Miami Heat: Taking a closer look at forward Jordan Mickey

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Jordan Mickey
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Jordan Mickey /

The Miami Heat seem to have found a winner in forward Jordan Mickey.

As an organization, the Miami Heat are known for many things.

The Godfather himself, president Pat Riley. Elite head coach Erik Spoelstra. Lifer Udonis Haslem. The days of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. The Big Three Era.

And now, they’ve added something else to that list: finding diamonds in the rough.

Last season, after losing Wade, the ball club took on multiple players who were serious question marks; James Johnson and Dion Waiters being the best examples. Many around around the league called the Heat crazy, fans started to lose hope, but the front office knew better. They understood that all it would take was the right environment and personnel to shape these guys, ultimately allowing them to finally reach their potential.

Which of course, is exactly what happened.

After eight seasons in the league, underutilized and mismanaged, Johnson finally broke out of his shell. During 2016-17 play, he averaged a career-high 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.1 blocks a game, and impressed with the likes of a monster dunk over Stephen Curry. This was the type of player the forward could have been all along, under the right circumstances.

The same goes for Dion Waiters, who after being Kevin Durant and LeBron James’ scapegoat, became somewhat of a punchline. Even despite putting up solid numbers in both Cleveland and Oklahoma City. But that has already started to change, after just one year in Miami. Buying into the culture completely, the guard has started a new chapter for himself.

Enter Jordan Mickey, a forward out of Louisiana State University. Those who don’t know his name, will soon.

Drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2015, Mickey spent the majority of that season in the Gatorade League, playing for the Maine Red Claws. And he thrived. He was awarded Player of the Month in December, becoming the first player in franchise history to do so. He averaged 19.6 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 5.3 blocks per matchup, and led the team to a 7-2 record. He even made the All-Star team, but had to sit out due to an ankle injury.

The next year, he saw more time with the Celtics, but even so, they simply couldn’t find proper use for him. So they waived him last summer on July 13, allowing the Heat to sign him on August 20 to a $1.5 million deal, including a 2018-19 team option. And that was the beginning of something beautiful.

Now, the 23-year-old has only played in nine contests for Miami. But it’s already easy to see what kind of a player he can one day grow into. Averaging 4.7 points and 4.4 rebounds a game in 12.4 minutes, Mickey has come up big in moments when the Heat were both depleted and fatigued.

Take his performance on Monday night, against the Atlanta Hawks. While the team wasn’t able to pull off the victory, Mickey certainly pulled his weight. He scored nine points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out one assist and swatted one block in 24 minutes of play, on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. He contributed on both ends of the floor, filling in for Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, who both got themselves into early foul trouble.

He also had a good game in a win against the Charlotte Hornets. Totaling eight points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal in 15 minutes, Mickey shot 4-for-6 from the floor. Once again adding size and skill for Miami, who is still without Hassan Whiteside.

Next: The depleted Miami Heat fall to the Atlanta Hawks on the road

How much time Jordan Mickey will see this year will depend on the state of the roster, moving forward. However, even if right now he’s held to a minimal role with the team, the Miami Heat certainly found a gem in the Dallas-native.