When you receive a two-way contract from the Miami Heat, it’s pretty different from other teams. The main reason for that is while most teams are looking for supreme talent, the Heat are on the lookout for a possible filler for team weaknesses.
Just ask Heat’s Gabe Vincent and Max Strus how that worked out. After they picked up a skilled two-way guard and a straight flame thrower from deep, they’re currently being plugged into the rotation this upcoming season. That is just the Miami Heat way.
This doesn’t mean that’s going to be the case every single year, or better yet ever again, but that’s been the way they’ve gone about things up to this point. So why stop now? The answer is they aren’t.
Miami already locked up a collegiate defensive player of the year winner in Marcus Garrett, which was highly anticipated, but now the conversations shift to that second spot. A player with that level of defensive solidity was not going to be passed up on, and it wouldn’t shock me if he gets spot minutes this year if injuries were to occur.
After the team had some issues in front-court depth in the past, that is no longer a worry. They signed PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris, resigned Dewayne Dedmon, gave a regular contract to Omer Yurtseven, still have their youthful project in KZ Okpala on the roster, and obviously Bam Adebayo isn’t going anywhere.
In my opinion, that list of names is an indication that they don’t need to use that other two-way spot on any sort of big. The current scouting pathway is to find a scoring wing who can just put the ball in the basket. That’s a skill-set the Heat would love to try and utilize if the roster breaks down at any point.
As much as DeJon Jerreau was on pace to get that other two-way spot, it probably wasn’t the best choice to grab two defensive guards who aren’t true scorers by any means.
This team will most likely be looking in many different directions to find that exact build, but in terms of the guys that are under their umbrella, they have a couple options. And those options begin with a guy that I’ve been talking about since he was scooped up by Miami after the draft, DJ Stewart.
There wasn’t any moment during the Heat’s Summer League run that made you look twice at Stewart during his minutes, but that seems to never really matter. He never had a true Vegas breakout game, but he pretty much carried over all of the things he did in College that impressed Miami in the first place, which was all he needed to do.
And if you don’t think Miami is heavily looking for this one skill-set for that specific contract, then look no further than the Heat’s eagerness to lock Stewart up on an Exhibit 10 contract. Giving him that deal basically means he will be a part of training camp before the regular season, and it gives the team time to truly evaluate him.
The reason I was so high on him coming in was due to the fact he gives them something different. He has good size for a guard at 6 foot 6, and plays the perimeter even bigger with an extremely high release point on his jumper.
Not only was he a successful three-level scorer at the college level, but he showed a bit of everything in Vegas as well. I don’t love him as a facilitator in any offensive scheme at the moment, yet he’s the bucket getter that can be used occasionally.
Three-point shooting will be something to monitor at the next level, his mid-range game has always been extremely good with his comfort at the elbow, and he’s shown to be effective when he gets to the rim with that tight handle and crafty finishing ability.
I don’t know if the Heat always overly consider upside with their win-now mentality, but this guy has just that. And if he was to get both NBA and G-League reps if given that contract, I don’t see a reason why he couldn’t be a Vincent or a Strus flashback.
Now, there is one more guy that I don’t want to overlook. RJ Nembhard had a very intriguing Vegas run with the Heat, exploding in this game against Denver with pure scoring from all levels. He looked to have the smoothest jumper from three out of all of the young guards they picked up, and that’s obviously very important considering the Garrett signing.
One reason that this would make a lot of sense is due to the fact I believe he will be better in NBA usage this upcoming season over Stewart. Are they basing this pick-up off the possibility of them playing decent minutes like Vincent/Strus did last season? I think it’s highly likely.
Nembhard also competes on the defensive end at a high level, and can be utilized as a plug and play guy much more freely. The inconsistent minutes in Summer League might’ve thrown some people off with certain games he didn’t play, but that may be a positive thing. Maybe they knew what they had in Nembhard and were getting a longer look at others.
When I asked Heat assistant coach and Summer League head coach Malik Allen after Vegas about his evaluation of Nembhard, he responded: “Since the first day, he’s been one of those guys that his natural leadership and natural voice, he picks things up quick. He not only knows how to mange the game himself, but he also knows how to get guys organized which is important and what we need from that position.”
This type of reaction from people around him with the Heat is important. Not only did he play at a high level. Not only does he fit the build of what they need in that two-way deal. But he seems like a Miami Heat guy.
Like I said before, Miami could be looking in other places for that second spot, but there are two potential choices sitting right in front of them. Both of them have their pros and cons, but as long as they lock up a guy with that type of skill-set, then they will be positioned very nicely.
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