Yurtseven Yet Another Miami Steal?


Just before the 2020-21 regular season ended, the Miami Heat signed center Omer Yurtseven to a two-year deal.

A signing like this may not seem so great, but when one looks deeper, they can see how Yurtseven could be the Heat’s next steal. Who is this guy, what does he bring to Miami and can the Heat Culture develop another gem?

Who is Omer Yurtseven?

Omer Yurtseven is a seven-foot center from Turkey, the University of Georgetown, and previously NC State. Per 247Sports, the center ranked as the 55th-best prospect and eighth-best center in the Class of 2016. Yurtseven had one of the best high-school games in history, scoring 91 points and grabbing 18 rebounds for Fenerbahce. He originally committed to NC State and played his first two collegiate seasons there before entering the transfer portal. He ended up transferring to Georgetown University but had to sit out his junior season due to transfer rules.

After averaging 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds as a senior, Yurtseven declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. Though some expected him to be a second-round selection, the Georgetown big man ended up going undrafted. Shortly after the draft, he landed with Oklahoma City on an Exhibit-10 deal and played for the G League’s Oklahoma City Blue.

Yurtseven would play in 14 games for the Blue averaging 15.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 62.6% from the field and 38.1% from behind the arc. The 23-year-old flashed all types of potential in his limited games. He moves extremely smooth for a seven-footer and fits very well in what the Heat like to do. The Turkish national is an above-average rebounder, can space the floor and is extremely comfortable in lob situations. Though he doesn’t have a great arsenal of post moves, he can take advantage of a mismatch.

Olympic Qualifying

During qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Omer played for his native country of Turkey. Yurtseven appeared in three games, averaging 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds. While these don’t seem like much, he produced in limited tick. The Heat are desperate for a big behind Bam that can space the floor and attack the rim.

Though he is still raw, Yurtseven and Miami’s development staff looks to iron the wrinkles on his game and help him become a polished NBA player. With Turkey eliminated from Olympic contention, Yurtseven will now have a full offseason to do so.


History Repeating Itself Again?

On April 10, 2019, the Heat signed two unknown G-League players. At first glance, this doesn’t look like much, until one realizes these players were Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn. The tandem became key contributors for the Heat in the past two seasons.

Could this be history repeating itself? When Nunn and Robinson were signed, nobody batted an eye. It was assumed they would be depth pieces.

Nobody expected Nunn would start the first game of his rookie season or that Robinson would play 23 minutes in this same game. Nobody knew Nunn would be the runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting or that Robinson would break nearly every Heat record pertaining to three-pointers.

Point being, the Heat saw something in these two players, signed them and after an off-season of training in the organization’s program, they entrusted them to give legit minutes in the NBA.

The similarities are there. Yes, Yurtseven is a bit more raw and unpolished compared to Nunn and Robinson, but there is one main difference: the Heat are desperate for his position. The team is so in need for big men that veteran center Dewayne Dedmon was possibly the Heat’s most important mid-season acquisition. The team struggled with rebounding and defending a bigger team like the Milwaukee Bucks.

If Yurtseven grows to NBA-level play, he fits very well next to Bam. A floor-spacing rebounder is just what the Heat need in order to compete, and filling that void with a cheap contract is even better.

Summer-League Debut

In the Heat’s Summer League opener at the California Classic, the Turkish national dominated the Los Angeles Lakers, starting strong with 12 points and seven rebounds in the first eight minutes, while finishing strong with 27 points (11/20 FG, 3/7 3PT), 19 rebounds, two assists and a block.

With the score tied and just seven seconds remaining in the game, Yurtseven went to the line and cashed both free throws to win the game by two. You can see his ability to stretch the floor, dominate the glass and score at will inside. He also had no problem switching defensively, blocking a three-point attempt by Mac McClung.

While this was merely one Summer League game, it’s possible the Heat are banking on him to fill a roster spot and possibly play rotational minutes this season.

Fascination Off the Charts

You can’t expect too much from the raw talent, but with time to develop, Yurtseven could be a vital contributor for the team. He is one of the more fascinating players going into 2021 and beyond, and has the potential to be another name added to the list of steals in recent Miami Heat history.

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