Shabazz Napier is in preparation mode. After missing the last month of the regular season due to undergoing an operation to repair a sports hernia, Napier finally believes as if he's ready to go.
However with the NBA's next season still months away, Napier's preparation comes with returning to the NBA's summer league in Orlando on July 4th. According to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, Napier believes a lot of his preparation will be of the mental variety, saying:
"My plan is to play summer league," he said after the first of two autograph sessions. "But right now it's getting through this, the mental stages, and making sure I'm healthy."
Of course health will be a big factor for the point guard going forward. Standing at just 6'1, Shabazz isn't the tallest guy to ever grace an NBA hardwood, and with that injury always lurks in the shadow (just ask Kemba Walker). In fact, Napier admits that this particular injury was likely hindering his play as it took the form of a lingering pain, explaining:
"It's been something I've been dealing with for a while," he said. "So to actually get it done and fixed, right now is getting through the mental stages of it, just dealing with certain pains."
Napier also commented on his future role with the Heat:
"I've just got to work and compete my tail off and try to find a role myself, than be told what role I can fit into. Coaches usually tell you the role after seeing what you can do on the court."
It's encouraging to see that Napier has taken the necessary steps to recover from injury. While he didn't have the best rookie season, he obviously has the drive to improve himself and could very well become a regular member of the Miami rotation if he finds consistency with his jumper next season. Napier had his fair share of big moments with the Heat this season, so there's no reason he can't find a healthy balance in his sophomore year.
The Miami Heat summer squad could very well be something worth watching this summer with James Ennis and Tyler Johnson set to return as they will be eager to expand on their growing roles with Miami this past season. While developing young talent hasn't been the goal of the Heat organization the past several years, they have a great crop of young talent and these players could make leaps with the franchise in the coming seasons.