Over the last 48 hours, the Miami Heat have signed forwards guards Mario Chalmers — welcome back! — and Nik Stauskas plus forwards Highway Highsmith and Chris Silva — another welcome back! — to 10-day hardship deals, per multiple reports. They are the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh players the Heat have signed to hardship deals over the last nine days, respectively.
The addition of the four aforementioned players would give Miami nine active players heading into the weekend:
- Mario Chalmers (hardship)
- Kyle Guy (hardship)
- Tyler Herro
- Haywood Highsmith (hardship)
- Aric Holman (hardship)
- Caleb Martin (two-way)
- Chris Silva (hardship)
- Nik Stauskas (hardship)
- Omer Yurtseven
The Heat currently have eight players in health and safety protocols: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Marcus Garrett, Udonis Haslem, Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent and Zylan Cheatham, the first of the seven to sign with Miami on a 10-day hardship deal.
Five other players — Bam Adebayo (torn UCL; right thumb), Dewayne Dedmon (sprained MCL), KZ Okpala (wrist), Markieff Morris (neck/whiplash) and Victor Oladipo (knee surgery recovery) — remain out due to injury. Jimmy Butler (ankle) who was ruled out of yesterday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs (prior to its postponement), is listed as questionable heading into Friday’s game against the Houston Rockets.
While he’s still listed as out (at the time of publishing), Lowry has the potential to return Friday, too, per the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang.
Also, Kyle Lowry is on his way to Houston this morning to rejoin the Heat. Lowry is still listed as out for tonight, but we'll see if that changes later today.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) December 31, 2021
In the meantime, what could Chalmers, Stauskas, Highsmith and Silva provide to this makeshift Heat roster when they’re on the floor? Let’s dive into it!
Let’s first talk about the reunion of Chalmers.
Chalmers, a second-round selection in the 2008 NBA draft, spent his first seven-and-a-half seasons with Miami from 2008-16. He was eventually traded to the Memphis Grizzlies with James Ennis for Jarnell Stokes and Beno Udrih.
In his career with the Heat, Chalmers — the starting point guard who helped the Heat win two titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13 — averaged 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 27.8 minutes per game across 525 contests (383 starts). He sported a 42.2 field-goal percentage, 36.0 3-point percentage, a 54.8 true-shooting percentage and a slightly below average 12.4 player efficiency rating (PER).
Chalmers last played for the Grizzlies in the 2017-18, appearing in 66 games (10 starts). He averaged 7.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game, shooting 37.9 percent from the floor, 27.7 percent from 3-point range, 85.5 percent from the free-throw line, a 50.3 true-shooting percentage with a 10.4 PER.
The 6-foot-2 guard has played in just two G-League games with the Grand Rapids Gold — the affiliate of the Denver Nuggets — this year with Stauskas (see below). The 35-year-old shot just 22.7 percent with one 3-point make on 13 attempts in those two games, tallying just 17 points.
Given his age, I think it’s fair to not expect a lot of production from Chalmers if (and, given the roster, when) he sees the floor. That said, with Strus, Lowry, Vincent and Garrett in the protocols, Chalmers immediately provides depth in the Heat’s backcourt alongside Herro, Guy, and Stauskas.
While Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra has developed and evolved his system over time — depending on the personnel he has — Chalmers is still familiar with Spoelstra. He can potentially slot in as one of Miami’s lead guards to help initiate the offense when he is on the floor, though that’s also dependent who else is on the floor with him.
For some, Chalmers’ addition is gravy, regardless of the *actual* results. But in the end, Chalmers got his (belated) Christmas day wish!
Praying for a call up….that’s all I want Santa lol— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) December 26, 2021
The public’s reaction to Chalmers’ return was pretty great, too.
Mario Chalmers x Tyler Herro is without a doubt the most confident backcourt duo of all-time— jeremy taché (@jeremytache) December 30, 2021
Mario Chalmers, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson are all on the same team. pic.twitter.com/OzSSm2MDT8— Austin (@AKone_05) December 30, 2021
Mario Cristobal and Mario Chalmers coming back to Miami in the same month. Good signs for 2022.— Will Manso (@WillManso) December 30, 2021
Mario Chalmers is going to have one more ring than KD by the end of this season— Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) December 30, 2021
Mario Chalmers rejoining the Heat like pic.twitter.com/crwsBjcKNd— Jordan Wolf (@byjordanwolf) December 30, 2021
MOOD #HEATCulture pic.twitter.com/EQ7KHu7JIX— (@HeatvsHaters) December 30, 2021
WELCOME BACK, MR. CHALMERS. https://t.co/iCDKPUWTXP pic.twitter.com/XCxTkQERiN— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 18, 2021
Hey @mchalmers15 tell them we can bring back the ol pick and roll! Let’s get the band back together!— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) December 31, 2021
I’m in shape https://t.co/nb7ErjshqH
Welcome home, Rio!
Highsmith, a Division-II college player at Wheeling (2014-18) before going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, has spent most of his career in the Philadelphia 76ers organization with the Delaware Blue Coats.
In 101 career games with the Blue Coats from 2018-2021, the 6-foot-7 wing has tallied 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds (1.9 offensive), 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game, shooting 42.9 percent from the floor, 34.5 percent from 3-point range, 68.5 percent from the free-throw line (.547 true-shooting percentage) with a 13.6 PER.
This season, he posted averages of 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals with a 47.2 field goal percentage and a 39.1 3-point percentage (5.8 attempts) across 12 games (5 starts).
He’s improved his overall efficiency in each of his three G-League seasons. In his first season with the Blue Coats, he sported a 52.9 true-shooting percentage; this year, albeit a smaller games, he featured a 63.0 true-shooting percentage on similar volume (10.4 attempts in 21-22; 10.5 attempts in 18-19).
For the 2020-21 season — since he wasn’t able to play in the G-League due to a limited amount of teams having their G-League season — he signed with the Crailsheim Merlins of the BBL (Germany). He averaged 7.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.4 steals on 41.7 percent shooting in 27.4 minutes per game.
Highsmith has just five games of NBA experience with the Sixers in his career, all coming in 2018-19. He totaled nine points (4-10 FG), five rebounds, two assists and a steal across 40 minutes.
He has impressive length, featuring a 7-foot wingspan — that he can use to generate deflections, block shots and collect rebounds on either end. Because of his length and defensive acumen, Highsmith could fill-in Miami’s point-of-attack defense gap that it lacks amid the absences.
He’s athletic and has a good motor. He’s also a good jump shooter — both as a spot-up shooter and off-the-dribble — with touch around the rim, including a nifty push floater.
Offensively, there will be instances where Highsmith hangs around the dunker’s spot hunting for offensive rebounds, tip-backs and dump-off passes; in others, he’ll be a pop threat, one of Miami’s “runners” around staggered screens and pin downs plus a potential 3-point threat in transition.
Some clips of Highsmith below:
Haywood Highsmith (@haywoodjr24/IG) getting the job done with a smooth 30 piece + 7 rebs performance vs South Bay Lakers at the @nbagleague Winter Showcase #haywoodhighsmith #bluecoats pic.twitter.com/MEMmYPHyeh— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) December 22, 2021
Haywood Highsmith making it look EASY.@haywood24_7 | @nbagleague pic.twitter.com/KZ2BV47wDz— Delaware Blue Coats (@blue_coats) March 19, 2019
Haywood Highsmith’s first NBA career points! #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/2njQws8mwZ— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 9, 2019
Norvel Pelle's deny leads to a Haywood Highsmith slam for the @sixers! @NBASummerLeague on @ESPNNBA. pic.twitter.com/xnxILbT0dV— NBA (@NBA) July 5, 2019
Aside from Chalmers, Stauskas has the most NBA experience, by far, of any player the Heat’s signed to a hardship deal, playing in 335 combined games with the Sixers, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In his NBA career, he’s averaged 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.4 steals in 19.9 minutes per game. The former No. 8 overall pick shot just 38.9 percent from the field, though he shot 35.3 percent from distance — where he attempted 57 percent of his field goal attempts — and 81.4 percent from the charity stripe.
He last played in 2018-19 — split with the Blazers (44 games) and Cavaliers (24 games) — combining to average 5.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.9 minutes, shooting 40.2 percent from the floor and 37.2 percent from beyond the arc (54.5 TS%).
Stauskas has carved up defenses in the G-League with the Grand Rapids Gold this season. Through 12 games, he averaged 21.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists on 42.9 percent shooting, 35.2 percent from 3-point range (7.6 attempts) and 91.5 percent from the free-throw line. Last year in 15 games with Raptors 305, he totaled 18.1 points, 4.3 boards and 3.5 assists on 42.4/36.8/91.7 (63.4 TS%) shooting splits.
Just by looking at the numbers above, the thing that stands out the most about Stauskas is his shooting ability and scoring prowess (when given the opportunity). He’s had those two qualities dating back to his days in college at Michigan. That’s not new.
With Vincent, Robinson and Strus out, Miami doesn’t have many more shooters who will hoist without a conscience; Stauskas can. Like Highsmith, I foresee Stauskas running off plenty of screens while finding dead spots around the arc as a spot-up threat.
Though he doesn’t get a lot of lift on his shot, his ability to fire confidently from beyond the arc and zip passes to open teammates reminds me of Herro, especially given his play of late.
Though Herro will have a bigger shot-creation burden with virtually the entire team out, in a vacuum, their potent shooting and budding playmaking should mesh well together. Plus, in minutes when one of Herro or Butler is off the floor, the additonal playmaking juice will help Miami tremendously.
He’s a capable rebounder, too, which helps with the Heat’s lack of frontcourt depth right now. Stauskas is a good offensive weapon and could especially thrive in this system with all the #HEATCulture™ around him, as well as his other (new) cohorts.
Some clips of Stauskas below:
Oh man, this pass from Stauskas— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 9, 2018
Nik Stauskas in 12 games with Grand Rapids Gold this season:— Matt Hanifan (@mph_824_) December 30, 2021
35.2 3P% (7.6 attempts)
15.9 PER@hothothoops #HEATCulture #NBA75
Here’s the drill at Michigan I’m talking about. 5 minutes, make as many as you can.— Stephen Strom (@SStrom_) December 30, 2021
Nik Stauskas shot 92% (70/76) and hit 46 3’s in a row in 5 minutes.
Somehow Duncan broke this as a sophomore. https://t.co/5ruTn4xXoW pic.twitter.com/I4mqvFlVmk
Aside from Chalmers, Silva is the only other player to join Miami with previous experience with the organization. Though he’s the only of the seven hardship players who’s familiar with the current staff and structure that Spoelstra employs.
Silva, who also went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft, spent his first two years with the Heat organization, including his first year on a two-way contract.
Appearing in 55 career games with the Heat (before getting dealt to the Kings at last year’s trade deadline), the hyper-energetic forward averaged 3.0 points, 2.7 rebounds — 1.2 offensive — and 0.5 blocks in just 7.8 minutes per game. He shot 62.6 percent with a 66.9 true-shooting percentage over that span.
He most recently spent time on a 10-day contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which expired this week. Silva played just one game on Dec. 27 against the Boston Celtics for a total of three minutes, recording just one rebound.
Silva, listed at 6-foot-8, did appear in 12 games with the Iowa Wolves, Minnesota’s G-League affiliate. He tallied 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds (2.7 offensive), 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.8 blocks in 25.6 minutes. He knocked down 57.8 percent of his shots with a 68.0 true-shooting percentage and sported a 21.0 PER.
Silva does most of his damage around the restricted area — whether as an offensive rebounder, roller, vertical spacer or as a shot-blocker.
To begin with, he fits the old basketball adage of, “The ball finds energy.” Due to his consistent motor and good positioning, he’s an excellent offensive rebounder despite his lack of size compared to other NBA bigs.
Though Silva didn’t receive much playing time throughout the 2019-20 season, Silva sported a team-best 16.2 offensive-rebounding rate in 346 minutes. While it’s a very arbitrary statistical mark, his offensive-rebounding rate was an NBA-best amongst players who averaged at least seven minutes per game and appeared in at least 20 contests.
Silva never showcased much shooting touch at the NBA level, taking north of 70 percent of his 67 total shots at the rim, per PBP Stats. But he has shown to be a good finisher — converting on 70.2 percent of such attempts — whether it’s on second-chance opportunities, as a rolling cutter or as a vertical spacer on lobs, albeit a small sample.
Here’s some additional Silva clips:
CHRIS SILVA.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 15, 2021
Ja Morant thought he was going to get a highlight dunk and Chris Silva said NOPE pic.twitter.com/yGzAxQQ9fm— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 24, 2019
Chris Silva took flight ✈️#HEATTwitter pic.twitter.com/l9beOvZOLD— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 4, 2019
And you can’t forget this moment. Is it just me or is someone cutting onions in here?
Chris Silva has not seen his mother for 3 years.— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 28, 2019
She surprised him today at shoot around ❤️❤️❤️ (via @NBA)pic.twitter.com/baKDWdO1Pd
What a moment and what a story Silva has. Check that out here. Welcome back to the 305, Chris!
What do you think of the Heat’s latest acquisitions? Comment below!