The Miami Heat’s second two-way slot has been a hot topic recently as the off-season continues to wind down, and according to Shams of the Athletic, the Heat are signing Caleb Martin to that spot.
For starters, I wouldn’t say it’s a huge surprise that Miami looked outside of their Summer League bubble, but I will say I wasn’t expecting this name to pop up as an option. When I’ve been addressing this spot, I have been pretty consistent that Miami has a specific player type in mind: a pure scorer.
That is why among the Exhibit 10 contracts given to some on Miami’s Summer League roster, DJ Stewart made the most sense. After adding Marcus Garrett on the first two-way, a bucket getter who can produce right now was going to be the focus.
And well, that description fits Caleb Martin.
Usually when I breakdown the games of certain players that Miami signs, there are a bunch of avenues to navigate through. But with this specific player and spot, the role and play-style is simple.
So, let’s hop right into what this utilization would look like…
An Outside Shooting Role?
As I said before, Caleb Martin is a pure scorer. But more importantly, he’s an experienced scorer. He will be turning 26 years old in exactly two weeks, meaning the full college experience and two years in the league is exactly the type of guy Miami was looking for to use right away.
Now, as we immediately look at his offensive structure, it’s always important to start with outside shooting. There’s something interesting when you look at the clips above.
Do you notice anything weird? Well, I do. It’s a bunch of possessions where he *made* that outside shot.
I wouldn’t say he’s the most efficient outside shooter, after shooting 25% from three this past season, but they really don’t need him to be. In that two-way spot, he will be a spark scorer. A guy they can throw in the mix early in the season before Victor Oladipo returns. The Gabe Vincent role of last season with much more experience under his belt.
Even thought those shooting inconsistencies are clear, he did shoot 54% from three on a similar number of attempts his rookie season. He’s not known for really being a catch and shoot player, but he did shoot 63% on spot-up threes his rookie year on 1.7 attempts.
The point is that it’s in there somewhere. It’s not always about the outside shot, but when discussing a pure scorer, that ability must be in there.
The worst combination with those type of scorers is inconsistencies and turnover problems, but Martin has always been pretty comfortable and confident as a ball controller. You can trust him in certain sets due to his viable passing ability, while mostly he will be outside the action for a potential curl into a drive/pull-up.
And well, that’s what I will dive into next, as the overarching point to his offensive skill.
Isolation, Isolation, and More Isolation
When I’ve brought up the point about Miami adding a scoring wing, I didn’t mean a Max Strus type who can just shoot the ball at a high level. On this team, that spot had to be filled by a guy who can create for himself when the team needs that “spark.”
And after watching Martin quite a bit in college and seeing his usage in Charlotte, I see a ton of potential in his self creation when the team needs it. In the big picture, Martin-Herro minutes might be tough just due to them probably getting in each other’s way at times on the floor, but he can be a Herro filler if injuries were to occur.
As seen in the first two clips above, Martin’s a guy that can come off a screen or curl and get to the basket with ease. He’s a pretty solid finisher when he gets a head of steam. Bouncy, good touch, and isn’t afraid to take it into the defenders chest.
And while the stuff in offensive actions/including a screen may look pretty, the isolation aspect is what makes me comfortable with the acquisition.
Looking at the final two clips above, I see a guy with a decently quick first step and can blow past positive defenders without a screen. Those type of things speak volume.
A corner cross-over, blow-by, bump, and finish over two defenders isn’t something to overlook. His all-around package isn’t incredibly broad by any means, but his scoring package can be used in a variety of ways.
In many ways, they added the anti-Marcus Garrett. As I’ve stated many times in the past, while Garrett’s offense may be in question, his defensive capabilities are so impressive that he can be used in a multitude of ways. Baseline to baseline pressing, battling through screens with ease, off-ball excellence with doubling.
That’s how I feel about Martin on the offensive end as a two-way. Forget past usage or being cut by the Charlotte Hornets, he has a ton of offensive potential to be used right now when they need him.
As I’ve continued to say: high floor, high floor, high floor. And that’s my final takeaway of Martin’s game. He can do the things that Coach Spoelstra asks of him, and he’s not a long term project. If they need a system player who can put some points on the board in a time of need, he’s their guy.
Obviously we aren’t evaluating all-stars when talking about final two-way spots, but in this case, they got incredible value for what they’re trying to do. Now heading into training camp in two weeks, they can figure out his game at a deeper level for when the time comes for him to enter.
And my guess is that time isn’t very far away.
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