As a Miami Heat fan, I like to keep an eye on the competition so I found myself watching the enemy this past weekend.
The Dallas Mavericks played the Boston Celtics on Sunday and it was a fairly entertaining game with highlights all over the place. What caught my eye most though was how Jalen Brunson for the Mavericks was able to break down the defense and allow Luka Doncic to take a possession or two off.
Many teams would love to have a guy that comes off the bench and can run the offense without a hitch as Brunson does for the Mavs. But when it comes down to actually getting it done, few are as capable.
You saw this on display in the playoffs last year when a tough defense locks in on players such as Luka Doncic, Paul George, and Trae Young. Those teams saw success because they were able to give the facilitating duties off to someone else.
Sometimes you don’t even need a co-star to help do the job. You just need a combo guard that makes the right play and can go get a bucket when needed.
Is Gabe Vincent the Miami Heat’s version of Jalen Brunson? He has all the necessary tools to be that guy for them.
Now, these teams found answers with guys like Reggie Jackson, Jalen Brunson, and Kevin Huerter.
The Miami Heat need a player like one of those next to Tyler Herro to lead that bench unit and I think it’s safe to say they found that in Gabe Vincent. Vincent has been tremendous this season and has nearly exceeded that role already by stepping into the Heat’s starting lineup and helping to close several games this year.
However, we need to see him do it when it matters most, in the playoffs.
Teams are able to lock in on players for a series and best believe there will be a game plan for Herro, especially with the tear he’s been on this season. We’re all expecting great things from Tyler as he can obviously go get a bucket, but it would be amazing if Vincent could relieve some of that pressure by not only helping Herro get involved off the ball but the other second unit players as well.
The ability to create dribble penetration for pull-ups and open space for shooters, make catch-and-shoot threes, and get back on defense would make a huge impact on the bench. That’s what Brunson provides for Doncic and hopefully, Vincent can do the same for Herro in a series.
What should have Heat fans hopeful is that this is not the same Gabe Vincent that we saw last year and I think he can definitely be a “miniature version” of Jalen Brunson come playoff time.
The Heat don’t even really need Vincent to be a direct copy of Brunson. They just need him to keep the energy alive when Herro enters and Kyle Lowry sits. A harder job than most think but as the team loves to say, “stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.”