Omer Yurtseven played so well in the summer league that the Miami Heat signed him to a two-year deal after just two games. In a recent column, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald quotes a veteran NBA scout who said, “After the second game in Sacramento, it was clear teams were going to be calling this guy [before he signed with Miami a day later].”
Ömer was in his bag this summer like it was extra fries in the bottom pic.twitter.com/4Xe0LiBJmB— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) August 18, 2021
The Turk first signed with Miami at the end of the regular season in mid-May, similar to how the Heat signed Kendrick Nunn on the last day of the regular season in 2019. Nunn, of course, then showed out in summer league and emerged as a starter in his first two NBA seasons.
Is there a chance Yurtseven follows a similar trajectory?
Nunn benefitted from Dion Waiters’ displeasure with a 2019 preseason benching, which led to an early suspension. Pat Riley was “visibly angry” at Waiters for not living up to the four-year contract he signed in 2017, and the shooting guard played just two games for Miami before a trade to Memphis. (We don’t even have to get into his plane incident after ingesting a THC-infused edible.) That gave Nunn a clear runway to the starting guard position.
This year, I don’t see Yurtseven having that same opportunity. Dewayne Dedmon, P.J. Tucker and Markieff Morris know their roles. I doubt any of them will do something to anger Heat officials on the scale of what Waiters did.
That leaves injuries and load management as the pathways for Yurtseven to get more the garbage time. Tucker is 36 years old, and the Heat will want to keep him fresh for the playoffs. Morris will probably sit out a few games with injuries.
Pairing Yurtseven with Bam Adebayo remains an intriguing possibility because of the 23-year-old’s shooting ability. Yurtseven’s size and strength — he’s 7-feet tall and 264 pounds — could give the Heat the flexibility to move Adebayo to the power forward position.
Meyers Leonard was a 20-minute-per-game starting center with the Heat in the 2019-20 season before injuries and an anti-Semitic slur ruined his Heat career. Yurtseven could fill that same role — defend opposing centers to relieve Adebayo of that task and hoist some open 3s.