Ray Allen’s pregame routine is well-documented, but he’s not the only player who arrives to arenas hours before games to fine-tune his outside shooting. James Jones is on the Heat’s so-called “early bus” as well, even though most nights Jones knows he’s probably not going to play. Jones’ preparation and extra practice hours despite normally being buried on the Heat’s depth chart has earned him a level of respect among his teammates and the team’s coaching staff that is akin to reverence. That’s why when Jones’ three-pointers started dropping against the Magic on Wednesday, the Heat’s bench reacted so dramatically. Jones had four three-pointers in the third quarter of the Heat’s 120-92 victory at Amway Center and as each attempt arced through the air, Jones’ teammates watching from the far sideline rose out of their chairs with excitement. Jones’ positive attitude toward his playing time and role on the team represents an important yet underappreciated aspect of the Heat’s long-term success, team chemistry and overall stability. Erik Spoelstra constantly preaches “sacrifice,” and Jones is the gold standard of that credo. So, when he makes a three-pointer in a game, considering all those thousands of shots his takes in practice, his teammates kind of overreact with their courtside celebrations. “We have a lot of professionals in that locker room, but J.J. could probably write the textbook on professionalism and keeping yourself ready, embracing a role and playing that role really as well as everyone in this league,” Spoelstra said. “He is mentally tough.” Jones wasn’t always so resolute. He struggled internally with his limited role in the beginning, but that frustration never showed. For that, he has always been a leader in the Heat’s locker room. Every offseason since 2010, the Heat has added an outsider shooter and every time that player — Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Michael Beasley — has stepped ahead of Jones in the rotation.
Miami Heat reserve James Jones always ready to play
Miami Herald | Nov 22