Heat squad.