Miami rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been making his mark in the NBA this season and even though he attended UCLA, it was a relief he wasn’t drafted to the Lakers, he says.
The Heat ended up drafting Jaquez at number 18 overall in the draft, one pick after the Lakers’ Jalen Hood-Schifino.
Jaquez is as LA as they come, as he was born in Irvine and grew up in Camarillo, plus played four years of college basketball at UCLA.
Some would say it would have made perfect sense for the young star to don the purple and gold, but he’s actually glad the Lakers didn’t pick him.
“I wanted to get away,” Jaquez Jr. told The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I think, for myself, I thought it was important for me to be able to go out of my comfort zone and experience something new.
“I didn’t want to be a guy that said, ‘Oh, I just stayed in Southern California all my life. I wanted to go live in a different, new place. And that’s why I was very excited to go to Miami.
“It was new. Everyone compares it, but I think it’s very, very different.”
Lakers fans will get to see what they missed out on as Jaquez and the rest of the Miami squad will descend upon Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday night.
So far this season, the 22-year-old is averaging 13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steal per game on 50.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent from three.
He has stepped up plenty of times in the absence of key Heat players and had a breakout game on Christmas Day, where he became just the fifth rookie in NBA history to record at least 30 points and ten rebounds on Christmas behind Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Walt Bellamy, and Patrick Ewing.