Myck Kabongo, a Toronto native, is potentially moving to a far warmer climate — South Beach.
Myck (pronounced “Mike”) went undrafted and was quickly signed by the Miami Heat.
A sophomore point guard at the University of Texas, you may not have heard his name before — probably because he was suspended for 23 games last year by the NCAA for participating in an illegal workout.
That being said, the 6′ 3”, 180 lb. pass-first guard was projected to be a late first-round, early second-round pick. Instead, he went undrafted (probably because many teams were concerned about Kabongo’s attitude, character, and development).
However, if you watch interviews with Kabongo, I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s grown and matured following his suspension. He’s dealt with the scrutiny in a responsible way, and (hopefully) realizes that in order to make the NBA, similar incidents simply cannot happen.
As for concerns about his stalled development, Kabongo’s main weakness is his shooting. In the 11 games he did play for Texas this year, he averaged 29.6% from the three-point line — which is sub-par, to say the least. You would expect Kabongo to struggle even more in the NBA, where three-pointers are a couple feet longer than in college basketball.
However, Kabongo’s responsibility (and his talents) lie not with his shooting, or his ability to score, but rather with his ability to distribute the ball. If you watch Kabongo’s highlights, he has no qualms about passing the ball up to open teammates, or better shooters. And often, he finds guys that you swear weren’t open only a fraction of a second before.
While his 3.4 turnovers a game (probably a by-product of trying to force some passes) is something he can work on, if Kabongo makes a roster spot (and that’s a big if) Kabongo’s job won’t be to knock down corner threes a la Shane Battier. Instead, Kabongo’s job will be to take care of the ball (which he’s just o.k. at), and to get the ball to the open man (which he’s pretty good at).
Depending on how far Kabongo progresses this summer on the Miami Heat’s summer league team, he may just have made Mario Chalmers expendable. With the emergence of Norris Cole, and the inconsistent play of Chalmers, if Kabongo can play at the level of an NBA backup, then the Miami Heat might be able to trade Chalmers (via a (re)sign-and-trade), especially considering the attractiveness of Chalmers’ contract.
Given that he’s a borderline first-round, definite second-round talent, picking up the undrafted Myck Kabongo was a very savvy move by the Miami Heat, and may have been the steal of the draft.