Miami Heat Summer League: Expectations For Las Vegas Portion

Miami Heat forwards Nikola Jovic (5, left) and Haywood Highsmith (24, right) block out Los Angeles Lakers forward Vitto Brown (48)(Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat forwards Nikola Jovic (5, left) and Haywood Highsmith (24, right) block out Los Angeles Lakers forward Vitto Brown (48)(Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

In their third matchup of the 2022 California Classic, the Miami Heat defeated the Golden State Warriors, 94-70, in NBA Summer League action. After dropping their first two games against Los Angeles and Sacramento, it was critical for Miami to finish their California stint on a positive note.

However, there’s still much to look forward to as Miami continues their Summer League schedule this Saturday in Las Vegas. As we now close the door on the California Classic, here’s who stood out for the Heat in their first handful of games.


When discussing some of the positives from Miami’s win over Golden State, Nikola Jovic should rank atop of the list. For what was a very strong performance, the Heat’s 2022 first-round draft selection would lead all scorers with 25 points with nine rebounds—and was a blistering 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Throughout Jovic’s first three games, it was key for any scout, spectator, or simple viewer at home to keep a certain perspective. As mentioned before, this was his first stretch of basketball in the United States and it was key for Miami to gradually introduce him into this setting.

After only combining for 11 points against Los Angeles and Sacramento, the entire bag would be emptied for Jovic against Golden State. Against the Warriors, he looked very fluid while moving in the half-court setting, was constantly involved as a roll man, and lastly, he even got to his strong suit, which is scoring in isolation from the mid-to-high post.

While Golden State was, indeed, woeful on the defensive end, these are the opportunities that you expect Nikola to take advantage of. As he most certainly did, he now brings a handful of reps to Las Vegas, a vital ingredient for a young player’s confidence.

The Miami Heat will be catching more NBA Summer League action on Saturday. Here’s what’s to expect heading into their next portion of games.

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It’ll be interesting to see how Jovic shapes up in Las Vegas, where a broader range of talent will be featured. Nevertheless, Heat Summer League coach, Malik Allen, has locked in on preparing him for that moment and there’s a good feeling that Jovic will be ready for what’s to come.


It’s never easy to find consistency through Summer League action. A typical summer roster is put together just days before the series of games and therefore, the chips simply fall where they may.

Although and for Haywood Highsmith, none of this is particularly new to him.

In his first three games, the Heat’s returning forward hasn’t disappointed and has certainly been their top player from a consistency standpoint. Highsmith has taken a huge step in becoming more vocal and as he often showed with Miami and Sioux Falls last year, the floor-spacing proficiencies have carried over as well.

Appearing to have toned up with some newly-added muscle, Highsmith has taken the initiative to defend several positions. Whether it’s switching pick-and-rolls or boxing out larger players, the physical improvements are paying dividends.

  • Highsmith led all active California Classic players in rebounds per game (8.3) and most notably held Keegan Murray, the fourth pick of this year’s draft, to just nine points on 4-15 shooting.

With the high level of consistency that Highsmith has provided so far, Miami has been gifted with an interchangeable option at the four spot. He’ll be an intricate part of the Heat’s summer success and after earning a two-year deal in March, there’s no slowing down for the 25-year-old forward.


  • Along with Heat two-way player, Javonte Smart, NBA hopefuls Kyle Allman Jr. and Jamaree Bouyea are rounding out a solid guard rotation.
  • Former Warriors guard, Mychal Mulder, has struggled to find his shooting range. It did seem as if he was shaking loose on Tuesday—but he would go 3-for-10 from outside as he finished at an abysmal 21.7 percent in the California Classic.
  •  Orlando Robinson started all three California Classic games at center, leading Miami in field-goal percentage at 55.6.

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As their Las Vegas schedule begins on Saturday, this year’s Miami Heat Summer League team could just be scratching the surface. For a group that’s been criticized for their lack of talent in comparison to previous years, there’s still that great sense of Miami Heat toughness—and that’s a style that you never want to miss out on.