The Miami Heat topped off their training camp roster at 18, two shy of the league max, by signing 27-year-old Larry Drew II on September 6, 2017. The 6’2’’ guard spent part of the last season with the Heat D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, a team with which he’s been associated in some fashion since the 2013-14 season. Putting Drew through the training camp ringer follows Miami’s push to beef up their assist numbers by employing a pass-first guard (the Heat ranked in the bottom 3rd in pure AST numbers and 24th in AST Percentage), a role the Heat severely lacked despite a magical 30-11 run to finish the season.
The 27-year-old Drew fits Miami’s player development timeline considering both his age and history in the D-League. During his first two seasons with the Skyforce, Drew averaged 7.0 and 9.6 assists respectively, serving as the squad’s starting point guard despite suiting up with the equally capable and future Cleveland Cavalier DeAndre Liggins. Additionally, his age and familiarity with the league (his callups include stints in New Orleans and Philadelphia) could signal another Heat-chaperoned breakthrough, similar to the awakening of James Johnson, who emerged as a point-forward and Sixth Man of the Year candidate during the 2016-17 campaign.
At the very least, his basketball pedigree is strengthened with his family ties; his namesake and father played professionally in the NBA and Europe from 1980-91 and currently serves as assistance coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Miami Heat will play their first preseason game on Sunday, October 1 vs. the Atlanta Hawks.