Well, as I previewed throughout the week, the Heat’s impact on draft night was not going to come between picks 1 and 60. It was actually in the undrafted market where they can basically get a copy and pasted version of the same play-style to move forward with.
I’ve mentioned prior to the NBA draft that Miami will be looking at players with two attributes: two-way players and NBA ready guys. And they got just that.
If you’re looking for full breakdowns on all 7 of the Miami Heat’s undrafted additions, you’ve come to the right place. So, let’s hop right into what each of these guys can bring to the table…
When I say Miami needed two-way guys to fall out of this draft, it mostly pointed toward the guard position with the Heat’s recent point of attack struggles.
Dejon “Deeky” Jerreau can hit the passing lanes pretty well, bouncy enough to attain highlight blocks like the one above, and more importantly, he can shut-down most guards one-on-one. His long wingspan means he can force major disruption on the perimeter guarding ball-handlers, and combining that with his quick feet make a pretty intriguing defender.
One of his biggest strengths on that end, in my opinion, is altering jump-shots, which ties back to the wing-span point. When looking at the clips above, you can see that he doesn’t allow other to create any separation in the half-court. Even if a move is made, he has great recovery speed to bounce back for a perfect contest.
We’ve seen this story before with completely dominant young defenders, but how does his offense look as a secondary strength?
Pick and Roll Reader/Kick-Out Artist
One thing to mention about about his game is that he has great size for his position. Being a 6’5 point guard gives him some advantages in certain departments, and one of those departments is as a passer.
The ability to survey the floor over smaller guards is always a great attribute, but it’s his passing IQ that seems to be the part to harp on. He’s an outstanding pick and roll facilitator, and shows to do a pretty good job of reading the different coverages thrown at him. He is very patient in that area, which is always good to see with guys his age.
Knowing when to make the pocket pass or when to make the over-head dish is pretty impressive, but his downhill pressure really maximized his play-making throughout his college career. His drives can really bend a defense, which led to him basically living off the kick-outs to shooters, as he is able to make difficult passes on the move.
As you can tell, the Heat’s undrafted pick-ups are strong in the areas that the team is weak in. That isn’t a coincidence.
Mid-Range Creator/Go-To Floater
Jerreau’s scoring inside the arc is very interesting to me. For one, the floater is his go-to move in his offensive package, and it allowed him to get creative with different bank shot angles in awkward positions. The thing about that is those weren’t awkward positions for Jerreau.
As seen above, he can take guys to the rim off the dribble, before springing up into the floater which basically eliminates any type of contest from defending guards. Aside from that unique trait, his overall mid-range jumper looks surprisingly smooth.
Although I’ll touch on his deep ball next, the shots from the elbow and inward look much more pure than beyond the arc. As stated on the defensive end, he has some bounce to him in a very gerneral sense, which means he can get over the top of his defenders inside the arc with a normal jumper.
Of course the jumper can always be tweaked slightly, but those skills that you see before he fires away can’t be taught.
A Capable Outside Shot
After having a rough shooting season in his Junior year, shooting 18% from three, he bounced back to the 34% mark, but there’s still improvements to be made. He is more than capable of knocking down the open three, but in an NBA setting, I’m not very sure that the outside shot will be a sticking point in his offensive game.
We’ve seen this many times in the past, where guys can shoot the three ball in college, but the slow wind up gets them in trouble at the next level. The good thing about that is it can be tweaked more than any other attribute in the game of basketball, especially in a Miami Heat system.
The issue with certain guys in the past has been the non-existing offensive game at all, but Jerreau clearly has that and more. I see him much more as a mid-range type player, but the development over time can definitely make his all-around skill-set much more interesting.
3 Level Scoring
While guys like Jerreau struggle in minor spots of the half-court, Javonte Smart is the offensive point guard that can be a valuable three-level scorer in the future.
He’s coming off a season where he shot 40% from three on 6 attempts, which makes you think how this guy made it out of the second round. Although he’s a point guard, he got plenty of off-ball reps which truly proved to be his strong suit at times. In a motion type offense, I believe he can be a pretty effective player in that role with a slightly quicker trigger.
Aside from that, he’s most known as an on the ball scorer, who can take guys off the dribble to get to his spots from deep. That off the dribble scoring mentality made him a deadly threat in the high pick and roll, since giving him room to navigate is all he needed to be effective.
The rim pressure is mostly generated by his physicality and size on drives. Yes, he loves to sprinkle in some euro steps and up and unders, but his build truly screams bullying others on the attack. And well, that also screams Miami Heat.
Another Go-To Floater Showcases a Theme
As I pointed out earlier, there’s a specific theme with these pick-ups. For one, they all share the two-way play-style, they’re all positional needs on the current roster, and now, they all have the same type of offensive focus.
Smart is another who one of those players that bases his game around the gravity of his floater when plowing downhill. As seen above, he can use both hands in that space, meaning it puts opposing defenders in a weird spot to go up and try to get a block.
He uses the pump-fake effectively and knows how to react quickly to flow right into that go-to floater. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is in the grand scheme of things. This says a lot about the type of player that he is: he’s just solid.
The Heat have been going after guys with high ceilings in every draft, but I had a feeling that would end in this undrafted search. In this win-now time frame, they’re going to see if they can find some hidden gems to possibly make an impact in the near future.
And Smart fits that criteria, since he has a very high floor in my opinion. When I say that he has a high floor, I mean that he doesn’t have any true holes in his game that should be worrisome, leading to a gradual improvement to be impactful in this league. A guy who can shoot the three ball, score in the paint, facilitate the offense, and defend aren’t very normal in this capacity in the big picture, which is why Miami waited for these player types to fall.
I can see Smart actually filling a roster spot if his development continues, but I think the biggest reason for that is he has a certain switch that can turn into a complete “scoring mode.” And that would be something that would appeal to the Heat.
Elbow Specialist=High Release Point
Filling the hole of a point guard is one thing, but filling the need of a pure scorer is another. It’s something else the Miami Heat need on their actual roster next season, and that is what DJ Stewart does. He’s a bucket getter.
One of the primary things to note is that he isn’t your normal scorer coming out of college, due to him actually being pretty unique offensively. Unlike many other scoring guards, he is most comfortable setting up in the mid-range. Let me repeat, not flowing into the mid-range, but setting up in that spot.
In a Bam Adebayo way, he sometimes awaits the insertion into the elbow, which allows him to go to work in a major area of strength. Looking at the clips above, you can see that he’s very confident in getting to that spot on the floor out of the pick and roll, but what makes it so deadly is his release point.
Yes, this is a different group of players he’s playing against, but the peak of his jumper tells you all you need to know about his scoring ability. Nothing ever looks forced. He just does what he does and gets buckets.
Crafty Finisher/Tight Handle
Aside from mid-range assertiveness, the downhill stuff really came as a surprise. The reason is that he has a very tight handle when navigating certain sets, which takes his skill-set to the next level in an NBA environment.
Looking at the plays above, transition offense definitely allows him to be free with his scoring at the rim, but the set plays in the other clips make him even more interesting. He plays at his own pace, which is a phrase that is used way too freely in this league, but it really fits his scoring display.
And by the way, I know you guys saw some of those floaters mixed in there for the third straight player pick-up.
While a lot of the Heat’s guys have shared the same traits positionally and through play-style, I’d say Stewart is the most different one of the bunch, and I actually believe he has the most upside.
Fluid Motion from Deep
The other areas of his game stand-out the most, but don’t let that distract you from his smooth jumper from deep. Stewart shot 34% from three on a little under 5 attempts a game, but a lot of this has to do with role.
The reason I mentioned I believe his upside is higher than others is due to his overall efficiency being a harping point. He will probably be a guy that just gets his shots up to try and score, but if the deep ball consistency is changed slightly, he could come out as the most beneficial guy.
But for now, that will be something to keep an eye on. Will he try and focus on that spot-up shooting in Summer League games or will he get to his strengths inside the arc with second level scoring?
AJ Lawson was a guy that I wrote about as an undrafted possibility before the draft, and it actually ended up working out. I’ve touched on plenty of guys so far that are talented defenders, but Lawson in particular does it in a different way.
He’s much more of an off-ball type guy, who can navigate screens and jump into passing lanes for transition offense. He has pretty good length which makes me think the on-ball stuff to alter shots could be a positive note, but there’s nothing like the skills in the clips above.
Chasing guys off back screens to force turnovers for opposing ball-handlers, and fronting guys on the wing so they can’t flow into their offensive sets. There are many more talented defenders on this list, but in terms of IQ on that end of the floor, Lawson is pretty high up on that list.
For some time, Lawson wasn’t perceived as much of an offensive threat to progress to the next level. Of course 13 points a game in your freshman and sophomore year isn’t bad, but the role he was in held him back.
But this past season gave him a little more offensive freedom, which meant much more offensive effectiveness. He shot 35% from deep on 8 attempts a game, which is a complete turnaround from the years prior. I can definitely see him become a corner spot-up guy who can also become a defensive staple, but some signs show he can be more than that in a long-term sense.
Although he’s lengthy, he has a pretty skinny build which may restrict some things he can do on the offensive end. If some of that deep ball shooting can stay consistent with his Junior season, then he can actually make an impact in that 3 and D role with the Summer League unit.
If there was a specific offensive thing to harp on, it’s his scoring in set plays with multiple stagger screens to get him on the move. News flash: that fits the Miami Heat’s play-style to a tee.
Looking at the clips above, double off-ball screens into a curl for an elbow jumper is a sweet spot for him, or down-screens that get him flying at the basket in space. Other than the shooting stuff, which will be implemented in these set plays, this is where I see his immediate role moving forward.
He’s a pretty versatile wing that can be plugged into different spots, which is why it made sense to me that Miami would take a look at him. Even though I feel he’s more project than immediate impact, there’s a chance he can translate well in this type of environment.
Explosiveness and Flashiness
RJ Nembhard is a pretty interesting name to link to the Miami Heat, not for his style of play like the others, but his overall competitiveness and intensity. He’s a Heat guy.
While I’ll touch on his offensive staple next, taking a look at the clips above showcase his skill of pure explosiveness and athleticism. He’s very elusive out of the high pick and roll, meaning he can slip through certain pockets to explode toward the rim. But what bends the defense the most is his play-making in that space.
Seeing the plays sprinkled in above, he can make certain passes that other guys just can’t. He shows me more flashiness than set point guard, but that may be what Miami could use off the bench in some capacity. Guys who are pure talents as play-makers and can get you out and running with a ton of energy just makes a lot of sense for this team.
Offense=Driving, Driving, and More Driving
His offensive game isn’t very complicated. To go along with that quick first step and slippery probing dribble on the attack, plowing to the rim strongly is his primary way to score the basketball.
He can use both hands around the rim with creative scoop shots to avoid contact, but he also mixes in plenty of physicality to embrace contact and finish at the rim. His instincts and touch around the basket is something many players wish they had, but once again, a lot of his style of play tells me more long-term development.
Can he run an offense in Summer League and make an impact? Definitely, but it comes down to the minor improvements he makes as a NBA ready prospect over the course of the next few weeks, or possibly the work he’s put in since the end of the season. Combining this ability with a go-to outside the paint shot would definitely catch the eye of the Heat.
Nembhard feels more like a guy with defensive potential than others I’ve discussed who just have it. He is very good at fronting guys on the wing as seen above and getting his hands in passing lanes, but I’m not sure you’re sticking him on the opposing Summer League team’s best player in a couple weeks with the other guys on this list.
This shouldn’t be looked at as a knock on him, since he’s still a very talented defender, but it feels like he’s not close to his peak status on that end of the floor like others are. Once again, the potential is high for him to develop into something on both sides of the court, but Miami isn’t looking for a high ceiling at the moment. They’re looking for a Duncan Robinson/Kendrick Nunn type gem.
Absolute Defensive Dominance
If you want to see a guy that is league ready on the defensive end and doesn’t need the “potential” adjective, it’s Marcus Garrett. Another energy plug who has every asset imaginable that makes up a great lock-down defender.
He goes for the Andre Iguodala type swipes to muck things up for bigs on the catch, he’s the book cover for keeping your hands high when defending on-ball, can pick up full court for outstanding ball pressure, and is a pretty great help-side defender. If you’re thinking this is an overstatement for an undrafted guy, you are wrong.
He’s a previous defensive player of the year, and it was said that he probably would’ve won it again this past season if it weren’t for Davion Mitchell. I may have used the phrase “Miami Heat guy” too many times in this piece, but if there’s a guy Erik Spoelstra would love to utilize on a regular basis, it’s probably Marcus Garrett.
Offensive Growth Meant NBA Ready
There were some offensive issues early on, which put some question marks next to his effectiveness at the next level. In his first three seasons in college, he was only attempting about 1 triple a game, while recording percentages of 27%, 25% and 33% respectively.
But in his senior year, he attempted close to 2 and a half threes a game, and shot 35% from deep. And the thing that makes me much more confident about his shooting than past guys is that his shooting stroke actually looks smooth.
Looking at the clips above, it’s pretty clear he’s a rhythm shooter when shots fall early on, but this isn’t the same type of offensive development discussion with guys like KZ Okpala, or past guys on this list. There may need to be some growth, but everything is in his bag at this very moment.
Every player is not going to be complete, but they have to have the skill-set to show they’re pretty close. And well, Garrett is pretty close.
Point Guard Qualities
Of course the defensive stuff will always come up first with Garrett, but he truly seems to be a perfect role player in this league. A guy that has a known role every night, but can also expand into some scoring bursts or passing clinics.
Garrett has shown that he can be a viable facilitator in this league, while sprinkling in some dribble drives that every young guard must have to make the defender respect your next move. Looking at the clips above, he can clearly make the right passes but the question will be if he can make the right reads.
Four years in college prepared him for that a bit and this Summer League experience definitely won’t hurt. Another thing that can be seen above is that he doesn’t just bring physicality on defense. He finds himself on the block at times posting up guys his size, since he knows that his gritty ways will find a way down there.
The Heat tend to love those “dogs” on both ends and Garrett fits that description very well.
Pick and Pop Artist
Well, we’ve finally reached the guy that is different from the bunch. After Miami went very heavy into picking up guys in the wing department, as I expected, they also added Micah Potter who is a very talented stretch big.
It’s important to mention that he thrives in a pick and pop setting, since his jump-shot has pretty much been a primary strength. Yes, catch and shoot opportunities occurred and he actually put the ball on the floor to set himself up from deep, but that just isn’t a big man role. Screening and popping is that role at the next level, and he’s mastered that over the past two years.
He only averaged 4 points a game in his freshman and sophomore year with Ohio State, but when he transferred to Wisconsin, he took off. Jumped up to 3 attempts from deep per game, where he shot 45% and 39% respectively. Looking at the clips above, he has a perfect shooting base, good motion, and nice release point.
Potter will be a guy that you know what you’re getting from every night, and Miami loves consistency.
Low Post Play
Although he loves to stretch the floor, don’t let that distract you from his interior play. He can create offense in many different ways from the post, either turning into a baseline jumper or using his good looking footwork for post spins at the basket.
He can use both hands around the rim out of the post as well, and his good size feels like that’ll translate well to a Summer League environment. While the offensive interior play is a part to harp on, the same doesn’t really go for the end of the floor.
Potter isn’t very versatile on the defensive end guarding the perimeter, while there still needs to be some improvement in the pick and roll coverage in drop. Rebounding also may need a bit of a boost, which clearly would make the difference on a Heat team at the end of the roster.
To finish it off, he did surprise me with his mobility. Seeing his size and the main attributes of his game usually mean slow-footed rollers who are just there to create for the attacker.
That isn’t the case with Potter, since he can actually move down the lane and knows what to do with that pocket pass when he catches it in traffic.
It’s pretty obvious that the Miami Heat will have quite the Summer League squad this season with the amount of talent highlighted here, but a lot of these guys are playing for something bigger.
If Miami makes a deal this off-season to bring in a high level talent for a bunch of assets, many of these players could be getting their name called up, so it’s time to see how they perform on this next stage.
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