Worst Heat Draft Picks

5 Worst Heat Draft Picks of All-Time

Entering their 34th season of existence, the Miami Heat find themselves without a selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. In five previous drafts (’96, ’06, ’13, ’16 and ’18), the Heat did not make a selection of any kind. But in the years they have made selections, their hit-rate has been spotty. Miami has found itself in the draft lottery 14 times, and some of those selections represent the worst Heat draft picks of all-time.

While it remains to be seen how the 2021 NBA Draft will play out, here’s a look at the five worst Heat draft picks of all-time.

 

First, a Quick Look at a few Regrettable Trades

Without a pick entering the evening’s festivities, there is precedent for Miami trading into the first round. In 1996, Pat Riley reshaped the Heat roster following a playoff sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. Sound familiar?

That year, Riley sent a future first round selection to Utah for the draft rights to Martin Müürsepp. The 6-9 Estonian proved to be something of a reach and developed very little in a Heat uniform. All told, Müürsepp played 10 games for Miami before being packaged with Sasha Danilović and Kurt Thomas to the Mavericks for Jamal Mashburn.

Picking Müürsepp at 25 helped yield an impactful player for Miami, yes. But there were other, better players on the board during the 1996 NBA Draft. Namely, Jerome Williams (26), Malik Rose (44) and Shandon Anderson (54), among others.

What compounds this regrettable move is the inclusion of the 2000 1st rounder, a selection that eventually became DeShawn Stevenson.

The other bad trade came in 1992. The Heat sent their ’93 first and rookie Isaiah Morris (a ’92 second round pick) to Detroit for veteran center John Salley. Although Salley proved useful for three seasons, Miami left him unprotected in the 1995 expansion draft and Toronto plucked him.

That ’93 first Miami surrendered? It became Lindsey Hunter at No. 10. Some of the other players on the board at that time were Allan Houston (yes, that Allan Houston) and Sam Cassell.

Related: 5 Best Heat Draft Picks of All-Time

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Willie Burton (No. 9, 1990)

Worst Heat Draft Picks

Lady Luck didn’t smile on Miami in 1990. In the first year of the weighted lottery system, the Heat held the second-best odds for the No. 1 overall selection. That season, Derrick Coleman was expected to go first. Future Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton stood as the likely No. 2 pick. But instead of landing the Glove 15 years before he’d make it to Miami, the Heat slipped to No. 3.

Prior to the draft, Lewis Schaffel, first GM in Heat history, dealt that selection to Denver for the ninth and fifteenth picks that year. Schaffel said at the time the difference between third and the ninth was “not huge. There might not be any.”

There was.

Third overall turned out to be Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (nee Chris Jackson). The Heat chose Willie Burton from Minnesota at nine. Over eight NBA seasons, Burton posted a minus-0.9 VORP (Value-Over-Replacement-Player), 39th in the class, and 9.1 Win Shares, 23rd in the class.

Burton played well as a rookie, averaging 12 PPG and earning a spot the NBA’s All-Rookie second team. But his production cratered from there. After four seasons, Miami waived him. Burton got revenge in 1994 when, as a 76er, he scored a career-high 53 points against the Heat.

Going into ’90-’91, the Heat had need at power forward and shooting guard. By swapping No. 3 and No. 9, the team missed out on Dennis Scott (4) and Kendall Gill (5). Miami could’ve used Tyrone Hill (11), too.

Miami used No. 15 overall to take guard Dave Jamerson, who they traded to Houston with their No. 30 pick Carl Herrera for power forward Alec Kessler. Other players Miami missed out on in 1990 included Elden Campbell (27), Toni Kukoč (29), Antonio Davis (45) and Cedric Ceballos (48).

 

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Khalid Reeves (No. 12, 1994)

Worst Heat Draft Picks

Heading into the 1994 NBA Draft, the Heat were coming of the first winning season in franchise history. As the 8-seed in the playoffs, Miami nearly upset the top-seeded Hawks, losing in the deciding Game 5 of the series. A year after not having a first-round pick, Miami held the No. 12 selection overall, the first outside the lottery.

Miami lost Brian Shaw to free agency and waived Burton, so the team needed guard depth. The promising young core of Glen Rice, Steve Smith and Rony Seikaly seemed ready to vault up the Eastern Conference and drafting Jalen Rose could have provided just the playmaker Miami needed.

But that’s not what Schaffel did. Instead of taking Rose, Miami selected Khalid Reeves at No. 12. A 6-3 scorer from Arizona, Reeves was miscast as a point guard in Miami. He provided very little production as a rookie and stood by as Schaffel and Billy Cunningham retooled the roster. Miami missed the playoffs and Micky Arison assumed controlling interest in the franchise. Arison brought in Pat Riley who included Reeves in his franchise-altering trade for Alonzo Mourning.

Reeves played six seasons in the NBA, but just one for Miami, making him arguably one of the worst Heat draft picks of all-time. He posted a 1.0 VORP (19th in class) and 8.4 Win Shares (22nd in the class).

On the board at the time of his selection: Rose (13), Aaron McKie (17), Wesley Person (23) and Charlie Ward (26).

Heat legend Voshon Lenard was drafted No. 46 overall by Milwaukee. Miami passed him over in the second round, opting instead for Oklahoma forward Jeff Webster. Riley would sign Lenard as a free agent on December 29, 1995.

 

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Michael Beasley (No. 2, 2008)

Worst Heat Draft PicksTo include Michael Beasley’s name on this list is to court the ire of #HeatTwitter. Beasley remains oddly beloved in Miami, despite limited production and questionable behavior.

The ‘07-‘08 Heat season couldn’t have gone any worse. Their 15-67 mark tied the expansion club for the worst record in franchise history. It was Riley’s last season as head coach and Zo’s last as a player. Dwyane Wademissed time with injuries and Shaquille O’Neal was shipped off. The second half of the season saw Miami trot out lineups that included Blake Ahearn, Stéphane Lasme, Smush Parker and Kasib Powell. The only hope was the 2008 NBA Draft.

Miami held the best odds for No. 1, which would’ve landed Derrick Rose. But at the lottery, Chicago jumped eight places to steal the first pick, pushing the Heat to No. 2. Prior to the draft, it was said that Miami preferred O.J. Mayo. The Heat were trying to trade down and get some cap relief, but when there were no takers, Miami selected Beasley.

Taking Mayo would’ve also been one of the worst Heat draft picks of all-time, considering the names following. Russell Westbrook (4), Kevin Love (5) and Brook Lopez (10) have all been far superior NBA players than both Beas and Mayo.

Beasley’s posted a 0.9 VORP (25th in the class) and 15.6 Win Shares (28th in the class) during his career. Miami moved Beasley to the Timberwolves in 2010 to clear cap space, ultimately allowing them to assemble the Big-3: Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Beasley’s winding career has made two stops in Miami since.

And who knows? Maybe fourth time’s a charm.

 

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Justise Winslow (No. 10, 2015)

Worst Heat Draft PicksAlthough #JustiseBetter was a thing for a considerable amount of time, there’s no escaping the fact that Justise Winslow remains a disappointment to Heat faithful. At the time of his selection, however, people lauded Miami’s choice.

The do-it-all forward entered the 2015 NBA Draft coming off a National Championship and even drew comparisons to (gasp) Grant Hill. But in the end, inconsistency and injuries ultimately landed Winslow among the worst Heat draft picks of all-time.

Two things color the Winslow selection beyond his underwhelming play and limited availability.

First, reports floated around immediately after the draft and in the intervening years that Boston Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge coveted Winslow so much that he offered a package of six draft picks to trade up. This offer was reportedly made to Detroit, which held the No. 8 pick, Charlotte (No. 9) and Miami (No. 10). All three teams rebuffed Boston, opting instead to draft Stanley Johnson, Frank Kaminsky and Winslow in succession. In retrospect, Miami might have done well with six additional picks, including four firsts.

Second, Miami missed out on a potentially franchise-altering player in Devin Booker, who went No. 13 to Phoenix. Some of the others on the board between Winslow and Miami’s second round pick (No. 40, Josh Richardson) included Myles Turner (11), Kelly Oubre Jr (15), Terry Rozier (16), Delon Wright (20), Bobby Portis (22) and Montrezl Harrell (32).

Miami traded Winslow on February 6, 2020 in a three-team deal that saw the Heat land  Jae CrowderSolomon Hill and Andre Iguodala. Those three helped propel Miami to the 2020 NBA Finals.

Winslow, meanwhile, has posted a minus-0.2 VORP (32nd in the class) and 7.0 Win Shares (25th in the class) over six spotty seasons.

 

Worst Heat Draft Picks: Harold Miner (No. 12, 1992)

Worst Heat Draft PicksThe 1992 NBA Draft stands as a turning point in league history. Orlando won the lottery and the right to select Shaq, while Charlotte moved up six spots to land Zo. Minnesota slipped to No. 3 overall, settling for Christian Laettner.

The Heat held No. 12 after making the franchise’s first playoff appearance. The Bulls swept Miami out of the first round that year, so it’s fitting that the Heat wound up with “Baby Jordan.”

Harold Miner earned Sports Illustrated’s player of the year over Laettner, Mourning and O’Neal in 1992, averaging 26.3 points- and seven rebounds-per-game for USC. Most mocks had Miner as a top-10 pick, some going as high as No. 3. So it was a surprise for him to be there when Miami picked at 12.

At the time, Miami needed another rebounder and frontcourt enforcer to compliment the young core of Rice, Seikaly and Smith. The quintessential Heat enforcer was on the board, too. P.J. Brown went 29th to New Jersey. Instead, Miami opted for Miner, who never really fit.

Miner played three unremarkable seasons with the Heat (save for his two Slam Dunk Contest victories). He posted a minus-0.9 VORP (42nd in the class) and 4.2 Win Shares (29th in the class). Miami traded him to Cleveland in 1995 as part of a second-round pick swap.

Among the other players on the board at No. 12 besides Brown: Anthony Peeler (15), Doug Christie (17), Hubert Davis (20) and four-time All-Star Latrell Sprewell (24).

What makes Miner arguably the worst of the Heat draft picks of all-time is that Sprewell probably changes the trajectory of the franchise at that point. He was immediately an elite defender and quickly became a go-to scorer. He might’ve been the missing piece for the franchise’s initial young core.

 

Heat’s Strange Connection to the 1992 Draft

Ironically, the Heat rostered eight of the first 10 players selected in the 1992 draft: O’Neal, Mourning, Laettner, Jim Jackson, LaPhonso Ellis, Walt Williams, Todd Day and Clarence Weatherspoon.

Beyond those eight, there was also Miner, Brown, Don MacLean (19), Matt Geiger (42), Sasha Danilović (43) and Matt Fish (50). Miami drafted Isaiah Morris in the second round (37) but traded him to Detroit as part of the package to acquire Salley in ‘92. That makes 15 of 48 players (31 percent) who actually played in the NBA from this draft were one-time members of the Miami Heat.

Also of note, the Heat’s selection of Geiger with the No. 42 overall selection came thanks to a trade made with the Los Angeles Lakers. In a pre-expansion draft deal on June 23, 1988, LA sent a future 1992 2nd round pick to Miami ensuring the Heat would not select Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the expansion draft.

Related: NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Cunningham and company

Miami Dolphins Camp Notes Day 2 (Tua stars, Griffin, X, more)

Day 3 of camp, and the intrigue has just begun. Xavien Howard stretches,then leaves the field. Then returns. Then is seen all smiles with Jason McCourty. Then watches practice. Does a little coaching. Then it is revealed he has a “minor” injury. Exhausting. Moving On!

Tua Tagovailoa. This was a good day. A Strike to Gesicki in traffic, a well placed wheel route for Savon Ahmed for a huge play. Another 65 yard touchdown on a deep corner route to Albert Wilson. Tua Tagovailoa was really sharp today. His Red Zone install work was also very good with very few negative plays. He had very good chemistry with Myles Gaskin on option routes, and those two were a terror near the goal line. This was likely his best practice of the last two training camps.

Byron Jones. Tua Tagovailoa tested Jones on a 9 route with Jaylen Waddle,and the ball was on the money. But so was Byron. Pass break up. With McCourty floating around different units, and Xavien Howard being wherever Xavien Howard is, Byron Jones exhibited great leadership on the field on this day. His play was also a standout on a day where the offense seemed to have a step on the defense. How quickly people forget that at the time of signing, most football people thought Byron Jones was a better cornerback than Howard. He might have to prove that once again.

Albert Wilson. Ok, I might have been wrong. Any thoughts/takes about Albert Wilson possibly being cut are quickly evaporating. With the absence of DeVante Parker (PUP, but he was out there today), and whatever physical issue Will Fuller is dealing with, it has been Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, and rookie Jaylen Waddle to the rescue. Albert Wilson has also started a streak. Wilson has consecutive practices with 65 yard touchdowns on deep routes. Today’s on a deep corner route, that he ran in for a TD and then emphatically spiked the ball. Tua and Albert have a connection early on, and it doesn’t look like it will go away anytime soon. Oh, did I mention, he almost had two 60+ yard TD’s today?

 

Shaquem Griffin. What a breath of fresh air. Huge smile, giddy while answering questions, and will crack a joke or two. His availability with the media was a hit today, but his play is getting notice. He plays fast, fires off the edge like a shot, and has shown an ability to get into his zone in pass coverage with the kind of ease that only Jerome Baker usually displays. He looks the complete football player, they will find a role for. Some good special teams play in the preseason could land him a roster spot, as Griffin has a very useful look to him. Arrow up. Excited to see him in pads come Tuesday.

Mike Gesicki. Enough with Hunter Long already. Maybe Mike Gesicki feels the same way? He sure showed up today, stretching the field deep down the middle, hauling in a tight pass from Tua Tagovailoa for a big gain. He also made a good attempt on another pass where Tua led him too much toward the boundary. Gesicki was looking dangerous today, and reminded all, that he won’t lose his grip on targets anytime soon. Big standout day for Mike. After practice, he also took some extra work on the Juggs machine, as he caught 50 balls from each side (left, right). Welcome to training camp Mike Gesicki.

Practice MVP: Tua Tagovailoa
Struggled: WR Unit (health)

Alfredo Arteaga (@Alf_Arteaga) is one-third of the trio that does the Three Yards Per Carry (@3YardsPerCarry) podcast.

5 from Juan: Observations from First Day of Dolphins Practice

Welcome guys and gals to something I’ll try to do once a week but figured it would be a good time to start my observations which will be about the first day of practice. These are going to be my thoughts and opinions sprinkled in with some facts from people that know or were actually at practice. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

Tua thoughts:

Tua overall had a decent day as he did score some TDs like the long 60 yarder to Albert Wilson and another on a waggle to Shaheen where he looked off Baker with his eyes to fit it in there, he did have 2 interceptions on the day which people love to bring up. One interception was against AVG in a clear miscommunication with Shaheen where he was either between lobbing it up or coming back to the RB. The other was a pass that was described to me as lazy and batted at the line where Baker got the pick. 

Tua after practice talked at length about the differences between this year and last season with how much time he can spend with guys like eating with them and not having to go back home for a 2-hour zoom meeting like they had to do last year because of covid.When asked about the deep ball he talked about “getting everything down with guys, knowing where guys are going to be, and how they run certain routes..”. 

Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly and others have noted him taking the next step of leadership with bringing in guys to work out during the offseason, being a coach on the field, and even after practice where he mentioned “I got to get everyone together talk to the entire offense and I’ll just talk about our evaluation of the day you know how we started how it looks about the middle of practice and then how we finished on and you know I think overall we did pretty good obviously there’s always going to be things we need to brush up and cleanup.” All in all a good first step for Tua, that will give him things to pat himself in the back for while also giving him things to improve and work on. Remember this was all during install, which as our own Alfredo broke down, is just the Offense running the same play sometimes 3 or 4 times in a row with the Defense knowing exactly what’s coming.

Rookie Update:

We know Jaelan Phillips is playing OLB but a clip came out of him in a coverage drill and man did he look good. Phillips looks like a player ready to take on a huge workload as he looked fluid in pass defense sinking his hips and attacking the ball. Waddle as we’ll talk about next took full advantage of some guys being out and was all over the field and moving fast, like really fast. Holland is a rookie playing a position that usually requires a lot of communication which means he needs to know this defense well enough to not only know where he is lining up but also what the rest of the secondary has to do and how they align. Eichenberg having just been signed before the start of camp will probably has his shot to earn a job. Lastly Hunter Long who as more time passes, more people are standing up and realizing that he has legit talent and could really explode and be a top TE in the league.

Fuller leaves practice early

I can confirm Mando’s report of Fuller leaving practice early. Nobody seems to have seen him go down or even limp off the field, but it is something to monitor because of DVP and Preston starting on PUP. Other guys will have opportunities to impress like LBJ, Perry, Foster, Hollins, Albert, and even Waddle who’s probably the biggest benefactor in that he’s probably taking most of the snaps at WR. Wilson also seemed to take advantage on the 60 yard TD (a duck in some of the eyes of our fans) so these are names that based on the injury history of our top guys, will eventually be needed to not just play but also produce.

X showed up and practiced

After the bomb that X and his team dropped the night before the first practice, many assumed he would be pouting or working with less pep in his step, but I can report that he practiced with energy and showed no lack of professionalism with his on-field play. After the initial news hit It took me a while to get my thoughts together and I have to say that I feel the most for Byron Jones who had to withstand shots being thrown by a guy who’s opposite of him. I can report that X made it a fact to go and dap up Byron Jones before practice in front of the media.

Flores Song Selection

Can’t tell me nothing by Kanye west was the song used to start practice and to end it. The lyrics go like this:

We’ve seen in the past Flo send subliminal messages through his music selection but this one is as direct as can be IMO. Flores has press conferences every other day so look for his next interview on Thursday, July 29th, to be the one where he gets bombarded by Xavien Howard questions. Shocking that 2 days into camp and we already have so much to deal with and go through but this is the result of being a good team, something most fans this century have no experience with.

All in all, a positive first step for your 2021 Miami Dolphins but it’s only one of many that are going to be needed to get this team to where we all believe they should be, the playoffs. Till next time, Fins Up!

 

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Best Heat Draft Picks

5 Best Heat Draft Picks of All-Time

The Miami Heat hold a checkered history when it comes to the NBA Draft. Whittling down the list to the five best Heat draft picks of all-time can be difficult, though there are some obvious choices.

With first round picks often flipped for veteran players, the number of years draft night held any intrigue in Miami remains small. In 33 seasons, the Heat held a spot in the draft lottery 14 times (not including 1988). Two of those lottery selections were shipped to other clubs prior to the draft. Five times, draft night came and went without a pick from the Heat (’96, ’06, ’13, ’16 and ’18). On seven other occasions, Miami made only second round selections (’93, ’98, ’00, ’01, ’09, ’10 and ’11).

Miami has made 58 draft selections over the years. But only two players drafted by the franchise have become NBA All-Stars in a Heat uniform. More often than not, draft picks provide momentary hope, before becoming assets sent to other teams for other stars.

So here’s a look at the five best Heat draft picks of All-Time.

 

Best Heat Draft Picks: Josh Richardson (2015, 40th overall)

Best Heat Draft Picks

Tennessee’s Josh Richardson / Credit: UT Athletics

The Miami Heat have a long track record of developing talent. The list of undrafted free agent success stories is a long one. But the team’s success rate on second round picks remains less favorable. Of the Heat’s 58 draft picks all-time, 34 have come in the second round. The best of those picks came in 2015, when the Heat selected Josh Richardson with the 40th overall selection.

A 6-5 combo guard out of Tennessee, Richardson went on to play four years in Miami. Richardson’s metrics improved with each season as he became a staple in the Heat’s rotation. His 419 career three-pointers made rank 10th all-time in franchise history. Sometimes miscast as a playmaker, Richardson remained a reliable defender throughout his time with the Heat. Richardson headlined the trade package that landed Miami Jimmy Butler in 2019.

Even though he was the 40th pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Richardson stands among the most productive players from that draft class. He’s top-10 from that class in Win Shares (20.3). And his 4.1 VORP (Value over Replacement Player) ranks 12th among the 60 selections, 20 slots ahead of Miami’s other selection that season, Justise Winslow.

Related: Some Possible Undrafted Gems that Miami Should Have their Eyes On

 

Best Heat Draft Picks: Rony Seikaly (1988, 9th overall)

Best Heat Draft Picks

June 28, 1988 the Heat made the 1st pick in team history, choosing Rony Seikaly 9th pick in the NBA Draft. (via: Miami Heat Instagram)

Rony Seikaly’s name remains forever etched in Heat history. The first ever draft selection by the franchise, Seikaly proved to be a valuable cornerstone player in Miami’s early years.

The ninth overall selection of the 1988 NBA Draft, Seikaly played six seasons with the Heat. He averaged 15.4 points-per-game and 10.4 rebounds-per-game, and won NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 1990. Seikaly anchored Miami’s first playoff teams and his name still dots the top-10 in 22 statistical categories.

But a falling out with then-managing partners Lewis Schaffel and Billy Cunningham ultimately paved the way for a franchise-altering rebuild. Seikaly was shipped off to Golden State for Sasha Danilović and Billy Owens on November 2, 1994. That deal was quickly followed with another that saw Steve Smith and Grant Long sent to Atlanta. Suddenly, the initial promising young core in Heat history was no more.

Seikaly finished his career as the second-best rebounder and eighth-best scorer from the 1988 class. Ironically, the Heat rostered the top three rebounders from this class, including the overall leader Anthony Mason and Long. In a redraft of that class, Seikaly could arguably go as high as fifth.

 

Best Heat Draft Picks: Bam Adebayo (2017, 14th overall)

Best Heat Draft Picks

Bam Adebayo and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 22, 2017. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Heat landed in the 2017 NBA lottery despite the 30-11 second-half. Miami found itself eliminated from the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, missing out thanks to a tie-breaker. And although that 30-11 run mucked up the Heat’s salary cap for years to come after some (highly) questionable free agent decisions, the Heat landed one of the franchise’s best and most impactful draft picks of all-time.

Bam Adebayo came to Miami via the 14th overall selection in 2017 NBA Draft. And although the move was panned by many at the time, Adebayo has grown into a franchise cornerstone in the intervening years. Only he and Dwyane Wade boast All-Star bids as draftees of the Heat. He’s also a two-time All-Defensive player and one of five in Heat history to make the Team USA’s Olympics roster. If he remains with the club long-term, there’s no doubt Adebayo’s name will rewrite the franchise record book.

As it stands right now, Adebayo ranks first from the 2017 class in Win Shares, ahead of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and all the others. He’s second in VORP. There’s no doubt Adebayo, the 14th pick overall, would be in the top-3 in a 2017 redraft.

 

Best Heat Draft Picks: Glen Rice (1989, 4th overall)

Best Heat Draft Picks

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Coming off an inaugural campaign that saw the Heat win just 15 games, Miami landed its first true star in the 1989 NBA Draft. The Heat labored through that first season, playing in the Western Conference as part of the Midwest division with Dallas, Denver, Houston, San Antonio and Utah. And despite having the worst record in the league by five games, the Heat slipped to fourth the draft lottery. The Kings, Clippers and Spurs all jumped Miami in the draft order.

But what resulted is arguably the second best Heat draft pick of all-time: Glen Rice. The face of the franchise for six seasons, Rice lead Miami’s young franchise to its first playoff berths and winning season. He became the Heat’s first-ever 20-point-per-game scorer and would have been the NBA Rookie of the Year had 1987 draft pick David Robinson not missed his first two seasons for military service.

A three-time All-Star and one-time NBA Champ (albeit not with the Heat), Rice won the NBA Three-Point Shootout in 1995, the first of four Heat players to do so. Rice remains among the franchise top-10 in 26 different statistical categories, including top-3 in scoring (9,248). Rice became the centerpiece in Pat Riley’s trade for Alonzo Mourning on November 3, 1995.

Rice ranks fourth among the 1989 draftees in Win Shares (88.7) and fifth in VORP (24.9). But in a redraft of that class, Rice arguably goes first overall. That class also featured a great second round pick by Miami in Sherman Douglas. Heat legend Tim Hardaway also entered the NBA that year, going 14th to Golden State.

 

Best Heat Draft Picks: Dwyane Wade (2003, 5th overall)

Best Heat Draft Picks

(Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

This one goes without saying. The Heat landed Wade with the fifth overall selection in the loaded 2003 NBA Draft, arguably the league’s best draft class of all-time.

The lottery sported all the intrigue that year, considering the hype surrounding then-high school phenom LeBron James. Miami finished the 2002 season with the fourth-worst record in the league, but saw themselves pushed down in the draft order when Memphis jumped to the No. 2 overall pick.

Unfortunately for Memphis, their pick was only lottery-protected if it landed No. 1. So, thanks to an ill-fated 1997 trade as the then-Vancouver Grizzlies for Otis Thorpe, it went to Detroit. The Pistons, meanwhile, used the second overall selection to surprisingly take Darko Miličić. Carmelo Anthony went to Denver, Chris Bosh to Toronto. Wade landed right in the Heat’s lap.

This fortuitous turn of events altered the trajectory of the Heat franchise and really NBA history. Had Miami not been jumped in the draft order, Riley might have taken Bosh over Wade. There was even talk of Chris Kaman being the selection at five. Thankfully, Wade was the pick.

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Among that class, Wade ranks second in Win Shares (120.7) and VORP (62.8). There’s no doubt he’d be the second overall selection in a 2003 redraft. Wade ranks first among Heat career leaders in 19 statistical categories and among the top-10 in 17 others.

Three championships and countless memories later, Wade remains the only player ever drafted by Miami to have his number retired. He stands atop the list of the Heat’s best draft picks of all-time.

Related: Answering Your Questions: What is Next for the Miami Heat?

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes continue to roll with commitment of Isaiah Horton

The Miami Hurricanes have been on a recruiting tear the past couple of weeks. That continued on Wednesday as wide receiver Isaiah Horton committed to the program. A member of the class of 2022, he is a four-star receiver. He is the ninth overall wide receiver in the  2022 class, and the eighth overall player in his class from the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

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In addition to Miami, he also had offers from the likes of Jackson State, Kentucky, Louisville, and LSU. Most recently, he took an unofficial visit to Tennessee.

As I watch his film, I see a wide receiver that has tremendous athletic ability. He plays best on the outside, and is able to use his athleticism to jump up and catch passes. In addition, he is very good at running after the catch. As soon as he gets the football, he turns up quickly and accelerates.

He is not the type of wide receiver that is going to beat you consistently with his speed. He will however be able to make contested catches with ease.

Horton was a key part of the Oakland  high school offensive attack. In 2020, he recorded 34 catches for 643 yards and seven touchdowns. His playmaking ability is on full display, and that is what I suspect he will bring to Miami.

With the types of quarterbacks that Miami is bringing in as well as the talented playmakers they are trying to surround the quarterbacks with, Horton is a good fit in that regard. He will definitely add to the 2022 class that is growing quickly with talent.

Currently, the 2022 Miami Hurricanes recruiting class is shaping up nicely. They have now moved up to 61st in the country, and 12th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports composite rankings. This class is really coming together nicely.

I will be intrigued to see who Miami adds next. Right now, they have a solid base to work with.

Evaluating the Ups and Downs of the Olympic-Heat Players Tuesday Night

After another night of Olympic basketball, the story-lines are flooded with teams consisting of young Miami Heat players. Nigeria fell yet again to Germany, which puts their hopes for a medal in a very interesting spot.

Bam Adebayo and Team USA, on the other hand, took care of business against Iran. Although the stat-sheet wasn’t screaming Adebayo’s name, there are definitely things that were seen which can carry over to his play-style in a Miami Heat jersey.

While two out of the four players showcased more negative than positive on Tuesday night, let’s start out with the two guys that had more positive flashes…..

Precious Achiuwa:

Physical Attacks

Achiuwa definitely had his moments in this game, but it definitely wasn’t as smooth as the games back in Las Vegas. At that time, everything he did looked effortless on the offensive end, but as time progressed, more and more things looked forced.

One area of his game that wasn’t being forced was when he had a head of steam going to the basket. As I’ve highlighted in the past, the game has slowed down for him a bit since his rookie season. The reason I say that is due to the extra patience on screens in the high pick and roll.

Usually he would sprint to the basket on the dive for a possible lob, but now he has realized that the pocket pass may benefit him more on many possessions. And well, the stuff he’s been able to do off that reception has been impressive.

On the play above, he slips the screen after the defenders blitz the ball-handler, and it leads to a wide open lane for a slam. A few minutes later, we got to see more of those physical drives in transition.

To reiterate previous points, these weren’t the outcomes on fast-break opportunities for Achiuwa last season. His ability to finally control his body when moving at a high speed is something that changes his game offensively. As seen on the replay in the second clip, he uses his wide frame to take the contact and finish at the rim for the and-1.

Instead of using pump-fakes and retreat dribbles to shy away from contact, he has been embracing it. Combining that with a much improved handle on the perimeter, which he has gotten plenty of reps with as Nigeria’s point guard at times, leads to a guy with major upside on that end of the floor. He’s making subtle improvements on the offensive end, and that’s what an off-season does for a young prospect like himself.

Caught in the Air

To mention one negative takeaway from his performance yesterday, there were some defensive lapses in one specific area. He has actually looked great on that end throughout this whole period, especially on the perimeter against guards as he gives them the “Adebayo treatment.”

Aside from that, he just falls for fakes way too often in the interior, which leads to him throwing his body completely into a block or contest. That resulted in foul trouble yesterday, and it feels like that’s been a recurring theme for some time now.

Even on the perimeter at times, the slightest pump-fake outside the arc gets him in the air. This isn’t a huge deal in the big picture, since that can very easily be tweaked, but it seems like that’ll need to be straightened out pretty soon to avoid that in an NBA environment.

Bam Adebayo:

Transition Dominance

Onto Bam Adebayo’s performance, something I’ve touched on in many pieces in the past was utilized early in this game: transition offense. He’s going to be quicker than any big he faces in these games, which means getting out on the break for the outlet pass can be so effective for Team USA.

He had two possessions early in yesterday’s game where easy transition points were the outcome, and I feel that this could be the case next season with the Heat. Of course it’s not because of the same point here with being quicker than other players, but it opens up the floor and maximizes his offensive ability.

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A point guard will definitely clean up half-court struggles, but getting a shifty, speedy, and versatile big with a handle sprinting down the floor with defenders on their heels seems like a pretty beneficial option. He’s gotten comfortable looking for guys like Jimmy Butler or Goran Dragic on the break, where he must realize now that he’s the true x-factor in this situation.

Clips like the one above are just easy buckets with nobody in front of him, but I’m talking more about possessions where a defense is scrambling to set-up. Faking a DHO, using a dribble combo, or bull dozing his way toward the rim can all be used to eliminate the consistent half-court retreat.

Defensive Diversity

I feel like I’ve discussed every major defensive staple from Adebayo in these games so far, so why stop now? He looked the same with his dominance on the perimeter against guards, where they believe they forced a mismatch early in the first quarter, before realizing it’s just the opposite.

He had his hands full on the block yesterday, but those are great reps to go through so he can grow more comfortable against bigger guys. There’s still some unknown if that’ll be his duty next season if Miami adds a small ball 4, or if that task will be passed onto a stretch big at the 5.

Either way, plays like the one above only occur with pure athletic and determined defenders. Slowly trailing the ball-handler who believes he has a one-on-one opportunity, before blocking it from behind for the stop.

We can sit here and highlight the biggest strengths of his defensive skill-set, perimeter clamps and help-side tagging, but he’s more diverse than I believe most people think. His build just isn’t normal with the attributes he has available to him, which makes him so intriguing as a player once everything else fully comes together.

Gabe Vincent:

Shooting Consistency Question Marks

Gabe Vincent was an interesting story for Nigeria last night. He came out firing from deep, scoring 8 points with two catch and shoot threes shown above and a nice pull-up 2 off the dribble.

You may think that sounds like a fantastic game for him, but shooting consistency continues to be harped on following the hot start. After those 2 triples early on, he ended up missing his next 8 from deep, ending the game 2 of 10 from beyond the arc.

As we know about Vincent, that part of his game went from a major skill to a possible weakness, once realization came that his most ideal area for him to play is on the defensive end. He showed that last night as well, by hounding guards full court and a fantastic way of navigating screens off the ball and in the pick and roll.

I believe Vincent has it in him to make a jump in efficiency, but it’s yet to be seen. In a perfect off-season, Vincent will be the team’s back up guard next season, due to that meaning Miami made some big deals to bring in supreme talents. But if that was going to be his role, he would have to fix that up majorly so the Heat aren’t forced to look at different options.

KZ Okpala:

Skill-Set of Polar Opposites

And the final guy in this discussion is KZ Okpala, who I’ve pretty much walked away from every game with the same exact takeaway. To touch on the positive stuff first, the dude is just an absolute monster on defense. The full-court press, the speed to switch, the length to hit passing lanes, and a combination of that all to alter shots.

Those things led to him racking up 5 steals in yesterday’s game, which would make you think that player is extremely talented and effective at the moment. But the issue is that he had the same amount of steals as points, which seems to be the case in every game he plays.

I actually thought he looked more comfortable on offense early on than he did the entire Olympics. The clip above shows a solid drive that he had, where he utilized his long strides to get to the basket, before giving a nice bump to create separation for the score.

But much like Vincent’s situation, it tailed off. And well, he actually became a true liability on that end for them down the stretch. The biggest thing that must be noted is that he is just way too predictable on that end. Defenses find out quickly that he’s not a true floor spacer, while the limited on-ball involvement allows for exclusive tagging as they drop away from him.

As he tried to create some offense in the half-court and in transition in the fourth quarter yesterday, it halted their flow. With an unwillingness to look at the basket, players began fronting the perimeter, waiting for the kick-out. That led to two late turnovers on forced passes, all due to him not being able to be instinctive with his decisions.

Once again, he has unbelievable potential on defense, but the offensive stuff will continue to hold him back. Especially on a Heat team where floor spacing is absolutely necessary next to the roster’s top dogs, that must be added for him to have a major role in the future.

 

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Miami Dolphins restructure Benardrick McKinney’s contract

Last week, I told anyone that listened how much I liked the Miami Dolphins trade for linebacker Benardrick Mckinney. I believe I said it was a good deal for both sides, and I thought that he was locked up under contract for a few years was beneficial for the team and could allow them to work on deals with some of the team’s other pending free agents. I was wrong! 

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the contract details were a little more than your typical everyday restructure.

 

Now, the first question I had after reading this is, “where will that fresh $4M worth of cap space go?”

Some might try to spin it as a bigger trade, probably for a certain quarterback to generate clicks and engagement. I won’t do that.

What I will say is that there are three in-house candidates:

All-pro cornerback Xavien Howard is seeking more guaranteed money, though the way he handled himself last night wasn’t the most professional. (It was well-written, I just would’ve preferred it be an email to the team or letter sent by Carrier Pigeon to Chris Grier’s office) Could that money be used to make Howard happy?

Emmanuel Ogbah, on the other hand, wants a new deal and has handled himself the right way. And let’s not forget tight end Mike Gesicki is in line to get paid, as well.

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Additionally, McKinney’s restructure made me wonder whether or not the Dolphins were already targeting a younger, cheaper linebacker via trade.

And let’s not forget, if Benardrick McKinney hits free agency, the Miami Dolphins would be in line for a compensatory pick. Something I reckon Chris Grier and the team knew when they made the trade several months ago. But again, I think what McKinney brings to the defense, WHEN HEALTHY, is deserving of a multi-year deal. However, with a birthday later this year and the age of 30 on the horizon, perhaps McKinney was never a long-term solution at middle linebacker?

As with anything in Miami Gardens, no one truly knows what Chris Grier and the Miami Dolphins are doing. But that won’t stop us all from speculating! I will update this article throughout the day with any important news and information regarding Dolphins linebacker Benardrick.

Enjoy day two of Miami Dolphins training camp!

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Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

Miami Hurricanes: Two ‘Canes named preseason All-ACC selections

Two members of the Miami Hurricanes have been named preseason all-ACC selections. Safety Bubba Bolden and punter Lou Hedley were honored with the distinctions Tuesday.

It has been a busy couple of days for Bolden. Monday, he was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. He figures to be a major part of the Miami Hurricanes defense after having a solid season last year.

Bolden recorded 74 tackles in for forced fumbles last season. He was a defensive force for Miami, and figures to play the same role in 2021. With several big names no longer in the program, Bolden will have to step up and play at a high level in the fall.

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Hedley had a solid season in his own right and continue to deliver for Miami. He was named a Ray Guy Award finalist, and was also named to the All-ACC Second Team. With 47.2 yards per punt, he was as reliable as they come for Miami. He was a major part of the success of the special teams unit.`

When you look at these two players, a couple of things come to mind. For one, they are going to be crucial for Miami in 2021. Field position and strong defensive play are two things that can either win or lose a ballgame. Hedley and Bolden have done a good job at making their presence known in both areas.

Secondly, these two players are consistent. They have been able to bring consistency to Coral Gables ever since they got here. Now, they will have to continue that consistency for a Miami Hurricanes program looking to take the next step.

It will be interesting to see how these two perform in 2021. They have shown that they can play at a high level, and they will definitely play key roles in the success of the Miami Hurricanes for 2021.

Some Possible Undrafted Gems that Miami Should Have their Eyes On

While I focused on some guys in this draft that should definitely be in the undrafted market in my last piece, this group of guys will make Thursday night much more interesting from a Heat perspective.

There’s a good chance they can fall through the cracks on draft night, while other mock drafts have them at the very end of the second round. As I’ve focused on in the past, if sign and trades are facilitated in the near future, Miami can have some fun in this market to fill roster spots.

These pick-ups would not be like past evaluations where they’re looking for the most upside. This team is pushing for contention, and if they’re going to pick somebody up in that department, it will be somebody who is an NBA ready prospect that is capable of producing in some way immediately.

So, let’s just hop right into 3 possible prospects that Miami should have their eye on late Thursday night…

Duane Washington Jr

6’3, 210 Pound Guard, Ohio State

When Miami’s evaluating these type of players, there must be a specific skill that stands out to them to give the player an opportunity. In most instances, that skill will be a three-level scoring ability, and Duane Washington Jr has just that and more.

There are a few names that I’ve said to focus on more than others, and Washington Jr is one of those guys. A competitive young guard who can score smoothly with the ball in his hands, but looks even deadlier without it.

His best attribute by far is shooting from deep, after a scoring leap this past season with Ohio State, where he shot 37% from three. When looking at the clips above, there’s a reason that I didn’t harp on his number one ability too much: that shooting strength is clear, while other parts seem underrated.

The gravity he held at the college level from deep allowed him to showcase his athletic finishing abilities on the move. On some of the drives above, you see some of the up and under stuff that make up a pure scorer, but also some physical attacks where he uses his body for space. That’s the stuff that makes me think he will translate well to the next level.

He’s a very capable passer when he’s reading the defense, but I don’t see that as his role on an NBA roster. If the Heat were to pick him up, I see him as a guy that will be used as a spot-up guy to start, before fully evolving into an on-ball scorer off the dribble.

For some perspective, we’re talking about a possible undrafted player with this type of skill-set. He seems like a player that doesn’t need a ton of developing to be effective, which makes me think there’s no doubt that Miami would throw themselves at Washington Jr if he gets overlooked.

Chaundee Brown

6’5, 215 Pound Shooting Guard, Michigan

Chaundee Brown is a pretty interesting prospect from the Miami Heat’s eyes, due to his overall personality and play-style screaming “Miami Heat.” It seems like there’s always one of these guys in these pieces that are included just due to the comparisons with Miami’s culture, but Brown in particular has a high-level skill-set as well.

Before talking about his game, it’s important to note the true link with this name, which is Michigan head coach Juwan Howard. If this name doesn’t end up being selected in the second round on Thursday, I would bet on somebody in the Heat front office making that phone call to Howard for some information.

Aside from that, he is another one of those players that looks NBA ready. He did have a bit of a down year this past season, going from 12 PPG to 8 PPG, but the Heat love players that are willing to accept their role in any capacity.

Other than the scoring dip, he shot 49% from the field and 42% from three, but that isn’t what truly rose his stock since the end of the season. Even after not receiving an invitation to the NBA combine, he performed at an extremely high level at the G-League Elite Camp recently. And if we forget about the numbers, his game does a lot of talking when looking at the film.

He’s a super physical offensive player, can play off the ball perfectly, has a tight handle leading into a sweet pull-up, and defensive grit and toughness. Brown just looks like a guy that Miami would form into a low rotation role player, and as stated earlier, he’s a guy that would undeniably take advantage of whatever he is told.

A.J. Lawson

6’6, 180 Pound Shooting Guard, South Carolina

It has been noted that A.J. Lawson wasn’t inserted into the most ideal situation over his tenure with South Carolina, but he definitely made the most of it this past season. After making no true leap from year 1 to year 2, he jumped from 13 PPG to 16 PPG this past season.

He’s a lengthy kid with a skinny frame, while his only downfall may be true consistency from deep, which improved down the stretch of the season. He’s a good passer, can handle the rock, and knows how to get to his spots on the floor. But once again, the separation piece is a two-way ability.

Lawson is somebody who is more than capable of pressuring a ball-handler all the way down the floor. But as Heat observers know, the players that can do that on Miami’s roster don’t have much of an offensive game. Lawson, on the other hand, does.

He has a wide base on his jumper and isn’t afraid to shoot the ball with a hand in his face, as seen above. Miami will be searching for system type players if they go this avenue, and Lawson seems to be just that. A guy you can put on opposing guards to hit passing lanes, while placing him into a perfectly fitted motion offense on the other end.

Of course, there are a couple layers to this topic. For one, would the Heat choose to go this route, and secondly, would these guys even play? My answer to that would be in an ideal situation for next year’s Heat team, these type of players would be playing, since that would mean Miami completed beneficial trades to improve the top of the rotation.

While the Heat seem to have an uneventful night on Thursday with no draft picks, I believe it’ll be much more interesting that you think toward the end of the second round.

 

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Oklahoma and Texas want in on SEC

Since last week, it was rumored that the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma were interested in joining the Southeastern Conference. These rumors have become a reality as it was confirmed that they have been in discussion for the past six months. This week, the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma have also issued a joint statement that confirms they will be leaving the Big 12 Conference in 2025 and have requested invitations to join the SEC.

 

This includes letting their current media rights agreements expire. Considering Texas and Oklahoma are the Big 12’s two biggest football programs, this a huge blow to their conference and their future remains uncertain. 

 

While it’s humbling that everyone wants to come to the SEC as it’s often considered the most competitive conference in college football, it questions how unfair the lesser competition of other conferences will be. Let’s take a look at the ACC and Big Ten for example. Every year, Clemson and Ohio State have a clear and easy path to the college football playoff, as their regular season schedules are a lot easier than any team in the SEC. 

 

With the two possible additions of Oklahoma and Texas, the SEC will certainly become a super conference at this point, with a potential total of 16 teams! This will change college football as we know it, and could pave the way for other super conferences to develop in the near future.