If you want to see the good guy succeed at All-Star Weekend, root for Heat forward James Jones to win the Three-Point Contest at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. He’s as good as they come.
While most NBA players can tell you about the latest music video, TV show, movie or video game, Jones, the Heat’s union representative, couldn’t name many of those trends unless it’s something he shares with his wife, Destiny, or three kids, son J.D., and daughters Jadynn and Jody. There’s never a mistake about his priorities.
Whether he’s speaking matter-of-factly about frugal living (he sees no need for a three- or four-car garage, or owning three or four cars, for that matter) or casually chatting about injuries (he’s missed 127 games because of those), Jones is always interesting.
Jones’ appearance in the Three-Point Contest marks the seventh time the Heat have had an entry. The mild-mannered Jones joins Jon Sundvold (1989, ’90), Glen Rice (1991, ’95), Jason Kapono (2007) and Daequan Cook (2009, ’10).
Rice won it in 1995, Kapono won it in 2007, and Cook won it in 2009. Jones could become the fourth Heat shooter to win the title.
Jones (.423) is tied for 23rd in the NBA in three-point percentage. His 93 three-pointers made are tied for 15th. For the season he’s attempted 259 shots; 220 of those (85 percent) are three-pointers.
Jones, you’ll recall, is a local kid, having attended American High School and then the University of Miami, where he was a four-time All-Big East Academic selection and an Academic All-American as a senior. A second-round pick by Indiana in 2003, Jones spent two years with the Pacers, two with Phoenix and one with Portland, where he tied for third in the NBA in three-point percentage (career-best .444).
He joined the Heat in the 2008-09 season, but wrist injuries have limited him to just 76 games the previous two years. Jones took a contract buyout from the Heat during the summer and was so frustrated that he first contemplated retirement, and then signing with Boston.
That’s when Heat forward Udonis Haslem, a fellow local who attended Miami Senior High, intervened. Haslem has known Jones since they were both in junior high. He persuaded Jones to re-sign with the Heat.
Jones’ minutes have been reduced a bit recently because of the strong play of fellow reserves Eddie House and Mike Miller, but Jones has a chance to make a statement in Saturday’s Three-Point Contest.
If you like to see good guys win, you’ll root for Jones.