The Miami Heat have been back on the right track lately, winning their last three contests, and Dru Smith is a relatively new face that has been present on the court for the team’s two most recent wins.
Smith, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Missouri, has played at least 15 minutes in each of the last two contests. Before that, he had only made one appearance for the Heat this season.
Leading up to two key games against the Boston Celtics, Smith spoke about the latest chapter in his NBA story.
“It’s been interesting,” Smith said. “It’s been fun. I didn’t know exactly what it was going to look like when Spo (Erik Spoelstra) was talking to me about them bringing me back. He just said, ‘We’re going to need you. We’ve got guards that are down.’ So I knew I was going to get to play.
“Obviously, I didn’t know how much or what that would look like. So just trying to make sure that I was ready to go and just doing the best to help us win.”
The Heat have always employed something of a “next man up” mentality, so it is not surprising to see the organization reach deep to find a relatively unheard of player who can contribute on the court.
When it comes to how Smith has been contributing, his last two games have seen him average 3.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal per game. The numbers certainly don’t jump off the stat sheet, but they also clearly represent a player who is getting it done on both sides when called upon.
Most importantly, Smith has been on the court for the Heat when they’ve earned two solid wins. He played in Miami’s 110-107 win over the Washington Wizards last Friday and the team’s 106-98 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
With some tough games coming up, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Smith get less minutes. However, it will certainly be worth paying attention to see if he is on his way to earning a consistent spot in the rotation.
After the three recent wins, the Heat have shot back up the standings. Right now, they sit at the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference. That means that if the season ended today, the Heat would be the last team in the play-in tournament.
Obviously, that would be a huge step down from last season, when they finished as the No. 1 seed in the East.
Surely, Smith and company will look to make up further ground in the standings as the current campaign progresses.