The sight of Dion Waiters on the court for the Miami Heat electrified hometown fans, and he delivered with this sequence.
But a game out in North Dakota also had implications for the Heat’s season down the stretch and beyond. Two players currently on the regular roster and one with a two-way deal showed out in a Sioux Falls Skyforce win. Any of these players can be dressed and in uniform for the Heat should the need arise. Especially with a road trip out west coming up.
First up, KZ Okpala has averaged a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds in his last three games against G-League defenders. Last night he displayed his speed out on transition, a 3-point shot, and the ability to finish above and below the rim. He seems to prefer working around the basket in traffic and not minding finishing plays with contact.
Second Gabe Vincent displayed a smooth and easy three-point stroke going 7 of 10 from beyond the arc. His style hints that he would easily blend in with how the Heat run their schemes on offense and defense.
Lastly Chris Silva stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers, 5 personal fouls in 17 minutes. He still has to work on his fouling and turnover issues, but the other numbers point to developing a Bam Adebayo type of game. Sioux Falls is a great way to hone his decision making chops in a real-time setting.
The play of Waiters, Okpala, Silva and Vincent for one game doesn’t make a season. However the Los Angeles Clippers’ conquest on the road without Paul George and Patrick Beverley shows a deep roster helps win games.
With the return of Waiters, Goran Dragic and eventually Justise Winslow, the Heat could prove they are legitimate threats to go deep into the playoffs. If the guys up north are able to fast track developing their skill set, then the Heat might have another surprise up their sleeve.
The Friday night loss against the L.A. Clippers disappointed, but some little-used players showed they may have earned a greater role going forward. They may not be Orcas, but they could be the bait to snare one.