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Miami Heat’s Gabe Vincent: ‘We have what it takes to get back to the NBA Finals’ – Sports Illustrated


Not too long ago, the Miami Heat made it all the way to the NBA Finals in the 2020 NBA Bubble. This past season, they came within a game of making it back to the Finals, losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Celtics.
So much happened for the Heat during the 2021-22 season and it seemed like they never had consistency with their lineups and rotations. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry all missed chunks of time due to injuries, which ultimately hurt Miami’s chances to find success.
However, this allowed the rest of the team to prove their worth and as a result, the Heat showed the rest of the league that they were a very deep team. Tyler Herro ended up winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, Caleb Martin proved his worth out on the wing and Gabe Vincent really stepped into a much larger role in the backcourt as a primary playmaker and ball-handler for Miami in Lowry’s absence.
Averaging career-highs in points (8.7), assists (3.1), rebounds (1.9), three-point shooting percentage (36.8 percent) and minutes (23.4), Vincent’s third season in the NBA has helped solidify the fact that the Miami Heat are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Preparing for training camp before the start of the 2022-23 NBA season, Vincent took some time to talk to Fastbreak on FanNation recently and he discussed what his journey in the league has been like, as well as what we should expect to see from the Miami Heat this upcoming season.
Gabe Vincent: The focus this offseason has been becoming a more well-rounded and efficient player, especially on the offensive-end of the floor. It may not be realistic to see a massive increase in shots per game heading into my fourth season, but what is realistic is for me to impact the game in more ways than one. Being aggressive and playing hard defensively will not only help me take the next step in my career, but it will help the team grow as a whole.
GV: I have been blessed to have some amazing, experienced teammates. Kyle [Lowry] and Jimmy [Butler] have helped me a lot, as have Udonis Haslem, P.J. Tucker, Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder. The more I have been around the league, the more I realize how rare it is to have the veteran leadership I have experienced during my time in Miami. It is something I have not taken for granted and to be honest, I am like a sponge when it comes to learning from these guys. Being able to pick their brain and understand the way the NBA works and how to have the right mental approach each and every day, even on days we are not playing, is something I am very grateful for.
GV: My main focus was to try and impact one thing and that was winning. I had a great offseason last year in terms of competing and I ended up playing a lot of competitive basketball. Continuing to play in the offseason was useful and helped me bring that competitive edge into the following 2021-22 season. This offseason has been a little different due to the fact that I have not played with the Nigerian national team this summer, but I have had a lot more time to just work on my craft and my body. Spending time with my family and having some time to focus on my personal life has also been great for my mental health. From my perspective, what ultimately proved to be the difference was the fact that I was always competing at the highest level and as a result, I constantly got better in multiple areas.
GV: I love it. I love the camps, I love being around the kids and helping them grow in the game. Basketball is a universal language and I tend to learn just as much from these kids and other players as they learn from me every single year. Being able to go back to my community and my high school to put on that clinic for the kids means the world to me. I do not know if I will ever be able to repay that community for the impact they have had on my life, but that will not stop me from trying my best to do so. You never know who you are going to inspire and whose day, whose world, you may make from a small act of kindness. I know how meaningful these small things are for the kids because when I was young, I did not get to go to NBA games and I was not as fortunate as others. I see some of these kids that look at me like I am living their dream life and when I look back, I was once that kid dreaming too. Hopefully I will be able to continue doing these camps and give back to my community for many years to come.
GV: I think any time you are on a mission or on a difficult journey like this it is natural for one to have doubts. At the same time though, these doubts motivate you and push you to strive for more. Of course I have had some doubts to this point, but I am always keeping a positive mentality and focusing on what I have done well instead of any negative aspects of my journey. Being consistent and constantly pushing myself helps me reach my goals on and off the basketball court.
GV: I think we are in a very unique position. We brought a lot of guys back from this past season and I think our learning curve will be much less as a result. Already being comfortable and having the chemistry that we have with one another allows us to continue focusing on the bigger, championship-like goals that we have. We know what we are capable of and having that bad taste in our mouths from what happened this past postseason is just extra motivation. For us, our mentality this preseason is “championship or bust” and we know that we have what it takes to get back to the NBA Finals.
GV: The biggest lesson is that everything matters. That is the one thing we value and the groundwork we do in a few weeks here in training camps sets the framework for how things will be in April, May and June in the playoffs. No matter what happens over the course of the season, keeping the big picture on our minds is what will help us find long-term success.
GV: I think it is tough not to say ‘Boy Wonder’ here. I am going to go with Tyler Herro. His personality kind of embraced being the one with all the swag because of the fact of how confident he is. He shows this not just with how he dresses for practices and walking into the arena ahead of games like you've seen, but he shows it with the way he plays as well. His confidence is the first thing you notice about his game and Tyler has done a phenomenal job in his role early on in his career. The sky's the limit for him.
GV: Those who say that Jimmy Butler is not a great teammate have probably never met Jimmy nor been in the locker room with him. Everyone loves Jimmy and the biggest thing that sticks out about him as a person is that he not only expects excellence from himself, but from everyone else around him as well. If he is going to do something, he is going to do it at 110 percent and he is not going to 'half-step' the coffee. He may not be Starbucks with a thousand chains, but Big Face coffee is elite. I will endorse his coffee any day of the week!
GV: I am definitely still growing and becoming a well-rounded guard. I believe I am unique in the way I play both offense and defense and that is really why I am here with the Heat today. In terms of ranking amongst others in the NBA, I am going to let you all handle that, but I am excited for my growth in this position and in the league. I know I am just scratching the surface of my potential and I am excited to get back out there and compete for a championship.
GV: I want to increase my numbers across the board. More specifically, I want to increase my efficiency because in doing so, the team as a whole will grow and get better. This applies to my assist-to-turnover ratio as well. Taking care of the basketball and getting us extra possessions is key for me personally, that way we as a whole have a real chance to make our dreams and goals our reality.
GV: When you watch someone play the game, you get a pretty good idea for the kind of person they are. I think I have always had a pretty serious approach and very professional with the way I conduct myself on and off the floor. When you look at someone like Udonis Haslem and the way he has approached his career every single day, you get a pretty good idea of who he is as a person. For me, to have my character defined by the way I work, the way I compete and the way I am there for my teammates is what I ultimately want.
GV: For us, the goal is always the same and that is to be the last team standing when all is said and done. We are going to get back to work soon so we can be playing late into June and there is nobody within this organization that does not think that this is not possible. We know who we are and our mistakes through the years have helped us learn what we need to do in order to be the last team standing. 
Brett Siegel joined Fastbreak on FanNation as a credentialed NBA journalist in April 2022 after previously covering the NBA for NBA Analysis Network and working with Louisville Basketball, aiding in daily operations, scouting and recruiting. From playing to coaching to covering the game as a media member, Brett has been involved with the game of basketball from many different perspectives. Breaking the news of All-Star Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers in 2021, yearly NBA Draft news and other key stories around the league, Brett is always on the phone, getting the latest news and rumors around the NBA. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.


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James has found ultimate joy all through his 23-year-long journalism career by writing for national and international newspapers, websites, and blogs. From technology to politics to sports to entertainment, he has been able to express ideas and pen opinion pieces on whatever triggers his interest.