The Miami Heat don’t have many holes on their roster—they are, after all, the two-time defending champions—but they got involved in a three-team trade that netted them Toney Douglas. There were certainly financial incentives to make such a move, but Douglas can help this Miami team.
The Florida State product has bounced around the league, and the Heat will be his fifth team in as many seasons, but he has a skill set that will be useful for Miami because they won’t need him to do too much.
For starters, he’s pretty similar to Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole—the two point guards ahead of Douglas on the depth chart. He may not get consistent rotation minutes considering how flexible head coach Erik Spoelstra can be with his lineups. But Douglas can be what the Heat need him to be.
Firstly, he is a pesky perimeter defender when he is focused on sticking with his man. Douglas is quick and agile with good footwork that allows him to frustrate opposing guards.
He’s not always locked in on the defensive end, but defense will be his path to playing time for a championship-caliber team, so he better get used to working hard.
Regardless, Douglas’ true value comes on offense. At 6’2”, 185 pounds, he has a point guard’s body but a shooting guard’s mentality. He can handle the rock, but you can’t rely on him to initiate an offense and facilitate for his teammates.
Fortunately, the Heat don’t need him to do that. They have two pretty good facilitators of their own that you may have heard of: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Consequently, Douglas can focus on what he does best: scoring.
First and foremost, he can shoot the basketball from downtown. He’s a career 36-percent shooter from three-point land, but he can get hot and light it up from deep, as he showed on St. Patrick’s Day against the Memphis Grizzlies:
Floor spacing is vital for the Miami offense, and Douglas has the ability to knock down threes and stretch the floor.
But he is also capable of breaking defenders down off the dribble and finishing around the rim.
He’s never found a true home in the NBA where he was allowed to learn and develop, but there are few places in the league that are better than Miami for on-court maturation. Douglas isn’t going to be a cog in the Heat’s rotation, but he is more than a throw-in to a cost-cutting deal.
Toney Douglas can help the Heat. Don’t be surprised to see him play a crucial role in games thanks to his ability to heat up from behind the arc. He’s also excellent depth if one of the point guards ahead of him gets hurt (which seems inevitable considering the rash of PG injuries around the league).