A few weeks ago, Derrick Jones Jr. won the Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend 2020 thanks in large part to his unbelievable athleticism — though Aaron Gordon will tell you incompetent judges also played a part. On Wednesday night, there was no debate or controversy about the show he put on.
Late in the first quarter of the Miami Heat’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jones dove to the rim and extended way out to catch and throw down an alley-oop from Goran Dragic. It was a sick finish, and most of the time, it would have been a candidate for the play of the game. But with Jones, there’s always the potential for something even better, and he delivered in the fourth quarter.
Once again, he was running a pick-and-roll with Dragic, and once again he had to adjust his body in mid-air to make the play. Except this time he couldn’t quite complete the alley-oop — at least not for a slam. No matter, because what he did instead was even cooler. Hanging in mid-air after he jumped too early for Dragic’s lob, he somehow managed to reach out his left hand and tip the ball in off the glass. And all while being spun around like a top due to a bump from Jarrett Culver.
To be honest, you might just have to watch this one to really understand what happened.
Even though this one wasn’t a slam, it was fitting that just like in the Dunk Contest, you needed the slow motion view to really appreciate what he pulled off. Live, you could tell it was incredible, but it happened too fast to completely understand. But when you slow it down, the combination of athleticism, coordination and concentration is crystal clear.
A bit ironic that Jones’ best alley-oop of the season wasn’t even a dunk, but we’re not complaining, because that was incredible.