The Miami Heat completed their run through the NBA2K23 Summer League last week, and one of the notable players to make the most of his opportunity in Las Vegas was Haywood Highsmith.
An undrafted guard-forward, Highsmith, 25, playing against recent draft choices and developmental league players, caught the eye of Miami assistant coach Malik Allen, who took on the head-coaching role for the summer league.
Last Wednesday, in a 75-71 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers — Miami’s third game of the exhibition tournament — Highsmith had 17 points, seven rebounds and two assists. He was able to demonstrate his talent from the defensive side of the court as well, finishing with three steals and three blocks.
The performance was an indication of his tournament overall. He averaged 11.3 points on 50% shooting, to go along with 7.8 rebounds and two assists per game.
“I’m just trying to get better each day,” Highsmith said, adding that the summer league gave him the chance “to become a leader,” and as the veteran on a young squad, he was able to teach some of the newer players how to improve.
Allen concurred, saying Highsmith was able to “provide some stability” on the floor in Las Vegas.
“He’s got some experience, and he’s got a good IQ,” Allen said. “And he can figure out how to play with other guys pretty quick.”
Highsmith wasn’t alone in drawing high marks. Another player who stood out was Orlando Robinson. Also undrafted, Robinson, 22, a 7-foot forward, tallied his first double-double of the summer league with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. the 76ers. He displayed some defensive prowess as well with four blocks.
Allen, after the loss, said he was impressed by Robinson’s “aggressiveness in the second half,” and that it’s something that he will need to continue if they are going to win games.
Miami’s first-round draft pick from last month, Nikola Jovic, missed some summer league time after taking a knee to the quad in a game vs. the Boston Celtics. Against the Golden State Warriors, before the injury, he impressed with 25 points and nine rebounds.