The Miami Heat are a team that has won with undrafted talent.

IT WAS A ANThe evening of April 1, and Miami HeatHad just gone up 18 points with 1 minutes to play against them Chicago Bulls. It was time for the call. Coach Erik Spoelstra looked down at his bench and called out a familiar face.

Udonis HaslemNow 41 years old, with scattered gray hairs, he rose up and walked down to check in at the scorer's table.

Haslem is now in his 19th year. He was undrafted in 2002. Haslem played for France for one year before joining the league with his local team.

Haslem, along with four other undrafted players, entered the Bulls game that night. Duncan Robinson, Haywood Highsmith, Omer YurtsevenAnd Gabe Vincent.

Undrafted players are used by every team in a league that has 510 roster spots, including two-way contracts, and 60 draftees per season. Miami, however, became the fourth team in NBA history this season to use at least five undrafted players in at least 65 games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Heat are the only team with a winning record out of all four.

The Heat are masters at winning with undrafted talent because they have to.

Since 1995, Pat Riley has been Miami's team president. He has tried to pursue big names through free agency and trade. It has paid off: championships in 2006 and 2012, as well as 2013 are proof of it.

Alonzo Morning and Tim Hardaway were his first trades when he arrived in Miami. Eddie Jones followed. Brian GrantIn 2000. Lamar Odom in 2003. Odom, Grant and Shaquille O’Neal were used in the 2004 acquisition. Then came the decision to bring in LeBron JamesChris Bosh in 2010 2019 Riley brought in Jimmy Butler.

These names come with high salaries. This can also mean picks are sometimes moved. Riley made just 14 picks in the first round in 26 drafts, and three of them were traded during draft-night deals.

Miami must attract undrafted signees to do this — and be successful.

Spoelstra stated that it was an organizational philosophy. “We have done it for several years. We are able to identify what we want. While we may not be for everyone, our dream makers are.


It was THEIn spring 2018, Chet Kammerer (a long-serving member of the Heat's player staff department) was training players for the NBA draft. The Heat didn't have any picks in the draft.

He saw a player at a private training session in Los Angeles who was not on many draft boards but who he felt embodied what his team had so often seen: an unheralded prospect with a clear role who could become a key member of the team for many years.

Duncan Robinson, a former D-III transfer who became a Michigan star, was that player.

Kammerer contacted one of the 24-year-old's representatives. Kammerer asked.

“Uh, this our first workout,” replied the rep. “We don’t have a plan.”

Kammerer however had a different idea. He reached for his cell phone and dialed.

Spoelstra: “I just finished the greatest shooting exercise I've ever seen.”

The head coach asked excitedly who the promising young prospect was. Duncan Robinson, Kammerer told him.

“You mean the sixth man from Michigan?” Spoelstra looked incredulous.

So it was that, after his first professional training session, the Heat set their sights upon the 2017-18 Big Ten Sixth Manof the Year.

Robinson was undrafted and signed up to join the Miami summer league team. Robinson averaged 12.4 point per game in seven games played in the Sacramento and Las Vegas leagues. Robinson also shot a blistering 21 of 38 from long range.

He was able to perform well enough to be awarded a two-way contract by the Heat. Robinson then spent some time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami's G League team. Robinson was already a starter for the 2019-20 season.

Robinson signed last summer the largest undrafted player contract in NBA history — $90 million over five-years.

Robinson's story is well-known within the Miami franchise. Step 1: Locate a prospect. Step 2 Give him a chance. Step 3: Watch him succeed.

“We're giving you the same chance we're giving the No. Haslem states that he is the No. 1 draft pick. “You have to work hard. We offer everyone that trust. We believe leadership is possible at all levels.

The Heat's formula for success is simple. The Heat may not find every successful player, but they are consistent in their search criteria.

Spoelstra states, “People who are committed to work and that process.” “The majority of our coaching staff are players of our player developmental program. They do an exceptional job.”

Max StrusFor his part, he says that the team cares about each player.

Strus states that they want to work alongside you and help you achieve your goals. “They reward you for putting in all your effort to the culture and the work. This is the main thing that sets the Heat apart from other organizations: the way they care about and desire to develop men.

Spoelstra said that player development depends on the effort of veterans such as Haslem.

“That's our greatest strength. Spoelstra says that even though you put in all the effort, if veterans aren’t actively promoting and facilitating this, it can be really hard for young men in this league.” “Our veterans have been outstanding.”

The biggest vet leads this charge.

Haslem explains, “The only way we can get these boys to work hard is by letting them know that we are part of the family.”

“I get that your career may not be as long as it should, but I want to invest in your future so you can make the most of your career wherever you go.”

They listen.

“As undrafted guy, all you have to do is step into the organization and don this jersey. [Haslem]Robinson said. “He loves underdogs. He loves chips-covered guys. It's a great match.


ROBINSON HAS STARTED He played 16 of the 23 games in his three previous regular season for the Heat.

He was relegated to the bench during the regular season 2021-22. Spoelstra moved Robinson to the bench, and Strus, another undrafted player, was promoted to the starting lineup. Miami went 14-2 with Strus starting.

Strus said, “It is a competitive environment.” It suits men like us because we are just trying to grab every opportunity, because you never know when or if you will get one.

Robinson didn't skip a beat.

In Miami's 115-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers, he scored 27 points. Atlanta HawksSunday's performance was his best in regular season, and he set a Heat playoff record by scoring eight 3-pointers.

Miami's undrafted athletes racked up close to 40% of its total points in this season. They are second in the NBA. Robinson (10.9 points per game), Strus (10.6 PPG), Caleb MartinNearly 80% of the 3,595 points were contributed by Gabe Vincent (8.7 ppg) and Nina Vincent (9.2 ppg).

On December 17, 2021, the Orlando MagicUndrafted players in Miami were second on the list with 83 points. In fact, there were 14 instances of undrafted players scoring 70 points or more in a regular-season game this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Eight of these were with the Heat.

They needed each one with Jimmy Butler Kyle Lowry, Bam AdebayoAnd Tyler HerroMissing a total of 86 games

Undrafted players were the reason four of the Heat's top five scorers in games this season: Vincent (68), Robinson (79), Strus (68), and Strus (68). Dewayne Dedmon (67). P.J. TuckerWith 71, he was the second-round draft pick of 2006.

The Heat's 53-win season was a record for South Beach. This is the first 50 win season since 2013-14, when the Big Three took over. 1 seed.

Haslem said, “We don't get the leash the draftees have.” We don't have the luxury to make the same mistakes as the draftees. We don't get the luxury of being lazy as the draftees did. We don't get the luxury of knowing all the plays as the draftees did. We don’t have the luxury to not play hard like the draftees did. Undrafted people don't get those luxuries.

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