— Background information, highlights, and everything else you need to know about prospects currently on the Miami HEAT Summer League roster —
The Miami HEAT announced its 2019 Summer League roster yesterday, highlighted this year by three former Sioux Falls Skyforce players. Charles Cooke, along with former two-way players Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson, will suddenly take on a “veteran” role as they look to lead a cast of rookies to a successful Summer League showing.
HEAT first-round draft pick Tyler Herro will also make an appearance, and though the trade has not yet been made official, KZ Okpala, who the HEAT traded up in the draft to steal with the 32nd overall pick, is expected to play following the completion of Miami’s deal with the Phoenix Suns on July 6.
Though Summer League rosters can be a revolving door of talent, let’s take a look at those who currently hold a spot on the 12-man HEAT squad heading into their first game on July 1 in Sacramento. Due to the pending trade, KZ Okpala is not yet included in the list below.
Duncan Robinson | F | 6-8 | 210 | Michigan
At this time last year, Duncan Robinson was coming off of a down season (by his standards) as a senior at Michigan, and his addition to the HEAT’s Summer League squad was hardly noteworthy. That was before he lit it up in both Sacramento and Las Vegas to the tune of 12.1 points per game and 55.3 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line, earning himself the first of Miami’s two two-way contracts.
Surely the 55.3 percent mark from the perimeter was an anomaly, right? Wrong. Robinson proceeded to have the best three-point-shooting season in Skyforce franchise history, and had he played in more than just 33 of a possible 50 games last season (missed games while with the HEAT, not due to injury) he would have easily approached league records as well. Robinson converted a franchise record 157 three-pointers while shooting a franchise record 48.3 percent from distance. In total, he averaged 21.4 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest in his time spent in Sioux Falls.
This year, Robinson comes into the Summer League as one of four players currently under contract with the HEAT, and will look to solidify his standing as a possible rotation player this season with another strong performance in July.
Yante Maten | F | 6-8 | 240 | Georgia
Yante Maten, the then-reigning SEC Player of the Year, slipped through the 2018 NBA Draft and was scooped up by the HEAT on a Summer League contract last year. He went on to average an efficient 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in just 17.6 minutes per game in Sacramento and Las Vegas, good enough to earn the HEAT’s final two-way contract last season.
Maten didn’t stop impressing there, though. With the Skyforce, Maten had a historically great first-half of his season before an ankle injury sidelined him for nearly two months. He would eventually make his return for the home stretch of the NBA G League season before returning to the HEAT. In total, he averaged 23.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor in 30 G League contests.
Like Robinson, Maten signed a multi-year contract with the HEAT on April 7, 2019. It would be a mistake for opponents to allow him to fly under the radar heading into this season, as the versatile forward has succeeded at every level he’s played at thus far. Maten will look to impress again this July as the HEAT have decisions to make before Maten, Robinson and Nunn’s contracts become fully guaranteed.
Kendrick Nunn | G | 6-3 | 195 | Oakland
Kendrick Nunn, who signed a multi-year contract with the Miami HEAT on April 10 after a successful season in the NBA G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, is potentially the most dynamic scorer on this year’s Summer League squad.
After averaging 12.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per game for the Golden State Warriors in both Sacramento and Las Vegas last year, Nunn was allocated to Santa Cruz as an affiliate player in advance of the 2018-19 G League season. From there, Nunn carved out a role as one of the most dominant sixth men in the league, appearing in 49 games (one start) and averaging 19.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 29.0 minutes per game.
The lefty guard was a Skyforce killer last season, averaging 25.7 points per game in three matchups with Sioux Falls. The HEAT noticed, and plucked him from the Warriors organization shortly before the NBA’s regular season came to a close. Nunn finds himself in a similar position to teammates Robinson and Maten, needing to continue to impress in order for the HEAT to guarantee his contract before its deadline in July.
Tyler Herro | G | 6-6 | 195 | Kentucky
If Tyler Herro didn’t already have a chip on his shoulder coming into the NBA, he should have one now after receiving mixed reviews from HEAT fans after being drafted with the 13th overall pick. He was arguably the best shooter in the draft, and the HEAT have defended their pick and believe Herro can provide some much-needed spacing in their offense.
If Herro can put together a dynamic Summer League, it won’t take long for him to win fans over. However, as Miami HEAT General Manager Adam Simon has pointed out in interviews, you can’t put too much stock into what you see from young players in July.
Nevertheless, Herro will be looking to make an immediate impact on the offensive floor for the HEAT’s Summer League squad, and will look to display that he’s much more than “just a shooter” by contributing on both ends of the floor. His confidence, work ethic and competitiveness leave nothing to be desired, and he won’t be shy in pulling the trigger from the get-go.
Charles Cooke | G | 6-5 | 195 | Dayton
Charles Cooke does seemingly everything well, but won’t necessarily blow you away in any category in particular. The former New Orleans Pelicans two-way player (2017-18) joined the Miami HEAT for training camp last season, and was later sent to Sioux Falls as an affiliate player for the Skyforce. In 40 games (25 starts) Cooke finished the season averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
After a slow start to the season on a guard-heavy roster, Cooke eventually became one of the Force’s most consistent scoring options on the offensive side of the floor, and frequently chased the opposing team’s best scorer around the floor on the defensive side of the ball. He put together a streak of 15-straight double-digit scoring performances midway through the season, and signed a 10-day contract with the HEAT on March 15, 2019.
Cooke will look to continue his upward trajectory in what will now be his third NBA Summer League appearance, having previously played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in both 2017 and 2018. With two-way contracts still open, and tough decisions ahead with the final few guaranteed roster spots, Cooke has plenty of opportunity to stay within the HEAT organization if he can put together another solid performance this July.
Jeremiah Martin | G | 6-3 | 185 | Memphis
Jeremiah Martin has been getting buckets for the Memphis Tigers since he became a regular starter as a sophomore during the 2016-17 season. After two breakout seasons as a junior and senior, Martin slipped through the draft and was almost immediately picked up by the HEAT in advance of this year’s Summer League play.
In his final year at Memphis, Martin averaged 19.7 points, 4.4 assists and 4.3 rebounds while playing over 34 minutes per contest. He was recently named All-AAC First Team as well as AAC All-Tournament Team in 2019 to cap off an exceptional four-year collegiate career.
Though the HEAT have not yet made anything official, Martin is rumored to have signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the club, putting him in line to be allocated to Sioux Falls as an affiliate player for the upcoming NBA G League season. A lot can happen between now and late October, but he’s a player to keep an eye on over the remaining summer months.
Chris Silva | F | 6-9 | 225 | South Carolina
Chris Silva is an intriguing prospect out of South Carolina. The 6-9, 225-pound forward has the work ethic and athleticism to overpower people on the inside, and get by slower defenders on the perimeter. After entering the 2018 NBA Draft, Silva withdrew and returned to USC for his final year of eligibility and did not disappoint. As a senior, he averaged 15.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from three-point range.
Silva’s shooting range has increased each of the last two seasons. After having attempted only 13 total three-pointers coming into his senior season, Silva shot 23-of-46 in his final year. It’s a small sample size compared to most, but he still averaged nearly 1.5 attempts per game and made them at a high rate. In an NBA training environment, Silva’s in-and-out game can potentially be turned into something special.
Silva’s work on the defensive side of the ball, however, may be his best attribute. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year following his junior campaign in 2018, and was named to the SEC All-Defensive team in back-to-back seasons as a junior and senior. Silva will look to bring the same intensity he displayed at South Carolina onto the court for the HEAT in July.
Kyle Alexander | F | 6-11 | 220 | Tennessee
As an undrafted rookie out of Tennessee, Kyle Alexander comes in as the lengthiest prospect on the Miami HEAT’s Summer League squad. Alexander’s skillset is still raw in many ways, but he serves as a prime example of a player who will “run through a wall” for his team. A lot of what he does is not reflected in the box score, coming off of a season in which he averaged 7.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
Alexander’s attitude, energy and effort seem to be perfect fits with the HEAT’s “Culture” mantra, and it will be interesting to see how the 6-11 center plays alongside the likes of volume-scoring teammates like Maten, Nunn, Robinson and Herro.
Nick Weiler-Babb | G | 6-5 | 205 | Iowa State
Nick Weiler-Babb spent one season at Arkansas before transferring and playing his final three seasons at Iowa State. The 6-5 combo guard averaged 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game over his last two seasons (57 appearances, 55 starts) for the Cyclones.
All-Big 1️⃣2️⃣ Honorable Mention pic.twitter.com/Gybaki9duC
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 10, 2019
The stat sheet stuffer is one who can seemingly fit alongside any other group of talent out on the floor, and can impact the game in more ways that just in the scoring column. Much like Alexander brings to the HEAT’s Summer League squad interior, Weiler-Babb provides some experience in playing either on or off the ball at the guard position, and will do the little things in order to help his team win.
Nick Mayo | F | 6-8 | 235 | Eastern Kentucky
Nick Mayo is coming off of a prolific four-year career at Eastern Michigan in which he started in all 124 games he appeared in, averaging 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. As a senior, Mayo averaged a career-best 23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 blocks while playing just under 35 minutes per contest.
He extended his range more frequently as his college career progressed, knocking down a career 38.7 percent of his shots from three-point range. Mayo’s best shooting year from long distance came as a junior during the 2016-17 season, a year in which he knocked down 44.6 percent of his shots from long-range.
The versatile forward was named All-OVC First Team in all four years, including OVC Freshman of the Year honors in 2016. Playing at Eastern Kentucky, Mayo didn’t see the same talent and defensive schemes that he would have in a larger program, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to playing against and alongside some of the NBA’s top young talent in both Sacramento and Las Vegas in July.
Ibrahima Faye | C | 6-9 | 225 | Senegal
Ibrahima Faye was picked up by the HEAT for Summer League play this year after going undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft. The 6-9, 225-pound forward from Senegal played the 2018-19 season for the Stella Artois Leuven Bears in Belgium. While there, Faye averaged 12.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 35 appearances (30 starts).
Faye is probably the most unknown player on the HEAT’s Summer League squad this year, coming from overseas instead of the NCAA player pool, but appears to have a versatile set of skills at the forward position that have the potential to blossom as a part of Miami’s player development program.
Trey Mourning | F | 6-9 | 220 | Georgetown
Son of former Miami HEAT great Alonzo Mourning, Trey Mourning received a Summer League invite from the HEAT after spending five years (including a redshirt) at Georgetown. After an up-and-down first few seasons, Mourning posted 6.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game as a senior during the 2018-19 season.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) May 14, 2019
Earlier in the summer, Mourning competed in the NBA G League Elite camp alongside a plethora of other college prospects, as well as some of the best young talent the G League has to offer. Much like others in attendance, Mourning is doing anything and everything in his power to make it to the next level.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) May 14, 2019
Though his numbers wont jump off the page at you, Mourning has the attitude and work ethic needed to continue to build on his game, and could possibly be a good project player for the HEAT to develop somewhere within their system.