SACRAMENTO – The Heat will play in two summer leagues spanning more than two weeks.
First up, three games in the California Summer League, starting at 9 p.m. tonight against Golden State. After facing the Lakers and Kings in Sacramento, the Heat then move onto the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas where they begin play Saturday. Each team will play at least five games in Las Vegas.
Here are five things to look for with the Heat during summer league:
Bam Adebayo stretching his outside shot: The Heat’s first-round pick in 2017 had a solid rookie season, playing in 69 games and averaging 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds. Of Adebayo’s 174 field goals, 91 were dunks, which placed him 25th in the league. Of his 340 field goal attempts, 300 were from within 10 feet and just 21 shots were from beyond 15 feet. Heat summer league coach Eric Glass even mentioned Adebayo working on his 3-point shot.
Derrick Jones Jr. expanding his offensive game: Jones, who was signed to a standard two-year contract Saturday, is known as a defender and a leaper. This is where he can work on his offensive game. “You’ll see him on the wing, attacking,” Glass said. “You’ll see him handling. You’ll see him with an improved 3-point jumper so hopefully he can see the ball go through the net.”
Derrick Walton Jr.’s leadership: Walton, like Jones, split time last season between the Heat and Sioux Falls while on a two-way contract. He is 6-foot-1 and was able to show off his point-guard skills in the G League last season, averaging 7.0 assists in 27 games for the Skyforce. The next step is for Walton to become more of a leader on the court.
Rashad Vaughn’s attempt to rehabilitate his career: Other than Adebayo, the 6-6 Vaughn is the only player on the Heat roster who was drafted. He was taken 17th overall by the Bucks and after playing in 70 games as a rookie has played in just 69 games the last two seasons, including 28 last season for three different teams. He has averaged 3.0 points in his career. Another reason to watch Vaughn, he will be a hometown favorite when the Heat get to Las Vegas having played one season at UNLV.
Who could emerge as a training camp invitee: The Heat have some interesting players on the roster including 6-9 forward Jarrod Jones, who spent the last six seasons playing professionally in Europe; 6-9 forward Yante Maten of Georgia, the 2017-18 SEC Player of Year; 6-10 Landry Nnoko, the G League’s Defensive Player of the Year last season while playing for Grand Rapids and 6-2 Tai Webster, who played professionally in Europe before going to Nebraska and professionally in Germany last season after four years at Nebraska.