ORLANDO -- LeBron James highly endorsed draft pick is going through a rough adjustment period during his first summer league season.
Shabazz Napier, the Heats 2014 first-round draft pick, used to get all of the calls. That was in college. But now Napier is having trouble just getting into the paint.
Napier is shooting 27.5 percent through four games at the NBAs Orlando summer league, and that percentage includes a stunningly low 4 of 24 from three-point range. On Thursday, the Heats summer-league team lost to the Pacers summer-league squad 84-74, and Napier shot 2 of 13 from the field and 1 of 6 from three-point range.
To his credit, Napier isnt taking the poor start to his professional career too seriously.
I dont get a lot of calls that I usually got in college, so thats different. But other than that, its just basketball, Napier said. Once I get the feeling down, and once I start making shots, it makes it easier for my team. If I dont make shots, its hard for my team to win games because Im looked at as not a threat on the court. Its tough, but Im learning.
Napier shot 42.9 percent his senior season, including greater than 40 percent from three-point range, so the Heat isnt too worried about his difficult start in Orlando. The Heat plays Friday morning at Amway Center before boarding a plane to Las Vegas for another, larger summer league. Napiers turnovers are trending downward in Orlando, and thats what summer-league coach Dan Craig stressed after Thursdays game.
Were still trying to get comfortable with each other offensively, and because of that were getting low in the shot clock, and were taking some shots Shabazz in particular, hes getting stuck taking some shots he probably doesnt want to, Craig said.
But his turnovers have gone down every game. He had five assists and two turnovers [Thursday].
The main thing is, were just trying to fast-track them and get them NBA-ready and take that next step.