Gabe Vincent is ready to take the next step heading into the new season. Fluctuating from past off-ball reps and spot-up shooting to extra on-ball reps and play-making duties, it’s been a constant adjustment period for this young guard.
I got a chance to speak with Vincent after Sunday’s practice, which he provided some of his thoughts heading into the season.
After last season, he mentioned that he tweaked his jumper to provide more consistency and range, which he would continue to work on as he entered the off-season. When I asked him how comfortable he is with his jumper at the moment, he said, “It feels a lot better. Obviously a lot more shots, a lot more reps to put in, a lot of game reps this Summer. It feels pretty good coming into the season.”
Shots will definitely be there for Vincent this season off the catch, but his on-ball duties are increasing. When guys went out last season, Coach Spo wasn’t ever afraid to throw him in the mix to replicate the role of the player he was being inserted into the lineup for.
I asked Coach Spo about that off-season growth from Vincent, which he responded, “He’s had a very good Summer. The Nigerian national team experience was really good for him. He was a team captain, having to play on the ball, off the ball. And that’s what this group will require from him. Just find a way to make an impact, regardless if the ball is in his hands or not.”
When I asked Vincent about those on-ball improvements heading into a new season, he said, “I played a little more off the ball then I wanted to this Summer, but that’s just the way we wanted to do things, and it doesn’t hurt, it gave me reps off the ball as well.”
“I understand, here, I’ll be on the ball a little bit more, and I’ve got no problem with that at all,” he continued. “If anything it was good for me getting more reps off the ball, as well, to kind of be a combo. We’ve got a lot of guys who can handle between Jimmy, Bam, Kyle, Tyler when he’s out there.”
Speaking of Kyle Lowry, there will be a lot of games where Vincent is standing at the scorers table ready to check in, while Lowry is walking off the floor. I asked him if there’s been any advice Lowry has given him throughout camp that has stuck.
Vincent said, “Nothing yet. Most of camp we’ve kind of just been competing. So I’m just kinda seeing the way he runs his unit, the way he pushes the pace, the tempo he plays at, and different things like that. Seeing it up close and playing against him daily is a little bit different than watching film or seeing him 3-4 times a year. It’s been different seeing it in camp, and I’m sure I’ll have the time to pick his brain as the season goes on.”
Vincent is going to be lined up next to Tyler Herro frequently this season as a part of that back-up back-court. Vincent has been grinding on the Heat roster from Herro’s rookie season to now, seeing the ups and downs of his game from the bubble breakout to him entering his third season in the league.
I asked Vincent what the biggest difference is from Herro’s rookie season to now, which he said, “The first thing everyone notices is just his body. He’s put a lot of work in his physical shape. He’s gotten stronger, he’s bigger. And I think he grew from his rookie year to now. I don’t know what the numbers say but I keep telling him ‘you keep growing.'”
“I think his game has gotten way more efficient,” Vincent continued. “Like I said he’s stronger, he’s getting to his spots, he’s coming into his own a lot more, so I’m excited for the year he’s going to have.”
Some may say that the depth of this team is in question, but in between the four walls of the practice gym, this group knows they have guys who can compete all the way across the roster. And now, Vincent has moved past the two-way label and found himself on the official roster.
And he’s ready for the task ahead.
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