January 7, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard DeAndre Liggins (25) reaches for the ball in front of Washington Wizards small forward Jan Vesely (24) in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 101-99. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

What Signing DeAndre Liggins Means for the Miami Heat


The Miami Heat announced Tuesday that they have signed DeAndre Liggins to a 10-day contract. Liggins is a young guard who has participated on the Heat’s D-Leaue squad, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He’s getting the bump, at least for 10 days, to the big boy team.

The Heat have gone down this road before, signing Chris Andersen to a series of 10-day contract’s before eventually signing him to a full-length deal.

Liggins is one of two things: Either a below-average player or one who is scratching the surface of what he can be.

He’s started one game in his career, replacing an injured Thabo Sefolosha for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Portland Trail Blazers in the beginning of 2013. He had 11 points, including three-of-three three-pointers, and nine rebounds in 40 minutes in the win.

He’s appeared in 35 games with the Skyforce this season averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.5 steals and 40.3 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the field.

But what does this signing really mean for Miami, who traded away veteran Roger Mason Jr. to make room for him?

Let’s take a look at the issues:

 

1. Why a 10-day contract?

This is essentially a tryout for Liggins. The 10-day contract will give the Heat a chance to see if he fits in. It isn’t much, but then again, if Miami feels like they need more time, they can always sign him to another 10-day sample size.

“We liked him. He’s been coached under our umbrella and highly recommended by our staff in Sioux Falls,” said coach Erik Spoelstra. “The types of things he does we like and it gives us a chance to look at him for a few days.”

Translation: If Liggins impresses, he earns more time. It’s a 10-day job interview. Best case scenario? He signs with the Heat for the rest of the season. Worst? He goes back to… North Dakota.

 

May 1, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard DeAndre Liggins (25) attempts a shot against Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (12) during the second half in game five of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Rockets defeated the Thunder 107-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

 

2. What will his role be in the rotation?

At first, the Heat will want to see what he can do. Expect some run with the deeper second unit. Liggins benefits from playing the Miami’s developmental team, which runs the same schemes and systems that the “real” one does.

Liggins has a big advantage, too. He should have a familiarity with the schemes and has already been exposed to the speed of the game from his time with the Orlando Magic and Thunder.

“I’ve worked hard to get back to this level and I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given me. I’m here to do all the little things,” Liggins said.

That means not only shooting three’s. It means helping of defense, grabbing perimeter rebounds and playing the transition well.

The Heat haven’t dug up much of the bench lately (only 12 players have ran in February), but they will want to see what Liggins has. Maybe he comes in over Michael Beasley and/or Toney Douglas Jr. at some point.

 

3. What can fans expect? 

I’m a fan of Liggins.

He gives something the Heat don’t have, a lengthy shooter-guard and, more importantly, youth. Liggins is one of the youngest guys on the roster (Beasley and Norris Cole are also 25 years old) and the Heat have a chance to develop him like they did with those other players.

At no point in his career has he blown anyone away, but the Heat have had an up close look at him with the Skyforce and know more about him than, well, anyone else in the NBA right now.

Should Miami have gone with a veteran instead? I don’t think so. Another declining veteran doesn’t offer much and likely wouldn’t give the Heat any meaningful minutes or energy. Liggins can infuse energy into the bench, something that Udonis Haslem and Rashard Lewis just can’t do anymore.

Energy and youth are two things the Heat frustratingly lack at times, and Liggins has those things. Is it a game-changing move? I don’t think so. But I like the approach Miami is taking with it.

 

 Quotes via Twitter @MiamiHEAT

 

 

Tags: DeAndre Liggins Free Agency Miami Heat