Breaking Down Heat’s Summer League Day 2
The Miami Heat played their second game of Summer League in Sacramento last night, and some lineups looked a little different. For one, recently signed Max Strus was the headliner for this one, while guys who shined on day 1, like Marcus Garrett, immediately jumped into the starting group.
Omer Yurtseven is another guy that turned heads once again, since it basically appeared he wasn’t on the same level with opposing bigs in this environment. Skill-set, size, and much more seemed to set him apart.
So, let’s jump immediately into the main storylines of this game for Miami, looking into the film of guys who are in reach of a two-way contract on the Heat’s roster…
Catch and Shoot Dominance
Although I’ll touch on the emerging parts of Strus’ game next, we must start with the attribute that basically got him on a Heat roster in the first place: the dude can really shoot the ball.
Looking at the offense Miami was running last night, it looked like they were putting him in a lot of positions that they do Duncan Robinson, and this is not to just compare the two shooters for Miami. They’re testing to see how he can run off pin-downs and screens, his mechanics off the hand-off, and his range beyond the arc.
All of that flourished in this game, and more importantly, he looked comfortable in every area. When looking at the clips above, you’ll notice something interesting about his three-point jumper: every shot looks the same. Good shooters have a way to keep the same form, lift, and follow through on every shot, and that has been the case with Strus since joining.
The Heat have shown a real liking to him, due to his overall skill-set and dedicated ways that he goes about his body of work, and it feels like that will grow even more. In the Heat’s current state, it isn’t crazy to say Strus could be on his way to getting some solid bench minutes this season, and it feels like Coach Spo and the team wouldn’t bat an eye at that notion.
The other part of Strus’ game that we haven’t seen much of is his on-ball skills. In Miami last season, he was given a role to just come off of screens or shoot over the top of defenders off the catch, and he has said many times in the past he will do exactly what the team tells him to do.
Much like Miami did with Robinson in Summer League a few years ago, they’re letting Strus roam freely on offense with the ball in his hands, just doing a little bit of trial and error with his offensive attributes.
Last season, we saw moments where he would fly down the lane to go dunk on somebody, but I’ve been curious what he’d look like running half-court sets. And after seeing him run some PnR’s for the first time yesterday, I am pleasantly surprised.
He’s capable of making simple reads in those spots, he can flow downhill to take contact instead of avoid it, and being a deep-ball threat makes him much more effective on the attack in this space. Do I see him being on the ball in a Miami Heat role this upcoming season? Definitely not, but some versatility in his youthful game will be something to monitor.
Omer Yurtseven had another strong offensive display on Wednesday night, and one part of his game has continued to look like a focal point. Of course he has added length on most of his match-ups, but he has a good eye for noticing the switches and taking advantage of them.
If a switch is forced, he immediately closes out the defender for the entry pass, and goes to work. Drop-steps for dunks, nice-looking post-hooks, or fadeaway jumpers. His bag has been endless so far down there, but mostly due to the fact that his soft touch allows him to be effective in many areas of his game.
To look into the specifics, he has a go-to move that basically gets him into a certain rhythm down there. He uses his initial shoulder bump to back his defender down, before shifting in the other direction for a floater type shot.
By the way, he’s not shifting in the other direction in a turnaround manner. He’s going through that motion on the face-up to really maximize space. There is some curiosity to his game if it will translate to guys his size down there, but the ability that I will dive into next makes me think it definitely will.
Pick and Pop or Pick and Roll?
Once Yurtseven really masters the art of screening, I believe his offensive utilization can go in so many different directions. In these games, he is such a threat when he is in the action, since his length and rolling gravity leads to a clear lob opportunity as seen in the clips above, while popping out to the three-point line is just second nature to him.
He continues to shoot the ball well from deep, which is good to see him comfortably shooting over the top of smaller guys even when a hand is in his face. His high release point means that it’s a very hard shot to alter, while a big man defending it leads to a clear run-way for him to try and go for the drive-by.
When people are thinking into the future with Yurtseven, there’s no doubt that he would be able to play next to Adebayo. He’s not the greatest defender, but his length means that he can accumulate blocks down low while Adebayo roams the perimeter.
The spacing clearly wouldn’t be a problem, and he doesn’t fill up the same spots as Adebayo offensively. There would be opportunities for plenty of 4-5 PnR’s, due to Adebayo’s effectiveness off the dribble and Yurtseven’s choice between popping or rolling, as stated previously.
There’s no doubt that he is a special talent, but eyes are now turning toward the Heat to make sure they lock him up so they can see where it goes from here.
Two-Way Play Flashes
The reason the title of the Marcus Garrett section is “two-way play,” is due to his high level defensive antics and current placing in line to receive a two-way contract with Miami.
While the Yurtseven situation is pretty much a given for a two-way, Garrett is the type of player they like to grab early and see where it can possibly go. But if I’m going to be honest, when comparing him to past products that were similar, I don’t think any of them were as sound defensively as Garrett.
Outstanding ball pressure, quick hands to rack up constant steals, fights over screens, and just can’t be beat off the bounce. That’s a guy the Heat would definitely like to move up a tier on the roster, but some questions have come up if he really is a “two-way” player.
What I mean by that is his offensive skill-set was worrisome coming in, but he has had more flashes than I originally expected. Aside from the constant fast-break points after he picks someone’s pocket, he’s a pretty consistent finisher in the half-court.
And as seen in the first clip above, as physical and gritty that he is defensively, he brings that same fire on offense. Charging toward the basket and embracing contact for hard finishes screams Miami Heat player, and it’s going to take some big time performances from other guys on this roster to beat out Garrett for that spot.
Point Guard Duties
Lastly, I dove into all of the top Heat performances in Summer League in my last piece, but one guy I didn’t get to was Tyson Carter. The reason for that was he did not have a great first game with the team, and that got cleared up a bit after yesterday’s game.
After a very strong game from Carter against the Warriors, I asked summer league coach Malik Allen about his ability to run the offense so smoothly at this point. He responded with the things he liked from him in that game, adding in that he was one of the last guys added to the roster, and was basically thrown into the fire in the first game.
Well, he turned his stock around after his 11 point performance on 67% shooting, while dishing out 5 assists as well. Out of all the point guards on this team, Carter looked the most under control and trustworthy on the floor.
He’s a very special passer with great court vision in the half-court, can shoot the three at a decent clip, and got to the rim whenever he chose out of the pick and roll. I wouldn’t be shocked if they move Carter up to starting point guard next game now that he is caught up a bit, and I think it’s somebody we will need to keep track of.
I’d say Yurtseven and Garrett are the two front-runners for the two-way spots, while Carter and DJ Stewart are somewhere in the background, one push away from being in that category.
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