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What could newly-signed Kyle Guy add to the Heat?

Guy is a good shooter with crafty finishing abilities and an excellent handle with playmaking chops.

Cleveland Charge v Wisconsin Herd Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

With PJ Tucker, Zylan Cheatham, Max Strus, and Udonis Haslem joining Kyle Lowry in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Miami Heat signed Kyle Guy to a 10-day hardship deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday evening. He joins Cheatham as the only two Heat players to ink 10-day hardship contracts over the last week.

To begin with, the five aforementioned Heat players are just at the beginning of their extensive “inactive” list — a list which would honestly be a formidable start to an NBA roster in and of itself.

Star center Bam Adebayo has been out since Nov. 29 since tearing his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right thumb with a return timetable of 4-to-6 weeks; Victor Oladipo, while he’s made progress in his recovery from quadriceps surgery, remains out without a set return date; Markieff Morris has missed the last 25 games with a neck/whiplash injury after the Nikola Jokic kerfuffle; in addition to joining the protocols, Tucker has missed the last four games with a leg injury; Dewayne Dedmon suffered a Grade 1-plus MCL sprain on his left knee on Friday and likely won’t be back for another couple weeks.

In short, the Heat, like most teams across the Association nowadays, are scowering for additional bodies. In Tuesday’s 119-112 win over the Washington Wizards, they had just nine available players — using eight — after Strus and Haslem were sent to the health and safety protocols earlier in the day.

Now, let’s get to the basketball side of Guy’s acquisition.

Guy, a 6-foot-1 guard who was selected No. 55 overall in the 2019 draft to the Sacramento Kings, fits the “I can shoot it without remorse” mold that Strus, Vincent and Duncan Robinson possess with crafty finishing ability, good handle and solid playmaking chops. Dating back to his days in college at Virginia under defensive-minded head coach Tony Bennett, Guy was always a smart, tough player on both ends — which is what the Heat covet.

In 49 career G-League games (39 starts) in the Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers organizations, Guy averaged 21.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He shot 42.1 percent from the floor, 39.2 percent from 3-point range (9.3 attempts), 75.8 percent from the free-throw line — equating to a 58.5 true-shooting percentage — with a 15.7 player efficiency rating.

In 12 games (10 starts) with the Cleveland Charge (G-League affiliate to Cavs) this season, he’s posted averages of 20.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 32.2 minutes — shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, including 36.3 percent from beyond the arc (9.5 attempts) and 75.9 percent from the charity stripe. He’s sported a 61.6 true-shooting percentage with a 19.2 PER in 386 minutes.

Guy also spent time with the Golden State Warriors in the 2021 Summer League.

The 6-foot-1 guard, alongside DeAndre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Mamadi Diakite, was also an integral part to Virginia’s 2018-19 National Championship run. He averaged a team-high 15.4 points — including 24 points (8-15 FG, 4-6 3PT) in the National Championship game — with a 44.9 field goal percentage, 42.6 3-point percentage and an 83.3 free-throw percentage (60.9 TS%) in 38 games as a junior.

Though Miami still has its second-leading scorer in Tyler Herro plus Robinson on its active roster amid the absence of Strus, Vincent and Lowry — adding an extra multi-level scorer that can be a playmaker, out of necessity, is almost never a bad thing.

Herro and Jimmy Butler, who returned Sunday, have taken the bulk of the playmaking responsibility as lead guards in Lowry’s absence, along with Vincent. On Sunday, Miami notched 28 assists — 13 from Herro and Butler combined (Vincent had 5) — to 13 turnovers. On Tuesday, Butler recorded a career-high 15 assists and the team had 26 total with just seven turnovers.

The Heat have also sported 42.5/34.0/78.0 (53.3 TS%) shooting splits over that puny two-game sample, albeit against the very-depleted Orlando Magic and Wizards, too.

What I’m most curious about, regarding Guy’s acquisition, is: If playing time is presented, will the results be there?

They haven’t shown up for him at the NBA level, yet. In 34 games with the Kings from 2019-21, he tallied 2.7 points with a subpar 44.7 true-shooting percentage, albeit receiving minimal, sporadic playing time — most of that coming last season.

On one hand, depending on the ebbs and flows of the game, that might not change with the Heat, either.

When he was active, Cheatham — who inked his 10-day hardship deal last Tuesday — never saw the floor, despite Miami’s temporary (and bigger) need for front court players at the time (and now). With slightly more backcourt depth plus the return of Morris on the horizon, the Heat might only use Guy when it’s absolutely needed, or in garbage time, of course.

But, on the other hand, Miami will begin a lengthy seven-game mostly-on-the-west-coast road trip on Wednesday, which reads as follows:

Without many bodies for this lengthy seven-game trip — at least at the start — it might be best to use Guy.

As shown in the past, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has no problem downsizing. Heck, Spoelstra’s used KZ Okpala (6-foot-8) and Caleb Martin (6-foot-5) as the small-ball 5 across the last two games when Omer Yurtseven and Haslem have been off the floor for spurts. Spoelstra is willing to do so in the right situations.

Guy could certainly add juice to those lineups, but as a brief backcourt replacement if Miami needs to rest Butler — who rolled his ankle (pretty badly) on Tuesday — Robinson, Herro or Marcus Garrett. If Guy sees the floor, his offensive prowess could help bridge the minutes that either one of the aforementioned guards rest sees a break. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

You might see the Rockets and Kings plastered on the schedule above, but that won’t necessarily make it easy. Given all the absences, plus two games against arguably the two best teams (Suns, Warriors) in the NBA, you could make a case that this is one of the tougher parts of Miami’s schedule. I mean, it is seven straight games away from home with most of them on the opposite side of the country. That’s never a walk in the park.

The Heat went 2-3 on their previous west coast trip with losses to the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. They are currently 4-4 on the road against Western Conference foes this year and have not finished above .500 in such games since 2018-19.

There’s likely a reason why Miami made this move when it did. Neither Strus’ sentence to the league’s lengthy COVID-protocol list — which was announced approximately 30 minutes before Tuesday’s tip-off against Washington — or Butler’s unfortunate ankle injury at the end of the Wizards game helped matters. But Guy’s acquisition was announced over an hour after Tuesday’s game. The Heat brain trust in Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg acted quickly, and it might have been by design. They could’ve waited until one or two games into the road trip, but didn’t — partly because the presence and potential need for an extra body during a lengthy road stand, coupled with the swirling COVID chaos throughout the league, might be (way) more important than we think.

And I think it’s foolish to assume that the revolving door that is the COVID-protocol list will stop anytime soon. Though more Heat players are returning, like Morris, others — like Strus, Vincent and Cheatham — will be sent into the protocols, too. It’s an unfortunate reality — but a reality nonetheless.

Again, the Heat might need Guy — or literally anyone (Fine, I’ll go play if they call me. The ball’s in your court now, Pat!) — over the next few games. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Here’s more Kyle Guy highlights:

If you want to see more of Matt’s Heat takes and more incessant sports-centric tweets, follow him on Twitter @mph_824_.