The Miami Heat have 14 players under contract and seem to be pretty content right now avoiding the luxury tax by adding a 15th player for the time being. They still have room for 1 more two-way player, but will likely save one of the spots for the competition from training camp.
That means the Heat depth chart is pretty much set. It looks a little something like this:
Lowry / Vincent /
Robinson / Herro / Strus
Butler / Oladipo / Okpala
Morris / Tucker / Haslem
Adebayo / Dedmon / Yurtseven
You can move the pieces around a little bit to fit your pleasing, but one of the main areas of concern is going to be the backup point guard position. Previously, Goran Dragic owned that behind Kendrick Nunn or Tyler Herro.
Now, it seems that Miami is going to be giving Gabe Vincent the opportunity to do that. Vincent was signed to a two-year $3.5 million deal after spending two seasons with the Heat as a two-way player.
A lot of talk on the timeline about backup point guards.— Five Reasons Sports (@5ReasonsSports) August 16, 2021
My understanding is the Heat plan to give Gabe Vincent that shot… for now
Last season, Vincent appeared in his maximum 50 games for the Heat. So we are asking the question: Is Gabe Vincent as the backup point guard the right choice for the Miami Heat?
Let me give you three things to consider before jumping the conclusions about a depth chart and rotations and the visual need for a backup point guard.
#1 — It’s entirely possible that Oladipo is the Heat’s plan as a reserve for this season
When you look at how the Heat roster shakes out, it’s clear that Lowry-Robinson-Butler are slated in as starters. Herro is going to get plenty of time and opportunity...and Max Strus had a great summer league. The Herro at point guard experiment may not be over, but didn’t go well.
In the four games that Oladipo did play for Miami last year, he started at point guard alongside Robinson and Butler. Maybe Miami’s plan all the way is to use him as a ball-handling guard next to guys like Butler who can share the responsibility. It makes sense, and Miami’s defensive capabilities were off the charts with Oladipo in that lineup.
Who knows? Maybe he is the real backup once healthy.
#2 — The available options are not necessarily appealing
If you want to say that Vincent isn’t a great option, then who is? Here’s some of the top available point guards left on the market:
— Dante Exum
— Avery Bradley
— Frank Ntilikina
— Brad Wanamaker
— Nando de Colo (I would actually be intrigued by this one)
— Mike James
Not really names that jump out and scream “Oh, we need to get that guy!” So maybe we should calm down on the idea that Gabe might be a decent option for them to continue to mold in house. Sure, Bradley has something to offer, but we traded him away (not sure he loved finishing the year in Houston). Exum has never been what we think he could have been, same with Frank although young.
If you want something better (and at the expense of the luxury tax), I’m not sure it is on the open market right now.
#3 — Available minutes among wing positions could be limited
Let me slice in this way — if you want to look at the Heat’s rotation from a guard and wing perspective, you are looking at a total of 144 minutes available from PG-SG-SF.
So here are some realistic scenarios:
— Jimmy Butler (34 minutes)
— Duncan Robinson (36 minutes)
— Kyle Lowry (32 minutes)
— Tyler Herro (35 minutes)
That leaves 7 minutes available for Gabe Vincent or even Max Strus. And that’s not considering adding Victor Oladipo into the roation. All of that to just point out, maybe we would be jumping to conclusions believing that this reserve spot would be a huge factor when everyone is healthy.
Is Gabe Vincent as the backup point guard the right choice for the Miami Heat?
Maybe. But maybe we will never have to find out.
What do you think the Heat will do when Lowry heads to the bench?