Miami’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. is thriving as a rookie for the Heat in 2023-24

Jaime Jaquez Jr. heat pic
Jaime Jaquez Jr. heat pic

In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Heat had the 18th overall pick. With their selection, the Heat drafted Jaime Jaquez Jr. out of UCLA. The 22-year-old has adjusted quickly to the NBA and has made the most of his playing time. He’s appeared in all 18 games this season and has made four starts. 

Victor Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren are quickly climbing the ranks as the top rookies this season. However, Jacquez Jr. can’t be too far behind with how well he’s played. He’s playing (26.2) minutes per game this season and has been a key piece off the bench for head coach Erik Spoelstra. Miami seems to have struck gold with drafting Jaquez and his potential to be a future all-star is undeniable.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. is one of the best rookies in the NBA this season

Unlike most players who enter the NBA Draft, Jaime Jaquez played four years of college basketball. Players are allowed to declare for the draft after one collegiate season. Jaquez Jr. was more polished coming into the league at 22, compared to some rookies who are still teenagers. In his final season at UCLA, Jaquez averaged (17.8) points, (8.2) rebounds, (2.4) assists, and (1.2) steals per game.

As a rookie for the Heat, he’s averaging (11.3) points, (3.8) rebounds, (2.6) assists, and (1.1) steals per game. Additionally, his three-point percentage is (.393) through Miami’s first 18 games of the season. At six-foot-six, Jaquez is a bigger guard who can also play SF. He does a little bit of everything for the Heat and could be a starter at some point down the line.

This season, the Heat have used 12 different starting lineups in 18 games. Injuries have hurt them early on, but Jaquez has played in every game this season. That’s given the rookie a chance to play increased minutes and earn a bigger role. So far, the Heat have to be thrilled with the production they’re getting from Jaquez.

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