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Breaking down Jaime Jaquez Jr. and the Miami Heat’s 2023 undrafted free agents

The Miami Heat drafted Jaime Jaquez Jr. and signed 5 undrafted free agents on Thursday. Breaking down Jaquez and the undrafted players.

NBA: NBA Draft
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat came out of the 2023 NBA Draft with UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. as their selection with the No. 18 overall pick. Miami has also signed five undrafted players after the NBA Draft concluded to this point.

What does Jaquez bring to the Heat and what do Miami’s undrafted signees provide for the organization’s summer league team?

Read More: 2023 NBA Draft selections, including the Miami Heat

Miami Heat draft Jaime Jaquez Jr. with the No. 18 pick

Miami Heat/Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Mar 23, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Mick Cronin stands with guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) during the second half of the game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat drafted UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. on Thursday night and it has brought up many questions about the 22-year-old’s style of play. What does he bring to Miami as the team is looking to return to the NBA Finals?

Jaquez is a player that screams Heat Culture as he makes winning plays on the floor when it matters. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 48.1% from the field in his senior season with UCLA.

While Jaquez struggled a little bit with his free throws, he uses ball fakes well to draw fouls. In fact, it is reasonable to say there is a little bit of Jimmy Butler in his game as he can get his own shot in isolation situations.

It is easy to see why the Heat like him as a player. Jaquez is growing into a knockdown shooter but Miami also covets his defensive ability. The former UCLA guard’s frame allows him to play physically and hold his own in the paint against big men.

However, Jaquez can struggle to guard quicker players. Thankfully, his high motor gives him the potential to fix that area of his game. If he can find a way to improve his athleticism a little bit more, Jaquez can become a steal in the NBA Draft.

Overall, this was a very solid selection from the Heat with the No. 18 pick. Cam Whitmore from Villanova was surprisingly still on the board; however, there might not be a prospect that fits in the Heat’s system as well as Jaquez.

Related: Miami Heat pursuing star players after loss in NBA Finals, 3 realistic trades

Miami Heat’s undrafted player signings in 2023

Justin Powell, guard, Washington St.

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at Washington
Mar 2, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Justin Powell (24) attempts a three-pointer against the Washington Huskies during the second half at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Powell was actually predicted to join the Heat on a two-way contract before the 2023 NBA Draft in our realistic predictions for the team’s offseason. Powell, 22, has an excellent shot from the three-point line and was Miami’s first reported signing.

The 22-year-old averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 42.6% from the three-point line during the 2022-’23 season with Washington St. Powell previously spent two years at Auburn and Tennessee.

Powell is a solid overall player who will space the floor and take good shots. Plus, he is a good passer and averaged under one turnover per game in his last two seasons of college basketball. Needless to say, there is a lot to like about Powell.

The former Washington St. guard feels like the Heat’s next diamond in the rough. Miami has developed good shooters, such as Duncan Robinson and Max Strus, so there should be confidence that Powell could be heading down the same road if he has a strong NBA Summer League.

Read More: Miami Heat realistic predictions for the 2023 NBA offseason

Patrick Gardner, center, Marist

NCAA Basketball: MAAC Conference Tournament Championship - Marist vs Iona
Mar 11, 2023; Atlantic City, NJ, USA; Marist Red Foxes forward Patrick Gardner (33) shoots the ball against Iona Gaels forward Nelly Junior Joseph (13) during the first half at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Gardner is an interesting prospect that would actually fit perfectly alongside Bam Adebayo if he were to ever make a significant jump and stick around in the league. Gardner, 24, is a skilled big man who shoots very well from beyond the arc.

The 24-year-old center averaged 19.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 38.3% from the three-point line on 4.5 attempts per game with Marist during the 2022-’23 season. Garnder had an incredible journey that started at Nassau Community College in New York.

Gardner’s shot is the most intriguing area within his style of play. For being 6-foot-11, it is impressive to see his passing and driving abilities. Gardner also performed well in DHOs and P&Ps with Marist.

While his defense is nothing special, the former Marist center can hold his own and not commit frequent fouls. The big questions will be if Gardner can go to his right as a left-handed player and whether or not his overall athleticism will be enough for the NBA.

Related: Miami Heat backed out on Bradley Beal for reasons not tied to Damian Lillard

Taylor Funk, forward, Utah St.

NCAA Basketball: Utah State at San Diego State
Jan 25, 2023; San Diego, California, USA; Utah State Aggies forward Taylor Funk (23) shoots the ball past San Diego State Aztecs forward Nathan Mensah (31) during the second half at Viejas Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Funk spent six seasons in college basketball with five of them coming at St. Joseph’s. Then, Funk, 26, joined Utah St. for his sixth and final season. While the former Utah St. forward is on the older side for a prospect, there are intriguing areas to his game.

Funk averaged 13.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists while shooting 45.1% from the field during the 2022-’23 season. The 26-year-old forward also shoots well from deep as he averaged a 35.7% shooting rate throughout his college basketball career.

This is the most notable area for Funk as he makes the jump to the next level. In fact, it is easy to notice a trend from the Heat to this point. The organization has pursued players that can shoot well from the three-point line and Funk checks that box.

Funk may not be the best defender but his offensive game is pretty impressive. It will be interesting to see how he performs on the defensive end of the floor in the NBA Summer League against players with more talent.

Related: Miami Heat’s Pat Riley has eye-opening quote about potential blockbuster trade

Caleb Daniels, guard, Villanova

NCAA Basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall
Feb 28, 2023; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Caleb Daniels (14) at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Daniels is another player that spent six seasons in college basketball; however, one of those was spent sitting after he transferred from Tulane to Villanova. Daniels, 24, helped bring Villanova to the Final Four during the 2021-’22 season.

The 24-year-old guard averaged 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 39.4% from the field in his final year with Villanova. While Daniels only shot 33.2% from the three-point line last season, he previously performed well with Jay Wright as head coach.

Daniels is a decent shooter who has good strength. This translates to the defensive side of the floor as he is a solid defender; however, he can suffer lapses defensively. Still, Daniels’ profile fits the other undrafted free agents as he can shoot the ball well.

The former Villanova guard does not have an elite shot selection or playmaking skills but his ability to knock down shots remains intriguing. If Daniels can work on his shot selection and defense, he has a real shot at sticking around in the NBA.

Related: Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns’ trade offers for Bradley Beal reportedly revealed

Drew Peterson, forward, USC

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Southern California vs Michigan State
Mar 17, 2023; Columbus, OH, USA; USC Trojans guard Drew Peterson (13) dribbles the ball defended by Michigan State Spartans forward Malik Hall (25) in the first half at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Peterson spent five years in college basketball with Rice and USC but is not as old as Funk or Daniels at 23 years old. Peterson is a point forward and should be one player to really watch on Miami’s NBA Summer League team.

The 23-year-old forward averaged 13.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists while shooting 44.2% from the field in his final college basketball season. Peterson matches the pattern of the Heat’s pursuit of good three-point shooters as he shot 35.8% from beyond the arc in his college career.

Peterson excels at scoring off the ball as the offensive side of the floor is his strongest attribute. The former USC forward is a decent defender but needs to add strength and remain disciplined on that end of the floor.

There is much to like about Peterson’s style of play as he rebounds well and has decent playmaking abilities. The inability to create his own shot and score in traffic will be an issue; however, Peterson could thrive in Miami’s development system.