The back-up big man slot on the Miami Heat is an interesting discussion to have. The two guys up for the job are polar opposites in terms of experience.
Omer Yurtseven will get his first run at the NBA level following his two-year standard contract, while Dewayne Dedmon will be heading into his 9th NBA season at age 32.
After Dedmon was signed late in the season this past year, he rolled right into the playoffs with fresh legs. And in that first round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, not only was he Miami’s most consistent player, but he was also their most productive.
With that said, there’s no doubt in my mind that Dedmon will be the back-up 5 in the rotation, but that doesn’t mean Yurtseven is kicked out completely. The reason Dedmon was so effective by playoff time was due to the fact that he only played 16 regular season games, meaning an 82 game stretch for next season doesn’t seem one bit possible.
(Enter Omer Yurtseven)
Being the back-up for the back-up is not a bad job to have in your first official season, especially when it’s the Miami Heat. They’re known for their willingness to give extra opportunities for the undrafted projects, since most of them up to this point have exceeded expectations.
But Yurtseven is a bit different from past guys who have gone this route. Why is that? Well, expectations are much more extreme for this young big man. Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Max Strus, and many others showed up out of nowhere, leaving many observers of the team a bit surprised when they got extended run.
Now with Yurtseven, it’s almost expected that he’s going to get his shot and shine.
The pure fit with the Heat’s centerpiece Bam Adebayo makes it even easier to picture. A drop big who can protect the rim while Adebayo switches on the perimeter, a lengthier front-court partner for rebounding, and of course, a versatile offensive weapon who can shoot the three and score in the post, which are two of Adebayo’s weaknesses.
So aside from the games that Dedmon sits out, how will Yurtseven get a chance in the rotation?
It’s not a fun thing to talk about, but injuries happen. And on a team that consists of a bunch of veteran players who are much more fitted for the post-season, openings will present themselves.
PJ Tucker is the expected starting four to begin the year, and he’s known for being an available player in the regular season when looking at his track record. But much like Dedmon, it feels like the regular season games played may decrease slightly at age 36.
(Once again, enter Omer Yurtseven)
When a player in the starting lineup goes down, where does Coach Erik Spoelstra usually look? It’s not as simple as inserting the reserve who usually enters for that player, but instead he brings in a guy that isn’t in the rotation, so it doesn’t mess up chemistry and lineup flow. It’s the reason Gabe Vincent had so many starts this past year.
That’s the Yurtseven role this season.
He’s not going to be the back-up 5 from the jump. He’s definitely not going to be an immediate starter next to Adebayo in the front-court. But I do believe he gets some reps in each of those roles as the season progresses, which is exactly what he needs.
Show some flashes whenever being thrown in there, and stock will rise among the coaching staff. Essentially being the relief pitcher will be his task, and the ability to be plugged in different spots opens things up for him even more.
As stated earlier, the roles of Dedmon and Yurtseven will be simple out the gate. Yurtseven will get a shot and plenty of reps, while Dedmon can be effective and preserve himself for the playoff run.
Yes, this team doesn’t have many guys in that middle ground of ages with the two categories of veterans or youthful inexperience, but this is the one way that type of roster construction can be maximized.
And Spoelstra and crew won’t bat an eye at the thought of giving trust to those type of players through the first 82.
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