How former Phoenix Suns players will impact NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Derrick Jones Jr. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Derrick Jones Jr. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Former Phoenix Suns players in the Finals: Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat

Jones, a hyper-athletic forward, made the Suns as an undrafted free agent in 2016, splitting his time between the main roster and the Suns’ soon-to-be-former G-League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. Then, he was more noted for his 2017 dunk contest appearance as opposed to what he did on the court. Jones was released in 2017, and the Miami Heat signed him to a two-way contract.

There, in Miami, Jones continued to keep his NBA career alive. Jones won 2020’s NBA dunk contest before the world changed forever.

Now, Jones has earned spot minutes during these playoffs. Jones has impressed as a lengthy, versatile defender who fits Miami’s switch-heavy scheme. Jones was also the ideal choice to play on the top left side of their inverted 2/3 zone. As a lefty, Jones can sprint down the court and finish with his strong hand.

That was theoretical. The actual is far less encouraging: an ankle injury may sideline him from the rotation, which is unfortunate. Jones really is an excellent defender and gave Miami some strong minutes coming off the bench.

Jones has even shown some nice shooting touch (44.4 percent from 3-point range, albeit on less than one attempt per game). However, he is lost in the shuffle with Andre Iguodala now being ready to go.

Keep an eye on him. I think he’ll have a long NBA career.