Basketball

The Rise of Omer Yurtseven

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Since the fall of superstar center, Bam Adebayo, to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb at the end of November, the Miami Heat have went 14-8 overall and 7-3 over their last 10 games. One bright spot that has entranced Heat fans has been the rise of Omer Yurtseven, NBA G League diamond.

From his early career playing professional basketball in Turkey, to playing college basketball at NC State and Georgetown, to joining the Oklahoma City Blue in the NBA G League, to signing with the Miami Heat, Omer Yurtseven has not had an easy journey to stardom.

In this Eastern Conference Playoff Prediction article, Yurtseven was described as a “defensive specialist and undiscovered diamond.” The Heat have went 7-3 since Yurtseven became a starter.

Recent Big Play

As most of the NBA is watching, Omer Yurtseven is blossoming into a major force with the Miami Heat. Since becoming a starter, the 23 year-old 7-footer has averaged 13.6 PPG and 13.9 RPG on 54.5% shooting, including big games against the:

  • Houston Rockets – 10 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks
  • Sacramento Kings – 22 points and 16 rebounds on 61.1% shooting
  • Phoenix Suns – 7 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
  • Atlanta Hawks – 17 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists on 77.8% shooting
  • Philadelphia 76ers – 22 points and 11 rebounds on 83.3% shooting

Yurtseven has posted double-digit rebounds in 14 consecutive games and had 13+ rebounds in 8 of those 14 games. Over his last 3 games, he’s also shot the ball at an outstanding 75.9% clip.

What to Expect With Bam’s Return

With Bam Adebayo expected to make his return sooner rather than later, what does this mean for the budding talent of Yurtseven? Don’t be surprised if you see him stepping into a new role.

Before Adebayo’s injury, Yurtseven was looking at around 3 minutes of play per game in the 13 games he played in, compared to the almost 24 mpg he’s seen since Adebayo went down. Heat fans should expect Yurtseven to continue burdening a strong load while Adebayo works his way back to all-star caliber play.

In the future, anticipate Yurtseven to fully embrace his backup center role in the Heat’s new rotation, averaging between 17 and 24 mpg.

Miami Heat leader Jimmy Butler wants Yurtseven to “know that your time is going to come again.”

I think he has put the league on notice with how he rebounds the basketball, how he guards and obviously how he scores… understand that just because Bam is back doesn’t mean you don’t go about everything the exact same way.”

Jimmy Butler

Playoff Picture

The Heat (27-16) currently sit in third place in a tight Eastern Conference race, only one game back from the number one seed Chicago Bulls (27-14).

Fans and players alike have seen Omer Yurtseven bang with some of the best big men in the NBA:

  • 13 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks against Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, and the Indiana Pacers.
  • 10 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks against Christian Wood and the Houston Rockets.
  • 16 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals against Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns.
  • 22 points and 11 rebounds on 83% shooting against Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

If Yurtseven can keep improving while working alongside Adebayo, the Miami Heat could be a scary playoff matchup, and a rebounding and defensive nightmare for the rest of the league.

The rise of Omer Yurtseven could mean more than just 10 good games.


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