Kabongo To Start With Heat in Summer League

Just a day after going unselected through the 2013 NBA Draft, multiple reports surfaced that Texas guard Myck Kabongo would play for the Miami Heat's Summer League team.

It's tough to read too much into summer league assignments. There are a number of times where a player will impress while playing for one team and parlay that into an eventual contract with another team.

But it's still difficult to see a situation where Kabongo would succeed with the current Heat roster. Both Dwayne Wade and LeBron James tend to dominate the ball, with James passing out of the post to kick the ball around to shooters. So typically, the Heat have performed the best when they've surrounded those two with outside shooters, the main weakness in Kabongo's game. In fact, the Heat often operated with a backcourt of Wade and Ray Allen, without a true point guard.

The downside of playing on a team with a true "point forward" or point wing, the role that both James and Wade are known to play, is that there just isn't a need for a ball-dominating point guard to run the show. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen succeeded in a similar role with John Paxson and later Steve Kerr at point guard. And Mario Chalmers has earned a spot largely by shooting 41 percent from three, with his backup Norris Cole making 36 percent, and that's from the NBA three-point line. Can Kabongo fill that role? Not likely. He shot just under 30 percent from the college line this year, and beyond that, made just 12 percent of his two-point jumpers.

But at the same time, the NBA isn't necessarily about single seasons, and James might be gone from the Heat as soon as his contract runs out after this season. If James leaves, it could revert the Heat back to a more "traditional" approach, with the point guard running the show for Wade and others. So in a longer-term sense, if Kabongo can make the Heat program, develop this year in-and-out of the NBA Developmental League, he could be rewarded for his persistence.

The key, of course, will be patience on the Heat's part. And patience isn't necessarily an attribute that a ton of NBA franchises have in bulk. Some, like the San Antonio Spurs — a landing spot that might have been good for Kabongo, though he would have had to fight off buddy and former Longhorn Cory Joseph — excel at that trait. Others do not.

Then there's this: Kabongo's agent is also James's agent, and the move to grab Kabongo can be seen as an attempt to appease him to help give the Heat a better shot at James. Most believe that it's a long-shot that James stays, which, ironically enough, could be the best-case scenario for Kabongo.

Because of Kabongo's length (6-3 with a 6-6 wingspan), his athleticism and his chops at running a team, he's a great pickup outside of the draft, one of the few undrafted free agents with legitimate NBA starting point guard potential. But in the NBA, it's as much about fit and timing as it is about skill level, and with no real money invested in Kabongo, he'll have to get things right to carve out a place.


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