A year ago, Gabe Vincent mostly found himself in an either/or situation with Kyle Lowry. This season, that wasn’t assured either, after Victor Oladipo returned for two seasons.

But with Oladipo sidelined once again with a knee problem, and Tyler Hero and his ball-handling skills moving to the starting unit, Vincent not only established himself as the Miami Heat’s primary backup. Found in Lowry as a point guard, but also playing with Lowry at times. of the truth

As has been the case in each of Vincent’s four seasons with the Heat, it’s been just another case of stepping up to a challenge, much like the G League’s undrafted prospect to play last season. The key component of Off was to work your way up.

“I mean, I love playing with Kyle,” Vincent told the Sun Sentinel, as the Heat begin a three-game Western swing against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Wednesday night. “I mean, we saw a little bit of it last season, maybe not in the playoffs. But we saw pieces of it and I think we had success at that point.

“I think in his career he’s always had another guard that plays well with him. And for me, obviously I benefit a lot from him, his playmaking ability and his With the ability to score and bounce. It allows me to truly be a combo.”

For Vincent, who was asked to make the transition from undersized shooting guard to point guard, it’s all a matter of coming together as he looks to cash in during next summer’s free agency.

“He spent a lot of time on the floor last year with me getting hurt,” Lowry said. “I think this experience has boosted his confidence even more.

“I think he’s just finding a way to be himself and be involved and figure out who he’s going to be, how good he can be, how talented he can be. That’s a lot of questions. asks, but he’s also very smart. He’s a hybrid guy who’s a scorer, but he can do both with leadership, get everybody involved and still get it. He’s just himself. looking for.”

To an extent, this also stands as a description of Oladipo. The difference with Vincent is availability in addition to ability.

“He’s such a Swiss Army knife for a combo guard, because he can guard. He can guard the three and four, which is really unique for someone his size,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of the 6-foot-6. 3 said of the 22-year-old. “But he has this very aggressive nature. He can really get into a position. He likes to challenge it.

“He’s a great understudy for Kyle. Kyle is one of those guys who can really guard as well as anybody in the history of the game. And Gabi really watches him closely.

In the wake of a breakout playoff series against Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks in the first round last season, Vincent arrived at camp with the confidence of a roster largely intact.

“Gab is good,” forward Jimmy Butler said. “He can shoot the ball. He can finish well around the rim. He plays with a lot of energy. He knows every position from almost every game. I love him and Kyle and him playing together. It gives Kyle an opportunity to play off the ball, to get out of the pin down. Gabe is so unselfish that he’s trying to give him the ball and get everyone involved.

“The dude has been working for a long time to prove that he belongs in this league, which he does. And I think going to another team, he could be a starter. But I’m happy. That he is with my team.

Depending on the late-game situation, Vincent-Lowry is now likely to be like Hero-Lowry, with Vincent having no problem being part of such an offense-defense alternating pattern in Hero’s scoring gap.

“I mean whatever the coach needs, whatever the coach asks of me, and whatever I can do to help this team win, I want to be a part of it,” Vincent said. said “Obviously, I love being on the court. So if I can get on the court to have an impact on a win, I will. And if it’s Tyler Sabb, there’s no doubting his scoring abilities. . I have no question about it either way.”