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Doc Rivers: “When I see another good European, I get pissed off”


The Heat are experts in getting the most potential out of players who, in any other franchise, would not have their way to the NBA assured. It’s the tradition that has been forged by Pat Riley, who came to Florida in 1995 giving up the final year of the highest contract ever signed by a coach., the one he had with the Knicks. Riley, one of the most brilliant minds in this sport, developed with Alonzo Mourning as the epicenter of his project the same shameless and tough game that he previously promoted in New York, one radically opposed to that of Showtime of the Magic Lakers in the 80s. Because he, better than anyone, knew that a style had never depended so much on a single player.

Riley also assumed managerial roles in the Heat and began to shape the team as he pleased. It seemed to say goodbye in 2004, when the loyal Stan Van Gundy took the reins from his great master. However, Riley’s intrusiveness and Shaquille’s pranks ended up getting good old Stan out of there. Riley began his last great adventure on the bench, managing one of the biggest agglomerations of egos ever seen (Alonzo Mourning, Dwayne Wade, Jayson Williams, Gary Payton, Shaq himself…) and took the title. And in 2008, after the worst season of his coaching career (15-67), he let Erik Spoelstra, his second great pupil and this time the definitive one. His interventionism was minor, he amassed two rings and four Finals (five, if we count the one in the bubble) more with LeBron and he dedicated himself to making magic behind the scenes. Up to now.

Since LeBron left, Riley has dedicated himself to building a competitive team of little-known names who have risen to fame under his tenure. Jimmy Butler had a baton that he now shares with Kyle Lowry, Adebayo became a star, Tyler Herro began his rise and people like Kendrick Nunn (now in the Lakers) or Duncan Robinson found a place in the best league in the world without having gone through the draft. This has allowed, in this time, to reach the Finals (those of 2020) and reach the playoffs the last two seasons, which will be three when this year’s classification is certified, in which they started flying and now they alternate good and bad game with casualties, like everyone else, related to the coronavirus.

a new discovery

Precisely the casualties have allowed a new player to rise and show incredible potential… without having been drafted. It is about Omer Yutseven, an Uzbek basketball player with Turkish nationality who plays in the pivot position and that he had experience in the Turkish Fenerbahçe. He was there until February 15, 2016, when he decided to leave the Turkish club to play for the NC State Wolfpack, where he stayed for two seasons, averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. In the second one he was included in the third best quintet of the Atlantic Coast Conference. On April 16, 2018, he announced that he was going to be transferred to the Hoyas from Georgetown University., where after serving the blank year imposed by the NCAA, he played a season in which he averaged 15.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

After this, he presented himself to the NBA draft, but, like many before him, he was not chosen, and began the hard road of finding your place in the best League in the world and that often ends without a prize. On December 8, he signed a contract with the Thunder, but was fired the next day. On January 28, he was included in the squad of the Oklahoma City Blue, a subsidiary of the Thunder in the G League. And finally, on May 14, 2021, he signed a contract with the Miami Heat until the end of the season., although he has not debuted with them until this year, the first of the two with which he renewed in the summer in exchange for 3.5 million dollars.

All in all, it’s been injuries that have allowed Yurtseven to have a spot in the Heat’s rotation… and respond very well. The casualties of Dedmon and Adebayo left the team’s inside game without any reference and Spoelstra introduced Yurtseven in his plans. And that’s where it all started: until December 3, the center had only participated in 14 games with the Heat and in none of them lasted more than 8 minutes. But, against Indiana, everything changed and the Turk left in the 19th minute to score 12 points and grab 5 rebounds in the victory of the Florida team. His participation was changing in the following games, but the casualties and his good performance have caused him to be one of Spoelstra’s trusted men and that enhances the good moment of the Heat.

Now, everything seems to indicate that Yurtseven will continue in the rotation and that Dedmon will reduce his minutes alongside Adebayo. Extraordinary rebounder and with a good hand near the rim, Yurtseven has played 14 consecutive games (10 starts) with 10 or more rebounds and has posted a double-double in his last three games. Including the loss to the Sixers, which blew Doc Rivers away, wondering how the Heat find these guys. “When I see another good European, I get pissed“, assured the coach jokingly. There is no better way to flatter a player who averages, in that stretch of 14 duels, 11.6 points and 13.4 rebounds. A new Heat discovery that has put his head in an NBA that waits for no one. And the one who knows it best is Pat Riley, of course. Experience supports him.

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