Who are the leading candidates to earn Heat’s final two-way spot?

Let’s examine three Heat Summer League options below!

Miami split two games in the California Classic against the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings followed by an 11-point win against the Boston Celtics in its inaugural NBA 2K24 Las Vegas Summer League game Saturday.

The Heat currently have 13 players on the roster, one short of the league minimum. They also have two of their three two-way spots filled—Jamaree Bouyea and Dru Smith, who are both on their Summer League roster—with the newly-signed CBA granting an extra two-way slot as opposed to just two. Orlando Robinson, who posted 36 points and 11 rebounds against Boston Saturday, earned a standard contract after being on a two-way last season.

The third-and-final two-way contract doesn’t have to be filled, nor will it count against the cap if it is (like the other two). But assuming the organization wants all three spots filled, it will, in all likelihood, come from the Heat Summer League roster.

With that in mind, let’s examine three noteworthy candidates roughly halfway through Miami’s Summer League adventure! (shoutout Eric Reid!)

Drew Peterson, F

2023 Summer League stats so far (3 games): 6.3 PPG | 3 RPG | 2.3 APG | 1.7 SPG | 46.7 FG% | 40.0 3P% | 59.8 TS% | 14.6 PER

Skinny: Peterson tallied 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-5 from deep, versus Boston. That came in addition to three rebounds, a pair of steals and one rejection in 22 minutes.

Throughout his three games, Peterson has attacked closeouts well and featured capable playmaking chops in traffic, knowing which pass to make with fine touch and accuracy. The 6-foot-8 wing canned 35.8 percent of his 3-pointers in 164 career collegiate games, including 38.4 percent (3.4 attempts) in three seasons as a Trojan. In his three Summer League games, he’s held up well defensively and has done a solid job as an off-ball help defender.

Peterson’s skillset is intriguing. He has a quick enough first step to attack long-and-hard closeouts, he can shoot off-dribble and on spot-up attempts, make live-dribble reads and operate in transition whether the ball is in his hands or not. His one/two-level scoring upside both as a movement and stand-still shooter is intriguing by itself, but Peterson can offer more. I don’t expect him to play a big role on the main squad, should he earn the two-way, but he’s a player worth keeping in the Heat organization.

Chase Audige, G

2023 Summer League stats so far (3 games): 6.0 PPG | 1.7 APG | 42.9 FG% | 40.0 3P% | 60.5 TS% | 14.1 PER

Skinny: Audige is what you call a “bulldog,” in the most endearing way possible. The former Northwestern guard really showcased his two-way ability in Miami’s opening Summer League game against the Lakers, tallying 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-7 from 3-point range across 20 minutes in their 17-point win.

Audige, however, has only played 20 minutes in their two games since. He has missed all five of his shot attempts with a board, four assists and one block over that span.

The reigning co-Big Ten defensive player of the year bullies opposing ballhandlers at the point-of-attack defensively. Audige, listed at 6-foot-4, will press after makes and timeouts 90 feet from the basket; despite his skinnier frame, he’s a good screen navigator on-and off-ball and makes up for any lost advantage with his 6-foot-9 wingspan.

While has hasn’t recorded a steal of his own yet, Audige has active hands on swipes and live-dribbles that has oftentimes resulted in frenetic offensive possessions. Erik Spoelstra likely had a smile on his face watching Audige’s abbreviated stint defensively, and the brass should, too. He deserves more of an opportunity.

Jamal Cain, F

2023 Summer League stats so far (2 games): 13.5 PPG | 6.5 RPG | 55.6 FG% | 50.0 3P% | 65.4 TS% | 14.8 PER

Skinny: Cain, given his previous pedigree and experience, could theoretically be the favorite to earn the spot. Who knows what the roster looks like after a possible Damian Lillard trade? While nothing’s obviously official, should a trade occur, Cain, who averaged 5.4 points in 18 games last season, might (eventually) earn a standard contract. Even if Cain earned a two-way for the second consecutive season, he’d be eligible to play 50 games—which is something to factor.

Since the 24-year-old is entering his second NBA season, he’s still eligible for a two-way contract. Cain did not play in Miami’s summer opener with a sprained ankle, but tallied 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting against Sacramento followed by 10 points and seven boards on 3-of-8 shooting Saturday.

All things considered, the 6-foot-7 wing has possessed good foot speed with good instincts in-space defensively. His outside shot is still a work-in-progress, but he’s attacked closeouts well, displayed a better handle on drives and has featured good touch within 10 feet of the cup; Cain’s self-creation looks improved compared to a year ago.

While there will be growing pains both offensively and defensively at the NBA level, Cain’s raw athleticism and upside make him an intriguing candidate to make this roster in year two.

Other candidates: Patrick Gardner Jr., C; Alondes Williams, G; Taylor Funk, F


Who do you think deserves the final two-way spot (so far)?

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