Undrafted rookie Greg Whittington has decided to sign with the Miami Heat and attempt to make the team during training camp.
Shams Charania of RealGM is reporting that Whittington’s deal is for one-year and is non-guaranteed.
Whittington’s route to the NBA has been unusual, according to the Sun-Sentinel. The six-foot-eight forward played two seasons at Georgetown before leaving the program due to academic issues. He spent last season working out with the Westchester Knicks though he never appeared in a game. After not getting selected in the 2015 draft, Whittington worked out with several teams, including the Heat, and eventually agreed to play for the team during the summer league.
Whittington was superb for the Heat in Las Vegas, garnering heavy praise from Heat assistant coach Dan Craig.
“I think what’s great about Greg is he has a good feel for the game. He has the versatility to be a playmaker. When the defense puts two men on the ball, we throw it back to him and we get him on the roll. He’s a really skilled playmaker. He makes some high-IQ plays at that four position.
“And defensively, he’s a presence up on the rim, he’s athletic, can defend the rim. He rebounds very well, and he’s mobile, in case you want to switch and have him guard perimeter, he’s able to do that. On both ends of the court, I speak for the entire staff, we were really impressed with him.”
Overall, Whittington appeared in nine summer league contests and started six of those games. He averaged 9.1 points, 6.2 caroms, and 1.3 blocks a game as well as 1.4 steals. Whittington shot 40.2 percent from the floor and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc. He reached double figures four times and hauled in double-digit rebounds three times.
Miami now has 18 players under contract with 12 players holding fully guaranteed deals, according to Basketball Insiders.
Update: The Heat and undrafted rookie free agent Briante Weber have come to terms on a training camp deal. So, that means Miami currently has 19 players under contract. Weber is a defensive-oriented point guard, who tore his ACL and MCL during a game in early February. He averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 assists in 20 games last year.
The Heat, who can carry up to 15 players once the regular season begins, will likely be looking to fill their final two roster spots in training camp as their top 13 players are basically set. Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Chris Bosh, and Luol Deng are expected to start for Miami. Justise Winslow, Josh McRoberts, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Andersen, Mario Chalmers, and Gerald Green will likely be in the team’s regular rotation while veteran Udonis Haslem and 2015 second round pick Josh Richardson will be limited to spot duty. Richardson, whose $525,093 salary is fully guaranteed, could also see time with the Sioux Fall Sky Force, the Heat’s D-League team, this season.
That leaves five players to fight for the Heat’s final two roster spots. Six-foot-four combo guard Tyler Johnson could have the inside track on one of the final roster spots. Johnson averaged 5.9 points and 2.5 boards in 32 games for the Heat last season. He also shot 41.9 percent and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. Johnson averaged 9.3 points along with 4.0 boards in three Orlando Summer League games before breaking his jaw.
James Ennis, Keith Benson, Corey Hawkins, and Whittington are the other players who will compete with Johnson for a roster spot. Ennis, Benson, and Hawkins have non-guaranteed contracts.
Ennis struggled on the defensive end and with his shooting as a rookie. He averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 boards while shooting 40.9 percent from the field along with 32.6 percent from beyond the arc in 62 games last year. The 6-foot-7 small forward also struggled during summer league play this year, averaging 8.7 points and 5.0 caroms. He shot just 30.4 percent from the floor and 11.1 percent from the three-point line in eight games.
Benson, who selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, has played in professionally in Belarus, China, Lithuania, and Estonia the last two years, according to Fox Sports. The 6-foot-11 center does have three games of NBA experience and has appeared in 44 D-League contests.
Benson was solid in his five summer league games with the Orlando Magic. He averaged 12.8 points, 6.2 boards, and 2.4 blocks in 23.4 minutes of action. Benson tallied double-figures in three of his five games and posted a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds) in his last summer league game against the Memphis Grizzlies (July 10).
Hawkins, the son of former NBA’er Hersey Hawkins, went undrafted in this year’s draft out of UC Davis. He averaged 20.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and made 48.8% of his 3-pointers in his senior season.
Hawkins will likely get cut and be sent to Sioux Falls. Ennis also appears to have a slim shot making the team, so the final spot could come down between Whittington and Benson. However, who makes the team could ultimately depend on whether the Heat trades Chalmers and/or Andersen, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
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