The Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening Summer League match, 80-78, with some promising performances across the board for Miami.
One thing that should be made clear is the my continued point about the Heat’s known focus coming into this. On their current roster, a back-up point guard is the one major hole, and even though an undrafted guy being put into the role isn’t ideal, it seemed like a good idea to flood the summer league roster with two-way point guards.
The Heat’s biggest performance came from Omer Yurtseven who they know much more about than the other guys, which is exactly where we will kick this off…
After a quick 8-0 start alone, Yurtseven finished the game with 27 points and 19 rebounds. For starters, his length compared to others on the floor was pretty clear, but it was good to see him taking advantage of it.
The offense was being worked through him early, while he sprinkled in some adjusted possessions where he forced a switch in the post and took advantage.
The more important area to highlight was his efficient and smooth shooting from deep, going 3 for 7 from outside the arc. That length that I just touched on gives him quite the advantage when shooting over the top of smaller defenders, but the confidence element is pretty crucial as well.
He looked comfortable out there in that offensive heavy role, but there were definitely some defensive lapses at times. Yurtseven has recognized in the past that he’s going to work on pick and roll coverage and base defensive principles, and some of those raw abilities were seen today.
The other issue was the seven turnovers in this game, but I wouldn’t go too crazy about that due to him being the team’s focal point with a ton of offensive responsibility. Taking care of the ball will probably be the next step, but the natural skill-set of popping out to the perimeter, soft touch down low, and comfort in the mid-range is pretty intriguing to see this early.
Let me start off by saying this: Marcus Garrett is a past defensive player of the year for a reason. Although I can’t fully count out all of the deflections and disruptions caused in clips above, you get the idea.
If you’re trying to imagine a Miami Heat Summer League guard in a general sense, you’d probably be thinking about Garrett’s play-style. Diving on the floor for the ball, fighting over screens, not giving up on plays. He truly is the full package on that end, and there were essentially zero lapses when he was on the floor.
Six steals doesn’t even do my previous points justice, since the amount of ball pressure he can provide is special. While we knew that was the case coming in, the question marks were next to his offensive play-style.
And one thing that must be made clear is that he isn’t afraid to attack the basket right into the body of a defender. Besides that physicality, he’s a very good finisher around the rim, and has a tight handle to create for himself.
As seen in the final clip above, that in and out into a crossover absolutely throws his defender to the side to give him an open lane for a nice reverse. Although Yurtseven was the big story with his monster stat-line, Garrett was probably the most promising.
A personal favorite of mine that was going under the radar was DJ Stewart. A pure scorer who loves to locate inside the arc, and becomes patient when trying to find his comfortable dead spots.
He finished with 11 points on 50% shooting, but I believe there is so much room to expand on that performance. For one, on a team with a ton of point guards, he is put into an odd role.
Stewart is much more of an on-ball scorer than an off-ball scorer, mostly since he relies on his slow pacing to find good shots in the mid-range. His favorite shot has shown to be the elbow pull-up or the elbow turnaround, and he went right to that early on.
As seen above, he searches for that spot, hesitates a bit to freeze the defense, then fires away for the bucket. I honestly believe he has the most upside of the bunch, and that will be seen as these games progress.
When the Heat are looking for two-way contracts to use up, I wouldn’t be shocked if Stewart receives one of them.
In terms of Miami’s point guards in this game, Javonte Smart probably showcased the most point guard qualities. He knocked down 2 triples and scored 10 points, but the efficiency wasn’t great, shooting 3 for 13 from the field.
I will say that his jumper looked a lot smoother than it did when looking over his college career, which is promising for a young player to be making minor tweaks at this stage. A faster trigger was going to be necessary and it seems like he’s adjusted that a bit.
Back to those point guard qualities, he’s a great floor general when it comes to half-court play. You can see him evaluating certain ways they defended the pick and roll, leading to that decisive lob on the roll to Yurtseven.
If the Heat were to put out there best group with the guys that played tonight, Smart would most likely be a part of that group, dribbling the ball down the floor. If the scoring consistency could trend in a positive direction in future games, then I think there may be something there.
The reason that I believe Micah Potter must be touched on in this piece has a lot to do with the general perception of him. To start it off, the stuff we already know about him was reinstated.
He can stretch the floor from three, he’s comfortable in the mid-range on turnarounds, and loves to fill up the interior in the post. Potter did all of those things by scoring 9 points off the bench on 67% shooting, but some of his weaknesses didn’t look as apparent.
Many labeled some of his biggest downfalls occurring on the defensive end, but I actually believe he held his own in that area tonight. I definitely don’t think he will ever be a great perimeter defender, but he contained very well in the pick and roll in drop coverage, and even exploded with a nice block in the clip above.
One reason Miami didn’t go crazy with signing bigs is that they aren’t looking to develop them anymore, but secondly, they’re comfortable with the two they have on this team. Potter will only grow and improve with the more games he plays in this environment, and I’ve been impressed already.
Usually bigs like that all carry the same traits, but his added mobility compared to others feels like it sets him apart from the rest.
The final guy that should be discussed here is Dru Smith. He was a late add to the roster, but he ended up getting the start in the game tonight.
I’ve touched on certain things that players did best tonight, and that adjective for Smith was comfort. He looked like one of the most ready players on the floor tonight, which is more important than some may think.
He scored 11 points on 50% shooting, while also throwing in 4 assists and 2 steals. Smith was basically a mixture of a few of the guards I talked about previously.
He was very calm as a passer, fluid as a shooter, and hounding as a defender. If I’m going to be honest, the immediate on-ball defensive impact was not my expectation of his play-style, but he really showed that tonight.
He seems like a trusted player who has a much higher floor than others on this team. Sometimes a safe bet is a very positive thing when trying to prove yourself in Summer League, and he’s shown a bit of that in just one game.
An expanded version of that play-style with some extra hard drives to the basket to score can truly get some extra eyes on him.
Many of Miami’s players had some positive flashes, but the next step will be seeing if there can be some sense of consistency. And working in some guys like Gabe Vincent and Max Strus will only make those other players easier to pick out.
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