Miami Heat: Why the team should take a flyer on Jared Harper

Jared Harper #8 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Kadeem Allen #0 of the New York Knicks. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Jared Harper #8 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Kadeem Allen #0 of the New York Knicks. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat should look into taking a flyer on Jared Harper, a 22-year old point guard most recently released by the Phoenix Suns.

Amidst a heavy guard rotation on the Phoenix Suns, point guard Jared Harper never got a chance to make his case as an NBA talent. Could that change under Erik Spoelstra with the Miami Heat?

Harper spent three seasons at Auburn University, starting 104 out of 106 games. His junior season he helped lead the Tigers to a 30-10 record and the Final Four in the NCAA tournament, before falling to the eventual national champion Virginia Cavaliers.

Coming off of a junior season where he averaged 15.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.1 steals per game, Harper opted to enter the 2019 NBA Draft, where he went undrafted. Shortly thereafter Harper was signed to a two-way deal by the Suns, who still haven’t found a Steve Nash replacement.

Most recently he was waived by Phoenix, as they prepare to make another addition ahead of the NBA’s quarantined finish to 2020. The Miami Heat will be there as well, and could all the same take action in the granted transaction window ahead of this year’s playoffs.

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Heat fans might recall Pat Riley opting to sign young Duncan Robinson to a multi-year deal at the end of last season. Could he find another contributor for next season in Harper?

There are a lot of things to not like about the former Auburn Tiger as a prospect.

He’s on the shorter side, not a prominent defender, and still has a ways to go on his jumpshot. But on the other hand Harper is incredibly athletic (42.5″ vertical!), understands how to draw contact, and can get down the court in the blink of an eye once given the window by opposing defenses.

A year spent under Heat Culture could be the key to his development. His numbers from this season suggest there is something of an NBA prospect to him after all. Harper posted 20.8 points, 5.7 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and one steal per game as a member of the Northern Arizona Suns.

The Heat have questions of their own at the point guard position, starting with Rookie of the Year candidate Kendrick Nunn. So there’s no question they’ll be looking to supplement their rotation with youth from the available market this upcoming offseason.

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Jared Harper’s only shot in the NBA was as a member of the Phoenix Suns. As we’ve seen time and time before, that’s not always the best litmus test for professional hoops.

Make the call Pat Riley. Harper may be the next Miami Heat gem waiting to be uncovered.