Barry Jackson

Heat examining its new reserve center; Scout assesses Heat summer leaguers

Sacramento Kings guard Ty Lawson, right, makes a steal against Dallas Mavericks center A.J. Hammons (20) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2016 in Dallas . (AP Photo/Brad Loper)
Sacramento Kings guard Ty Lawson, right, makes a steal against Dallas Mavericks center A.J. Hammons (20) in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2016 in Dallas . (AP Photo/Brad Loper) AP

Feedback from an Eastern Conference scout on the Heat’s Summer League team that concluded play on Saturday, with Heat president Pat Riley weighing in on Miami’s newest veteran addition:

• Center A.J. Hammons, the second-year 7-footer acquired from Dallas in the Josh McRoberts salary dump, played in 22 games for the Mavericks last season and had modest numbers for Miami in the Las Vegas Summer League: 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while averaging 17 minutes per game.

He shot 14 for 26 from the field (53.8 percent) and 3 for 8 on threes.

“He's a 7-footer, shooter, can stretch the floor,” Riley said in his office last week. “The kind of player that sort of fits that mold of the stretch 5 or 4.”

Riley said the Heat didn’t specifically ask for Hammons in the McRoberts deal - Miami had to take something back - but the Heat is intrigued and wants to take a long look.

“It’s part of the deal because you have to bring a player back in the deal but also he is the kind of player that sort of fits that mold of the stretch [center or power forward],” Riley said. “We remember him from Purdue when he played there. But that also happened very quickly.

“That wasn’t something where we took a survey from out scouts and said, ‘what do you think?’ We made that deal pretty quickly when it came about. But we knew enough about him. We already had scouting reports on him and we looked at it.”

Hammons was both first-team All Big 10 and Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 at Purdue.

“Didn’t hear great things about him in Dallas; they didn’t feel like they’re losing much,” the scout said. “Underachieving player. He has some range, can defend. I'd be shocked if he stuck around for a long time.”

• The scout, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized by his team to speak publicly, said beyond Bam Adebayo, Okaro White and potentially Hammons, the Heat’s Summer Leaguer with the best chance of making the NBA is 6-5 former UCF guard Matt Williams.

He shot 38.4 percent on threes last season at UCF (126 for 328) and 39 percent on threes in summer league (23 for 59), but shot just 38 percent from the field overall while averaging 9.9 points in Summer League.

“He looked much more like a guy who could get a two-way contract,” the scout said. “He has the one skill – three-point shooting. He's totally one dimensional but is a good athlete, has a good body and a good looking shot. His numbers from college on threes were pretty good. He's more viable than I initially thought.”

• On Virginia point guard London Perrantes, who averaged 11 points, 4.9 assists and shot 39 percent in Summer League for Miami before a sprained left foot sidelined him in the final few days of the Las Vegas event, the scout said:

“He’s got a chance to perhaps be a 10-day guy in the NBA eventually. I don't think he would start in the NBA.”

• On 5-8 point guard Justin Robinson, Monmouth’s all-time leading scorer, the scout cautioned not to get too excited about his bursts of offense, including a 22-point game against the Clippers and a game-winning layup against the Wizards, both in Las Vegas.

He averaged 9.7 points on 38 percent shooting overall in Summer League.

“He played better in Vegas than Orlando,” the scout said. “He's a real long shot. He can score. But he’s just too small.”

• On Heat returning forward White, who averaged 18.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks but shot only 39 percent from the field in Summer League, the scout said: “He’s an NBA player but limited. He’s versatile and can guard some threes. He plays hard. Shooting is OK.”

• The scout reiterated that Adebayo is “the real deal” and impressive after making these earlier comments about him:

“He’s extremely active on the offensive glass, very athletic. He can post up a little bit. He blocks a few shots. They are alley-ooping to him. His jumper is a little funny looking; it needs some more rotation. He’s not just going to be a defender; he’s going to be able to score.”

Adebayo, overall in Summer League, averaged 16.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks, while showing an ability to soar for rebounds and handle in the open court.

He shot 38.1 percent from the field (32 for 84) and 79.1 percent on free throws (53 for 67).

If you missed it last week, here’s what Riley said on Adebayo eight days ago:

“We have seen exactly what we saw and why we drafted him,” Riley said. “He’s super athletic. He’s an above the rim player. We’ve seen that part of his game. We’ve seen his coast-to-coast game that he can handle. Sets great screens. I think he can be an excellent defender. He blocks shot. So we’ve seen all of that.

“The whole concept of feeling comfortable shooting the ball in any situation that will come with trust. My suggestion and I think what the coaching staff has done is they’ve given him somewhat of a canvas to paint his game on a canvas in the summer league. He has shown a number of things that we knew he could do but he’s never been exposed to.

“But as he starts to feel more and more comfortable when he’s open on a shot, when he’s ready to put the ball on the floor and go to the basket, wants to take it off the board and go coach to coast and make a play, he’s feeling confidence right now in doing that. We love the pick. There’s a real upside there.”

Former Notre Dame forward Zach Auguste (who played in Turkey last season) and Colorado State rookie point guard Gian Clavell (formerly of Hialeah Gardens) both had some moments for the Heat in Summer League but are fringe NBA prospects at best.

Incidentally, here’s how UM’s two rookies fared:

Phoenix Suns second-round pick Davon Reed averaged 14 points, 4.0 rebounds and 27.3 minutes in six games, but shot 37.3 percent from the field.

“Davon Reed was a little disappointing,” the scout said. “I don't think he was making shots at high level. I don't think his handle is that great. Not a great athlete.”

As for the other rookie UM player in Summer League, Brooklyn Nets undrafted rookie Kamari Murphy averaged 1.5 points (3 for 11 shooting) and 3.5 rebounds in 10.5 minutes per game over four games.

Here are my two earlier posts from Tuesday: On an NHL executive assessing the Panthers’ offseason moves and a Tuesday morning update on the Marlins’ sale and Marlins nuggets.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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