Jaime Jáquez Jr.: The Unexpected Contender for NBA Rookie of the Year

Jaime Jáquez Jr.: The Unexpected Contender for NBA Rookie of the Year

The individual awards of the NBA They are often the subject of debate and controversy. You could even say that it is part of their role, since at the end of the day it is about hours of content and attention on the league. However, there are times when these awards seem decided in advance. In a way, it was the case with the award for the best rookie of the year 2023/24. Victor Wembanyama, the French unicorn for whom the North American competition had been patiently waiting for several years, could practically only lose him. It remains to be seen if that happens, although unexpected competition has arisen along the way.

There are few franchises with a better eye for finding talent than the Miami Heat. This is the only way to explain why in the 2022/23 season they reached the NBA Finals despite having to play in the Play-In for having placed seventh in the East during the regular season. In recent years, Those from Florida have chosen several of their key players without having excessively high draft picks. These are the cases, for example, of Bam Adebayo (number 14 in the 2017 draft), Tyler Herro (number 13 in 2019) or Duncan Robinson (undrafted). Also from players who have been important at one time or another like Gabe Vincent or Max Strus (both also undrafted). The latest success story is the election of Jaime Jáquez Jr.

Who is Jaime Jáquez Jr.

Jaime Jáquez Jr. is a rookie forward for the Miami Heat who was selected in position 18 in the 2023 draft.. He was a player relatively unknown to the general public, but who has progressively become the ideal squire for Jimmy Butler, Adebayo and company. To the point that in the so-called rookie ladder, the official ranking that the NBA makes to assess the race for the best rookie of the year award, he has slipped into the privileged positions. Rubbing shoulders with the two favorites for the final victory: Wembanyama and Chet Holmgren.

The summer of 2023 seemed key for the Heat’s future. After reaching the Finals, The management led by the legendary Pat Riley was expected to make an important move in the transfer market, with Damian Lillard being the main one. However, that operation did not happen, Dame left for Milwaukee and the Miami squad remained unchanged in its key pieces. At least in appearance.

Thanks to his maturity in key moments, Miami has given Jáquez the extra it needed to not fall from the top positions in the East. Noted actions, such as 31 points he scored on Christmas Day, when all eyes are on the NBA during his star day, shows that the big spotlights do not dazzle him. In part, because This is not an archetypal rookie.. At least, not what rookies have become for some time now.

The teams he has played for

Triple J, as he is nicknamed by his initials, is not a typical rookie. Above all because His career prior to the best league in the world has more to do with the training period of a classic player, than with the path that the young promises follow today. In this days, The trend is that the players with the greatest projection barely spend a year in the university league and by obligation. The so-called one and done. In fact, more and more people are opting to skip that step, with professional alternatives such as the Ignite of the G-League, where, for example, the Spanish Izán Almansa plays.

Jáquez, however, followed a logical progression within American youth basketball. The Mexican was a star at Camarillo High Schoolwith which he averaged 31.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in his final year, before being recruited by the most prestigious university in his area: the legendary UCLA. In the Bruins uniform completed the complete four-year cycle, increasing its figures season by season. In his senior year, he averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 sacks per night. Numbers that caught the attention of the Heat, who at number 18 did not let him pass any further.

How Jaime Jáquez Jr. plays

Despite being voted the best player in the PAC 12 in his last year of college, the truth is that There were doubts about the position in which Jáquez would be chosen in the NBA draft. The lottery spots, the first 14, seemed closed for him. However, the second round seemed too little reward for a player with such an outstanding career in the NCAA as his. Furthermore, unlike what happens with some college basketball stars, His physical attributes, two meters tall for the forward position, seemed to be able to transfer without problems to the professional context..

Fundamentally, Jáquez is a very intense player. An energy that also contributes on both sides of the court. Not in vain, during his time in college basketball he was chosen in the best defensive quintet of the PAC 12. This quality has led him to not notice a special jump to NBA basketball, where his physical performance is tremendously important. ANDIn attack, he is also a player who, despite his size, is capable of handling the ball and, above all, of posting in the vicinity of the rim. In fact, many of his baskets come through cuts or drives to the basket, with or without the ball.

For a forward like him, maybe His main room for improvement is in the triple throw. Although he does not shoot with bad percentages, the truth is that three-point shots It is not a luck in which one lavishes especially. Something that, taking into account that the game is increasingly oriented towards opening the field, can be a bit anachronistic and, therefore, work against it.

The family origins and nationality of Jaime Jáquez Jr.

Beyond his sporting impact, Jáquez’s social importance in American basketball is undeniable. After all, He is the first player of Mexican descent with enough potential to become an NBA star.. Although there have been other Mexican players in the best league in the world, Eduardo Nájera being the most notable to date, the truth is that none has managed to leave an excessively deep mark on the competition. Taking into account the size of the Mexican community in the United States, having a successful representative is a major issue.

Jaime Jáquez was born on February 18, 2001 in Irvine, California. He was born, therefore, on American soil. In fact, so did his parents, both of whom were basketball players. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the family origins of Triple J in Mexico date back to 1926, when Ezequiel and Lucía Jáquez emigrated north of the border in search of a better future. Together They would have three children, among them Ezequiel Jr., ultimately the grandfather of the current Heat player..

With Ezequiel Jr., the tradition that has united the family with the sport of basket would also begin.. He was a standout high school player, where he also played other sports. Later, he married Gloria Jáquez, a Mexican immigrant with roots in Guadalajara. Together they had three children, including Jaime Jáquez Sr.. The former UCLA’s father also chose basketball as a sport, eventually playing for Concordia University. In that institution he met Ángela, star of the women’s basketball team and with whom he would have three children: Jaime, Gloria and Marcos.. With a background like that, the forward’s good work on the parquet was almost a matter of genetics.

Despite being what would be known as a fourth-generation immigrant, in the North American press it is common to read that Jaime Jáquez is referred to as Mexican.. This is because of his cultural heritage, since he has Mexican nationality, but also because the player’s decision to be called up with Mexico. When she was only 19 years old, The former UCLA student decided to play in the 2019 Pan American Games with the Aztec team. “I love representing a country and also representing a culture of something bigger than myself,” she said then.

Javier Mercadal, a native of Zaragoza, graduated in Journalism from the San Jorge University. He took his first steps in the Heraldo de Aragón, covering information about Real Zaragoza and frequently collaborating with various media such as Aragón Radio, almost always talking about basketball. He lived for several years in the United Kingdom, where he studied a master’s degree in Sports Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and served as editor and content coordinator at Yahoo Sports, before returning to Spain and beginning to collaborate as a football and sports content creator. for Relay. …

2024-01-03 17:42:19
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