The summer league for the Miami Heat was supposed to revolve around the organization’s last two first-round picks Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic, but with their availability stymied, others had a chance to impress.
While Jaquez was limited to a full game due to a shoulder injury and Jovic left Las Vegas early to prepare to play for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup, center Orlando Robinson was among the best in Summer League. Jamaree Bouyea and Drew Peterson were also among the Heat’s best.
Here’s a deeper look at how Robinson, Bouyea and Peterson fared in Las Vegas and what it means for each going forward.
In the two months leading up to summer league — while the Heat were preoccupied with an NBA Finals and preparation for the NBA draft — Robinson worked diligently behind the scenes to reshape his game and make the most of his time in Las Vegas.
Robinson adopted a detailed weight room plan, improved his conditioning and speed, and even made changes to his shooting form. Coaches described him as “locked in.” Over the past few weeks during the Summer League in Las Vegas, Robinson showed the results of that work.
In the Heat’s Summer League finale Sunday night, Robinson capped his impressive two-week run with 27 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block in the Heat’s 104-78 blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
“Just come out, give 100 percent effort and show what I’ve been working on all summer,” Robinson said during an ESPN interview after Sunday’s game.
Robinson averaged 20.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in six games, including a 36-point outburst to open Summer League play. The 23-year-old center also shot nearly 40% from 3-point range. At 6-foot-11, 245 pounds, he looked more nimble without the ball than he did in last summer’s Vegas games and even in the regular season. Since starring at Fresno State, he has had to adjust to playing the ball more in the NBA. He seems to have found his footing.
Robinson hopes this improvement will lead to more consistent playing time in his second season. He could end up pushing Thomas Bryant, a six-year veteran who was signed as a free agent earlier this month, for minutes behind starting center Bam Adebayo.
For much of the past few weeks, Heat Summer League coaches Drew Peterson pleaded: Shoot the ball.
Peterson, 23, joined Miami’s Summer League program after going undrafted out of USC, making 38.4% of his 344 3-point attempts in three years. The Heat were impressed with his shooting and size (6-9, 185 pounds) and brought him into their development program that has produced sharpshooters like Duncan Robinson and Max Strus.
But Peterson didn’t feel comfortable letting it fly right away, totaling just five 3-point attempts in Miami’s two Summer League games in Sacramento. Heading into Las Vegas, Miami’s Summer League coach Caron Butler told Peterson that his willingness to shoot isn’t selfish — it creates space that helps the rest of the team.
Peterson was much more aggressive in Las Vegas, taking more than four 3-point attempts per game and shooting 47% from distance. His shots came from a variety of looks typical of the Heat’s offense: dribble hand-offs, catch-and-shoots, off screens. Peterson also showed an ability to attack closeouts and make plays for others (2.0 assists per game). Coaches say he became much better at communicating on defense and ended up being one of the players the team relied on in Summer League’s most important moments.
With Summer League over, the Heat can invite Peterson to training camp via a 10-show contract where he can continue to compete for a role in the Heat organization. Miami also has one two-way seat available and two additional standard seats. Depending on a potential deal to acquire Damian Lillard, the Heat could have more open positions and a need for shooting.
Jamaree Bouyea has a chance to take the next step in Miami’s development pipeline and follow in the footsteps of a recent success story.
A standout in the Summer League a year ago after going undrafted out of San Francisco, Bouyea was invited to the Heat’s training camp, signed with their G League affiliate in Sioux Falls and signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Heat and then the Wizards before returning to Sioux Falls for the G League postseason.
Through it all, he remained close to Gabe Vincent, who followed a similar path to playing time with the Heat and, as a free agent earlier this month, signed a life-changing contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.
While Vincent started at point guard during the Heat’s NBA Finals run, Bouyea was back in Sioux Falls for the postseason, where he averaged 15.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the playoffs and was named All-NBA G League second team. . In his second summer league stint, Bouyea averaged 12 points on 40.6% shooting (33.3% on 3s), 6.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
Like Vincent, Bouyea had been a scoring guard for most of his basketball life before working with the Heat’s coaching staff. Over the past two weeks, Bouyea’s goal was to show his improvement as a playmaker and understand that playing for others could be his ticket to an NBA career.
Bouyea signed a two-way contract with the Heat the day before Summer League began, and depending on whether the Heat can complete a trade for Lillard, minutes could be available at point guard next season. With Vincent gone, Kyle Lowry is the only true point guard on the roster. (Lowry is a candidate to be included in a Lillard package or traded elsewhere.) Even if he remains a two-way, Bouyea should see some minutes in the regular season. But there could be a chance to climb further up the rotation.
- Published on 17/07/2023 at 4:36 p.m
- Last updated 17/07/2023 at 4:36 p.m