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Blue standout Omer Yurtseven signed by Heat

After the conclusion of the Oklahoma City Blue’s regular season in Orlando, two names stood out — Moses Brown — and Omer Yurtseven.

For Moses Brown, his leap to the NBA took nothing more than a recall from the Thunder. Under his two-way contract, the UCLA alum trotted right into the big leagues on a mission, he’s now the full-time starter, and on a multi-year deal.

The path for Yurtseven has not been as smooth. Since March, Yurtseven has been on the grid showing signs of working out and training, but week-by-week, month-by-month, G-League players were inked to contracts — Yurtseven was not one of them.

That all changed Thursday afternoon however, as per team release, Omer Yurtseven has inked a contract with the Miami Heat.

Yurtseven’s contract details have not been made public by the franchise (as per policy), but as league sources told the Miami Herald, the deal should latch on a non-guaranteed second year.

Playing behind Moses Brown, Yurtseven went from being a top backup to a top big man in the Orlando bubble in a matter of a couple of weeks. In 14 games (1 start) with the Blue, Omer averaged 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks playing almost solely off the bench. What may be the biggest stat on his season doesn’t come from his accolades on the floor, it comes in the time he made those accolades. On average, he only played 21.1 minutes a game.

Yurtseven’s 20-minute runs remained a constant for the better portion of the season, but as Moses Brown received more and more attention from the big leagues (getting rested as a result), he dominated in the limelight. Among Yurtseven’s biggest games, he buried 26 points in 21 minutes, and in the very next game (only start of the year) he sent in 34 points in 35 minutes — Moses Brown’s highest point output on the season was 26.

Yurtseven’s games, big or not, hardly gained any noise outside of small circles this season because unlike a quick-footed, hyperactive big man in Moses Brown — his game focused more on the fundamentals.

The 7-footer used his size to gain positioning on boards and corral rebounds. Yurtseven’s prominence on the glass carried not just on defense, but also on offense, ranking second behind Moses Brown in ORP (Offensive Rebound Percentage) at 15.2.

Offensively, Yurtseven’s game projected a typical 7-footer in the G-League, set a screen, get an entry pass, and bully-ball your way inside. That’s ultimately how the Hoya operated at the beginning of the year, primarily hoisting up second chances or towering his man with a hook shot — but his playstyle developed in waves over time.

He originally started with screens and took shots in the post — but then those post hooks turned to post jumpers. If his man sagged off on a high-ball screen, he gravitated at the free-throw line — hit him, and he’d record a quick 15-footer with no hesitancy. By the last five games, his calling card was the pick-and-pop, though, his rolls to the basket yielded results too.

Yurtseven’s body of work culminated in the final five games of the year as with the Blue hitting a cold spell from deep, Yurtseven became the team’s top option. The Turk ended the year on a 7-of-12 (58.3%) hot-streak from deep, bolstering his season average to 38.1% on 1.5 attempts a game.

Yurtseven’s ability to box-out, rebound, and play in the post all fell in line with a traditional center, but if his pick-and-pop game, ideally from the three, shapes out — he should have an NBA career ahead of him. Yurtseven tried to blossom a perimeter game with the Georgetown Hoya’s but he never really shaped up, shooting just 21.4% on 0.5 attempts. Since then, Yurtseven has stayed committed to his jumper, sticking to his pledge to attempt 20,000 shots a month since graduation.

If the trajectory is linear with Yurtseven, he’ll have an opportunity to yield similar production Al Horford gave the Thunder this season in a condensed bench role. At 22, he’s still in the process of development meaning he may not be entirely tapped out. See him as an offensive-oriented five who won’t wow you with speed, but will produce with the basics. At worst, he’ll be your typical backup five, screens, rebounds, and some interior defense. At best, he can grow into a pick-and-pop threat who will give Erik Spoelstra an extra kick off the bench.

With Omer’s signing, he became the third member of Oklahoma City’s G-League team to receive an NBA contract of an exhibit-10 deal. He joins Jaylen Hoard (Thunder) and Chasson Randle (Magic) in this category, being the lone member on a full-scale contract as Hoard and Randle are finishing two-way deals. Also with the signing, Omer reconnects with Moses Brown as the only two players on the team to receive NBA contracts after their displays in the G-League.

Omer Yurtseven will wear no. 77 for the Heat and is expected to join the team for the NBA playoffs.

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