Gabe Vincent Thriving in Backcourt Pairing With Heat Star

Gabe Vincent, right, of the Miami Heat

Getty Gabe Vincent, right, of the Miami Heat

In what has been a make-or-break year for Heat guard Gabe Vincent, he has steadily shown that he just might make it—he has been a consistent presence off the bench and has found a niche as a 3-and-D caretaker point guard that should keep in the NBA for a while.

For the Heat, one thing that has worked especially well, as pointed out by team beat writer Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, is the combination of Vincent playing with fellow point guard Kyle Lowry.

“You have toughness and that defensive disposition from both of them,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Either one of them can play on the ball or play off the ball and they feel equally comfortable in that role. I think the different roles that Gabe has had to play for us the last year and a half have really prepared him to be able to complement Kyle very well.”

Indeed, the rash of injuries the Heat have had going back to last season’s COVID-19-wracked schedule had Vincent spending almost equal time as a point guard and as a shooting guard—he played 41% of his possessions as an off guard last year, according to Basketball-Reference.com.


Some of Heat’s Best Lineups Feature Lowry, Vincent

Chiang pointed out that the season-long numbers on Vincent and Lowry together are not great, but that recently, they have been much better. “This tandem,” Chiang wrote, “is a plus-nine in 103 minutes together over the past 10 games.”

Of the Heat’s most productive five-man units, three of the Top 5 feature Vincent, though in sometimes short stretches. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the grouping of Vincent, Lowry, Caleb Martin, Tyler Herro and Dewayne Dedmon, which has played together for only 12:50 this season, is a plus-47.2 in net rating (points scored minus points allowed on a per-100-possession basis).

A version of that lineup with Bam Adebayo at center (for Dedmon) and Max Strus in place of Herro is a plus-23.7 on the season, in 23:34 played.

It should be pointed out, however, that replacing Herro with Strus in the most productive lineup (so, Dedmon, Martin, Strus, Lowry and Vincent) has yielded the worst five-man grouping, at a minus-44.2 net rating in 19:05 minutes.


Vincent Benefiting from Lowry Playmaking

Vincent said he likes playing alongside Lowry because Lowry is more of a playmaker for others than the point guards the Heat have had in the past. It helps, too, that Vincent is a much better and more confident 3-point shooter than he has been in the past, making 37.5% on the season.

“I think a lot of times Kyle is getting guys open and creating for others,” Vincent said. “I think it’s unique when we’re on the floor together because at times I can create for him and vice versa. So we just try to play off one another and continue to make the right basketball plays. A lot of times it’s us finding one another. But other times it’s a big slipping or hitting Jimmy [Butler] in the pocket or on the baseline or something like that. We’re able to just create advantages.”

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