This has been a rather interesting season for the entire NBA, but it has felt like Miami’s been paving their own path from the rest of the league all season.
While the rest of the teams are dealing with a revolving door of guys entering the health and safety protocols, the Heat’s issues have been strictly injury based. Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Markieff Morris, and Dewayne Dedmon have all dealt with those issues first hand.
Caleb Martin entered the protocols a few weeks ago, and it took him about 18 days to get back up and running with the Heat again, which was just 4 days ago. Now, the Heat have had a flurry of others enter those protocols this week. Kyle Lowry, Udonis Haslem, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, Tucker, and Zylan Cheatham.
That means Miami has some 10 day availabilities wide open over this short period of time, while Wednesday’s game vs San Antonio was postponed as they didn’t meet the required threshold of guys available to play.
So, after Miami signed 3 different guys to 10 day contracts, let’s take a look through what they can possibly provide, since playing time will most likely be provided in these odd circumstances…
Aric Holman is the perfect place to start in this one, since frankly, he’s the most intriguing of the bunch.
Miami picking him up may have been a bit more forced than the others, since they did it due to the fact he was in “driving distance” from San Antonio, but could Miami have lucked out?
Most of the time when picking up guys for a week and a half, as others land in protocols, veterans and experience are the way to go, especially on good teams. They just need immediate production over a “high ceiling,” or long term project.
But while Holman’s bag may be broad, he has the build to contribute at this point in time.
He’s a 6 foot 10 big, who has the body control and play-style of a guard. Holman is mostly a pop threat, after shooting 44% and 43% in his last two seasons at Mississippi State respectively, but those numbers have slightly fallen off a bit recently in the G-League.
Looking at the clips above, once again, it’s intriguing. Running the offense from the right wing as a drive and kick threat, while others set him the screens instead of the other way around. He slips the screen into the corner and knocks down the slightly contested triple. But when evaluating guys with that size and length, most shots are essentially uncontested.
He also has a bit of a handle, which elevates his guard-like play even more. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: how has a 6 foot 10 shooter who can put the ball on the deck not been picked up until this point? Well, like any young player, some weaknesses are attached as well.
The tag that continues to label him is that he’s not the greatest defender, and that is clearly from a team perspective. His shot-blocking ability is up there, and he can rebound at a very good level, so that’ll be something to keep an eye on.
Another point to be made is that he will be utilized in the exact opposite way that Omer Yurtseven has been used this season. After seeing Yurtseven mix it up from rolling to popping in Summer League, we’ve seen that simplify down totally to quick dives and post-play.
With Holman, post play wouldn’t even seem to be possible. He will strictly be a pop-out shooter, and maybe he can provide something as that wing spacer over this next stretch.
When Kyle Guy was signed late Tuesday night, many felt it was just the “Strus replacer,” after he entered the protocols literally minutes before the game against the Washington Wizards. But when I saw this pick-up, my initial thought was more guards will be entering the protocols pretty soon.
And well, that was the case with Vincent after he rapid tested before the trip out to San Antonio.
No, Kyle Guy is not the Vincent replacer since their games are nothing alike, but he is a guy who has plenty of basketball experience and can provide something offensively as a potential spacer and plug and play “guy.”
During his 3 years in college, Guy shot 50% from three on 3 attempts, 39% from three on 6 attempts, and 43% from deep on 7 and a half attempts. Clearly, he has a shooting resume, which although didn’t work out too well in Sacramento, has picked right back up in the G-League.
The interesting thing about future lineups moving forward is that I would continue to expect Tyler Herro to come off the bench. With Lowry expected to return Friday, and Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson expected to be healthy, everybody should stay where they are.
But with Guy possibly stepping in for Vincent and Strus, that means he will be playing next to Herro instead of for him. I do think Guy has a better handle and control for the offense than people give him credit for, but will that fully translate over from G-League to the NBA level?
I believe so, since much of the league right now *is* G-league talent.
It’s pretty simple with Kyle Guy: provide some shooting when called upon, and everything else will work out around it. This is no longer Martin or Strus trying to will this team to victories with guys out. Miami will have Lowry, Butler, and Herro to do the heavy lifting, so all that is needed is some complementary skills.
And Guy can actually fill that void pretty well in the role I envision they place him in.
Haywood Highsmith just reminds me of a Miami Heat 10 day contract guy, and no, not because of his block on Dwyane Wade’s self lob in the game against Philly.
For one, his overall build fits the Heat’s past. Guys that play bigger than they are, thrive on physicality and athleticism, and just compete on both ends really hard. That’s pretty much my evaluation of Highsmith when looking over his game.
Highsmith is just one of those guys that’ll be everywhere on the floor in these G-League games. Under the rim for unexpected offensive rebounds and put-backs, active defensively, and well, he’s been shooting the ball a lot better as of late.
Over his 12 G-League games this season, he’s shooting 39% from deep on 6 attempts a game. In a Heat offense, what would be his offensive role? Well, just think of PJ Tucker lite.
He’s a bit lengthier than Tucker overall, but as I said, you wouldn’t think he’s only 6 foot 7 when watching him play. But when I bring up Tucker, I mean that his role would be strictly corner spacing, some screen & rolling, hand-offs on the wing, and plenty of dunker spot reps.
Yeah, the Tucker role.
Obviously they wouldn’t put anything close to the amount Miami puts on Tucker’s plate, but they just need a guy who can kind of fill his spots on the floor, just as a body that can pull stuff away from the on-ball action.
The Kyle Guy pick-up felt like the best option for their current needs with Vincent and Strus out.
The Aric Holman pick-up felt like “no risk, high reward,” just with the amount of talent he seems to have.
The Haywood Highsmith pick-up felt like a guy they’ve been eyeing. Obviously that’s just pure speculation, but between his player build and his name coming out of left field in many ways, this may be the guy that sticks the longest.
And by that, I mean possibly a second 10-day if he plays well, or they could circle back down the line whenever their roster spots open up.
Either way, these guys will get their opportunity in this day-by-day league. Next game is Friday night against Houston, and we have no idea who will be available. But these guys will be ready to showcase themselves either way.
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