Heat

G League Gems Gather in South Beach

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In recent history, the Miami Heat have done an exceptional job finding undrafted, former G-League players in free agency and turning them into serviceable players.

Players like Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Rodney McGruder fit that description. This season, the Heat have seemingly repeated their success in 2020-2021 with Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. The 24-year-olds are both undrafted, G-League veterans that have made their way to Miami’s roster on two-way contracts.

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This two-way duo has been a pleasant surprise for the team, as neither were expected to play as much as they have.

Who are Max Strus and Gabe Vincent?

Max Strus went undrafted in 2019 but signed with the Chicago Bulls on a two-way contract. The DePaul product appeared in just two NBA games for the Bulls last season, however.

Known for being a knockdown shooter, Strus has flashed athleticism, too. He has mentioned he feels his athleticism and defending separates him from the other players that are labeled “shooters” (i.e. Robinson, J.J. Redick, Wayne Ellington and Kyle Korver).

The Miami Heat have found their Duncan Robinson 2.0.

Gabe Vincent is known as a shooter that excels defensively. The UC-Santa Barbara product went undrafted in 2018 but signed with the Sacramento Kings G-League team, the Stockton Kings. Vincent played 44 games for Stockton between 2018-2020, averaging 15.4 points per game.

In January 2020, Vincent signed a two-way contract with the Heat. He would appear in 11 G-League games and nine NBA games, splitting games with the Heat and Sioux Falls Skyforce last season.

The More Minutes, The Better

Like most NBA players, Strus and Vincent perform better when they are given more playing time. They weren’t expected to play much this season, but COVID-19 issues within the Heat organization thrust Strus and Vincent into the lineup. The team has missed Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic among others for the majority of the season. Logging 31 games thus far, only eight players have appeared in over 20.

For this reason, Strus (18) and Vincent (21) have surely played more games thus far than they expected. They sometimes struggle in their short spurts of playtime, but when they play extended minutes, success follows.

In the seven games he has logged at least 19 minutes, Strus is averaging:

  • 13.8 points/game
  • 54.1% FG
  • 47.1% 3PT

In the five games that he has played at least 20 minutes, Vincent is averaging:

  • 14.8 points
  • 2.2 rebounds
  • 3.4 assists
  • 38.2% FG
  • 27.5% 3PT

The Future of the Two-Way Duo

Miami’s latest two-way duo have become serviceable players in their first 30 games in the NBA.

If at any point the Heat feel moving on from Duncan is the correct move — in the trade market or free agency — Strus seems to fit the bill of being Miami’s “shooter”. He seems to have found a home in Miami as yet another G-League find that will have the rest of the league asking, “how did they get another steal?”

Conversely, Vincent fits the Heat culture in so many ways and can be a long-term role player. The possible future of what the Heat lack so desperately — outside of Avery Bradley — Vincent can be that highly coveted two-way player. With Dragic, Robinson, Nunn and Tyler Herro lacking a true defensive skillset, Vincent may have a long-term role if he maintains his play.

Follow us on Twitter @HeatLead for the latest Heat news and insight. 

About Blake Malick

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