During his first two years with the Heat, injuries limited James Jones to playing a total of 76 games. In those games he averaged just under 15 minutes a game and made a total of 70 three-pointers, hitting them 37% of the time. This was coming from a guy who hadn't made less then 90 triples in a season over the three previous years, when he made 91, 90 and 110.
When Jones came to Miami those were the kind of numbers that he was expected to put up. He passed up offers from other teams so that he could come home to South Florida and play for his hometown Heat, and the timing seemed perfect. He was coming off a season in which he shot a career best 44% from downtown while Miami was fresh off of a 15-win season in which they hit just 36% of their 3-pointers as a team.
After two years though, it looks like the Heat are finally getting the guy they had hoped for when signing Jones to a 5-year deal. Not only has he played in all 48 games this season, but this could very well end up being the best year of his career. His overall consistency has solidified him in Erik Spoelstra's rotation and there is no reason to believe that his minutes are going to be in question.
Jones is on pace to shatter his previous career high in 3-pointers made and possibly shoot better then ever as well. Back in 2005-06 he made a career-high 110 triples for the Phoenix Suns, then two years later he hit 91 shots from downtown, shooting 44.4% from beyond the arc and 43.7% from the field for Portland. Those both stand for the best shooting percentages he's had in the NBA.
This season he has already made 88 triples and is shooting 42.7% from the field and 42.9% from beyond the arc. While playing in every single game for the Heat this year there has only been 7 in which he didn't have a trey, and each of those games he played well below his average of 22 minutes.
It's already difficult to stand out when your on a team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, so its no surprise that we haven't heard a ton about Jones' success. It isn't like he's going out there and having monster games either. Only four times this year has he hit 5 or more shots from downtown, but the key is that he has consistently been making triples on a gamely basis for the Heat.
Beyond his shot making, Jones provides solid defense is very good at taking care of the rock. He has turned the ball over just 12 times this season which is another thing on pace for a career high, or in this case a career low. He also has a chance to beat his best numbers in assists and steals. It's amazing that he can be having such a great season and still quietly fly under the radar.
If his start to 2011 is any indication of the way he is going to finish out the season then he is absolutely having the best year season of his career. In the 14 games since the calendar flipped over, Jones has shot 43.8% from the field and 46.3% from downtown, drilling 25 triples. Whether he gets attention from anyone outside of the Heat organization or not, I'm sure that Coach Spo and his staff are well aware of what J.J. is doing this season and should continue to plug him into the lineup on a gamely basis.