Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier Points Finger at NBA Ball for Summer League Struggles
Napier shot an abysmal 27 percent from the floor and turned the ball over a mind-boggling 38 times over the course of nine games. That is more than four turnovers per game for those of you who struggle with arithmetic. That is certainly not the type of play LeBron James, er, I mean the Heat had in mind when they drafted him with the 24th pick in this year’s draft.
But it wasn’t adjusting to the higher level of competition that played the biggest role in Napier’s struggles. It wasn’t the intensity or the speed of the game that made him look like the second coming of Mateen Cleaves. No, it was actually Spalding’s fault.
That’s right, Spalding.
You see, up until Summer League, Napier had never played with a Spalding ball before. He only played with Nike balls in college. Apparently, there is enough of a difference to make him look like he had no business being on the court with the Euroleague and D-League players also vying for a spot on an NBA roster.
Well, I have bad news for Napier and for the Heat. The NBA uses NBA balls to play an NBA game. I guess Napier may have some NBA problems to deal with.
All joking aside, I’m sure there is a difference, albeit a negligible one at best. But for anyone to believe his immense struggles were entirely the result of having to play with a different ball is ridiculous.
I’m sure back on the streets of Roxbury, Ma., Napier at some point was forced to play with a ball that wasn’t exactly up to par with the balls used in college or in the pros. He may have even had to play on a blacktop court with an unforgiving rim and a chain net. He seemed to adjust just fine.
I know he is a rookie who hasn’t played a single minute in an actual NBA game, but I think his struggles probably had more to do with the fact that he just isn’t ready for the NBA game. That isn’t to say he can’t ever get there, but the prognosis for the Heat this season at point guard doesn’t look too pretty.
Between Mario Chalmers and Napier, anyone who thinks the Heat can be a surprise team in the Eastern Conference may have to slow their role just a bit. Last I checked, this was a league dominated by talent at the point guard position, and the Heat just don’t have the talent there to contend.
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