Summer League Breakdown: Jaquez Jr Showing Off Everything, Jovic’s Playmaking & Peterson’s Passing

Insight5 months ago9 min readJohn Jablonka

We got Miami Heat basketball!

It may not be Damian Lillard running pick-and-rolls with Bam Adebayo or pulling up from the logo(yet!), but we do have a lot of fun, great basketball was played yesterday.

Before we go any further. Yes, we are overexaggerating to summer leagues. We are making wild predictions based on 20 or so minutes of playing time for each player.

There were three headliners in this game — Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez Jr, and Drew Peterson. One was a lovely surprise.

Jovic’s Drives, PnRs, Passing & Everything

Jovic was doing it all on the offensive end. He was showing us that he can do just about anything you ask him to.

Though without going into basketball first, what is up with his height? He is tall. Not sure what the exact measurements are but, man, he looked like he grew a lot. Him being almost 8 feet made everything else look so impressive.

One of the first things that immediately stood out is how willing he was to attack the rim through contact. There was no settling for jumpers. There was aggression to get inside. There were plays for him to curl to the rim.

Immediately from the start of the game, you had Jovic in the post using his body to find his way to the rim. If he’s going to have anyone smaller against him, that should be an easy look inside.

In the second clip, you have him coming off a screen to curl inside. That’s getting him the ball on the move to make it easier for him to get downhill. And if he’s looking to absorb contact like that, then this is going to be huge going forward for him on offense.

A few of his drives came in transition or early offense:

Yes. This is a near 7-footer bringing up the ball full-court and getting to the rim. You can see it again that he’s not shying away from contact. He’s not going away. He’s not making it tougher for himself or deciding to settle for worse shots. At times, he’s even moving the defender to get a better look.

With Jovic, though, I wouldn’t even say this is the most impressive part of his game. I’m not sure whether I was more impressed with those drives or the reads he was making:

The way he dealt with doubles was elite-level stuff. In the first clip, he has a size advantage in the post and is aggressive enough to quickly get both feet in the paint. Once he realizes the extra help from the baseline, he’s looking to make the pass to the cutter. He moves the defense with his eyes and that opens up the kick.

I liked the action in the third clip. Comes off the handoff, which again makes it easier for him to attack downhill. Once he realizes that the low man is in the paint, he quickly makes the read to kick it out.

Again in the fourth clip, he’s met with a double(triple?) team near the baseline. As he tries to make the move and is met by multiple defenders, he doesn’t get flustered. He doesn’t panic. And he’s patient enough to find the open man on the perimeter.

This is elite-level without considering that he’s doing that whilst still being a teenager.

Finally, there was this play:

Some high PnRs with him going right into a pull-up 3 with no hesitation. I loved that decision from him. But the better decision comes when he gets the offensive board. He wastes zero time recognizing that Orlando Robinson is open inside and makes an immediate pass. The vision and processing speed are just wow.

I know it’s just one game, but this improvement in his driving and finishing could be crucial this season(if he does end up staying). The passing and the vision, that was already there. He was already a smart basketball player with that kind of feel. But this ability to absorb contact, move defenders, and finish in traffic could be very useful on this team.

We Got Ourselves a Rookie!

My first time watching Jaquez and I already love him. A few more games like this in the summer league and I’m no longer trading anyone for Lillard.

I liked everything he did on both ends of the floor.

On offense, it was good to see him taking(and making) a lot of 3s with zero hesitation. There was no overthinking or second-guessing himself. He let everything fly however he got the shot off:

Whether it was a simple catch-and-shoot 3 in the corner, on the move coming off a pindown, or walking into a 3 after a pin-in screen.

Later in the game, you had some self-creation and PnR actions:

In the first clip, he gets deep into the paint with ease. He uses his body and strength to go through his defender and there wasn’t anything he could’ve done. Once he got deep in the paint with that footwork, it was too easy.

The second play was my favorite and the most impressive. Here comes a drag screen from Robinson. Jaquez realizes that the defensive big is already committed, so he hits them with a gorgeous hesitation and a quick cross to reject the screen. Once that happened, he created everything. He got by his defender. He then drew the low man. Wasted no time on the kick. Then waited around the dunker spot to have the ball find him again. Elite sequence.

There were more PnRs with him where he managed to get in the paint in both instances. On one of them, he makes a solid move to get into a push shot, and on another, he finds Robinson on the lob.

And on the last clip, it’s a PnR with Jovic where he draws two on the ball. He doesn’t panic and throws a pass over the defense to Jovic rolling.

As great as he was on offense, his defense stood out too. He held his own. The effort was there. He was engaged and really trying. That’s more important right now than the technique and whatever the results are. That energy and high effort on that end is important.

He got around screens well, he didn’t die on them, he held his own 1v1, didn’t let anyone blow by, and he continued to recover to contest whenever he did fall behind.

A Lovely Surprise

I had no idea who Drew Peterson was before this game and it’s been one game and I’m already sold. I want the Heat to get him on a 2-way contract.

He didn’t have the most spectacular game, especially when it comes to the box score. Finishing with four points, four rebounds, and four assists, whilst going 1-for-3 from the field. He may have not had the WOW as both Jovic and Jaquez, but he was the next player that stood out to me.

He was giving off a Duncan Robinson type. Not as a shooter, but with everything else, especially his passing. The things that we’ve been talking about Robinson’s improvement beyond shooting with putting the ball down, attacking the rim, and his passing. That’s how I felt watching Peterson.

Passing is my favorite part of the game. I will always love watching guys that can pass well. If you’re a good passer, chances are you’re going to be one of my favorite players(big bonus if you’re a shooter too).

And that’s what Peterson did.

In the first clip, he gets the ball in the corner. The defense is still recovering, so he doesn’t waste any time and makes a snap decision to attack the closeout. Great stuff already. He drives baseline and draws the help rotating, and then makes a solid wrap-around pass to Robinson under the rim.

The next clip caught me by surprise. He brings up the ball in early offense and comes off the screen. Once he gets further inside the 3pt line, engages his defender, and notices the low man rotating a lot on the roll, he stops the dribble to find the open man in the corner. You have Jaquez telling him to pass to Jovic, but Peterson casually makes a no-look cross-court pass.

In the fourth clip, it’s a pick-and-pop with Jamaree Bouyea. That was a good slip-and-pop by him to do so immediately. He didn’t hold the screen and that got him open. Once he got the ball, the defense was recovering and he again makes a quick decision to attack the closeout. He takes a dribble in and makes a quick read(also great pin-in screen from Caleb Daniels)

He was doing all the little things well and plenty of them in different roles. Whether that was making a read himself off the dribble, screening and popping, beating closeouts, or making kick-outs. Everything you needed, he did.

This was the first summer league game but this was an impressive debut by those two and a great game from Jovic to show how much he’s improved.