The Miami Heat improved their roster this offseason by adding quality veterans and also bringing back important players from last year’s team.
They added some solid depth throughout the roster, but don’t actually have a backup point guard. Kyle Lowry is the clear starter, but after that, there’s a hole in the rotation.
Both Goran Dragic and Kendrick Nunn left in free agency, but Miami did manage to bring back one point guard from last year’s roster. Gabe Vincent signed a two-year deal with the Heat and might be getting a larger role, too.
Gabe Vincent is confident about having a larger role with the Miami Heat
Vincent played super well with the Nigerian national team during the Tokyo Olympics this year. His time with the team was highlighted by a great performance in Nigeria’s upset win over Team USA.
He scored 21 points and nailed six three-pointers in the performance. Though it was only an exhibition game, he showed that he could be ready to contribute at the NBA level.
Recently, Vincent commented on the idea that he could be getting some backup point guard minutes for the Miami Heat this year. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on some of his statements.
“I feel like I’ve shown I can play on the ball, I can facilitate… But I can also shoot the ball. And I think that’s what works best with our system and the modern-day NBA.”
The 25-year-old point guard is on Miami’s Summer League roster but has yet to appear in a game yet. He struggled to shoot the ball efficiently last season but showed a ton of improvement during his time with Team Nigeria.
That’s going to be the most important thing moving forward. If Vincent can shoot the ball efficiently this year, there’s no reason he can’t play regular minutes off the bench for Miami.
“I did not shoot the ball well in the past year and a half at all… I think everything Miami was sold on when I came, I didn’t necessarily show it. I was shooting in the 40s, I was getting 10 threes a game in the G League and making about four a half. It was like, that’s not what I necessarily did in Miami.”
Last season was Vincent’s second year with Miami, and while he did show improvement from deep, he still didn’t shoot well. In his rookie year, Vincent shot 22.2% from deep, while last season, he shot 30.9%.
Being only 6-3, making shots is all the more important for Vincent. He’s a solid playmaker, but he’s not the best defender in the world; he needs to make shots to stay on the floor.
“So I had to find ways to impact winning and stay on the floor. So I picked up my defensive effort. I continue to study guys. I said before last season started, I had studied Avery Bradley a lot that offseason. So when he was there, I was picking his brain as much as possible. Just trying to grow on that side of the ball, continue to make plays for my teammates, and just try to make as many winning plays as possible. That happened for me naturally with being more ball-dominant, creating for others, and defending. I tried to just maximize that.”
With a ton of minutes coming his way this season, Vincent should have time to improve in areas other than shooting. If he can become a decent defender, the Heat would have another reason to give him minutes.
Vincent is also an okay playmaker. However, Miami already has two great playmakers in Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler, so that’s not as necessary of a skill as shooting or defense is for them.
Those are going to be the two keys to earning playing time for Vincent – shooting and defense. If he can reach his full potential in both of those areas, he could legitimately be the backup point guard for the Miami Heat this season.