Newly acquired point guard Shabazz Napier was trotted out before the south Florida media in his first appearance here at the AAA. In fact he admitted that Saturday was the first time he'd set foot in Miami.
The Heat had their sights set on the UConn Husky very early on in the process. Head coach Erik Spoelstra said he and his staff played catch up after the playoffs ended and had to evaluate 40-50 players. But Napier stood out.
"From the very beginning of the process, Shabazz's name was at the top of the list," said Spoelstra. Spoestra added, "He was the guy I watched the most film on and we felt was the best fit on many different levels."
Spoelstra cited a lot of things Napier has in his skill set including, "being able to put the ball on the floor, make other players better, to be able to get you into offense, to be able to stretch the floor, to be able to play off the ball. I loved it, I loved watching it, I think it's a great fit. There aren't many players with that type of skill set."
Heat president Pat Riley introduced Napier and posed for pictures with him and Spoelstra but declined to answer questions and left after the photos were taken. But not before calling Napier, "an incredible basketball player."
Riley went on to say, "We feel we picked the other night a player that's going to be here a long time, a player that's going to help us, a player that I said was very mature, was veteran, that was very experienced, that has proven he's a winner."
Napier said he has no butterflies as he embarks on his pro career. "You know I don't feel any nervousness," said Napier. "I've been playing basketball since I was five and a half. Of course each level it gets tougher and tougher. You kind of expect that...I'm definitely excited to get it going."
Napier said he will play in the Heat's summer league team in Orlando and Las Vegas.
Napier said he's had no communicaion with LeBron James who praised the rookie on Twitter during both the NCAA tournament and on draft night.
Regarding those tweets by James, Napier said, "I was super humbled by it. It just made me want to work. For someone of his caliber of talent to express his kind of interest in my talent, it just makes me want to work because I know I'm light years away from how good he is."
Free agency begins at midnight as Monday rolls into Tuesday. Let the negotiations, rumors, and misinformation begin! Contracts can't actually be signed until July 10th.