Miami Heat Assign Dexter Pittman to NBA D-League After Successful First Trip
Pittman, a 6-foot-11 center out of the University of Texas, averaged 16.6 points and 9.0 rebounds in his first go-around in the D-League but has yet to appear in a regular season NBA game for the Heat. Still, Miami seems to like the progress Pittman's been able to show while working on his game in the Development League.
"It was a tremendous experience, to the point where he got so much experience playing that he would never have gotten here," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told the Sun Sentinel after Miami recalled Pittman after his first assignment. "We saw so much progress that it's very possible, it's a big possibility, that we'll do it again and get him some more playing time.
"When he came back, he was a more confident player," he continued. "His rhythm of playing five on five was much better, and it's really a no-brainer for a young guy like that who we want to invest our time and our future in, to have him play games and also get valuable practice time down there."
While his head coach was happy with the big man's progress, Pittman told the Argus Leader he was just happy to play.
"I got to come down here to show some off my skills and some of the things I can do. What kid in America doesn't like playing basketball no matter what jersey you've got on? Even if I was out there playing in the snow and concrete, I'd be having fun," Pittman said. "Hopefully, I come back here and play."
Pittman also had a good support staff with him in Sioux Falls as Miami advance scout Octavio De Le Grana was in Sioux Falls for the majority of the D-League stint and Chet Kammerer, Heat vice president of player personnel, attended three games according to the Argus Leader.
"It's like the Rocky movie when he went over (to Russia) to train to fight Drago," De Le Grana told the newspaper's Terry Vandrovec. "Our goal with Dex is to continue to improve every day. See the big picture, but understand he does have a long way to go and the only way to get better is playing - get out and get the reps."
Now back with the Skyforce, and their league-worst 2-12 record, Pittman will surely continue to get the reps in the D-League that should eventually translate to tangible NBA success.