The Miami Heat are poised to be one of the more fascinating teams to watch this offseason.
On the back of an incredible playoff run in the bubble that saw them reach the NBA Finals, the Heat are now firmly entrenched among a group of contending teams in the Eastern Conference. With pick No. 20 at their disposal, Miami face plenty of options of how to utilise their first-round selection at the Nov. 18 draft.
Recent draft history
Pat Riley and the Heat front office have enjoyed plenty of recent success in the first-round, albeit they have only used their pick in odd years dating back to the 2015 draft.
- 2015 - Justise Winslow (pick No. 10)
- 2017 - Bam Adebayo (pick No. 14)
- 2019 - Tyler Herro (pick No. 13)
While Winslow has battled health concerns after a promising start to his career, the Heat still managed to trade him at the 2020 trade deadline in a 3-team trade that ultimately netted key rotation pieces in Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala.
Bam Adebayo was an All-Star in 2020 for the first time as well as being named to an All-Defensive team, while Tyler Herro pieced together a historic playoff run, averaging 16 points per game across 21 appearances as a 20-year-old.
While the pick in 2020 is slightly lower on the board than the above trio, Heat fans will feel confident of plucking another immediate contributor in this year's draft.
Why they are likely to take the pick
The NBA's Stepien rule prevents teams from trading consecutive first-round picks.
Given Miami selected Herro 12 months ago, you could be fooled into believing that means this year's selection could be live in trade discussions prior to draft night, but the franchise's 2021 selection is owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder unprotected, meaning the Heat will almost certainly have a player put on a Heat cap on draft night.
It is possible that Miami could make a trade for a 2021 first rounder prior to draft night and then move their own pick but with less than two weeks until the night and the trade window not yet open this seems unlikely.
It should be noted that it is legal to make a selection on draft night and then trade that player in a later deal.
Is there a position of need?
The two main pieces of the Heat offseason puzzle are free agents Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder. Both were critical rotation players in the bubble and the franchise would certainly love to bring them back as long as it doesn't interfere with their well known plans of hopefully attracting Giannis Antetokounmpo next offseason.
With Crowder no certainty to return and Derrick Jones Jr. also a free agent, the Heat could stand to add some depth on the wing, although, across the board this is an extremely deep roster.
With the playmaking of Butler and Adebayo, surrounded by the shooting prowess of Herro and Duncan Robinson, any draftee that is a versatile defender with the ability to knock down the outside shot could figure to see some playing time across what is likely to be a compressed regular-season schedule after a late start.
Which prospect fits the bill?
If versatile defence and shooting is indeed the recipe, Josh Green out of Arizona could be the perfect player for the Heat.
Kyle Irving mocked Green to Miami in his latest draft and had this to say about his defensive capabilities:
"On defence, he has the size at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan to defend any guard or wing and is an on-ball pest with a knack for filling passing lanes when he's off-ball."
Given Erik Spoelstra's willingness to switch on defense, particularly on the wings, Green's athleticism could be a nice fit in his system. He also knocked down 36.1 percent of his attempts from three, though, it remains to be seen if that would hold over a larger sample size at the NBA level.
Another potential option could be Desmond Bane out of TCU. Bane can split time between the guard and forward positions and spent four years in college, knocking down 43 percent of his outside attempts. The benefit of adding the 22-year-old Bane would be his readiness to compete straight away which could be an enticing option for a franchise looking for as many contributors as possible in their pursuit of an NBA Championship.
After the success of Herro and undrafted duo Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, all eyes will be on Miami on Nov.18 to see if they can strike gold once more.
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