The Miami Heat don’t have much preparing to do in the NBA draft department due to them not having any picks in this year’s draft. But knowing the Heat’s front office, they’re never totally out of the mix.
With that said, they are a team that consistently lurks the aftermath of the draft, since their undrafted expertise has shown to be pretty strong over the last few years, headlined by now free agents, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn.
So, in this piece, I’m going to dive into a few options that I believe could be available after the NBA draft is finished up, and some guys the Heat could potentially take a long look at. The reasoning for that is when sign and trades are the expectation this off-season, there’s a good chance some roster spots will need to be filled, which is where undrafted guys come into play.
I feel there will be one consistent theme to this process with the Heat’s scouting, and it is two-way players. They have gone too long, up to this point, drafting guys who are either very gifted offensively without defensive stability, or strong defensively with an offensive game that doesn’t fit.
This is their time to fix that.
Yes, this is a win now team, but win-now means that some assets will need to be given up in the process to improve. That would leave them lurking for a some more young plug-ins, who would have to be completely NBA ready.
So, let’s hop right into the primary options…
6’6, 235 Pound Small Forward, San Diego State
The starting point when searching for Miami Heat possibilities is finding guys who have that “Heat” mentality. And number one on that list would have to be Matt Mitchell.
Before getting into his overall game, here’s one quote that may clarify immediately the type of personality that he is: “I’m that junkyard dog that gets it done.” Yeah, that totally establishes my point.
Now, as for his play-style, the Heat will be looking for complete readiness in these players if they go this route, and Mitchell showcases pure NBA translation.
One of the major strengths of his offensive game is the true patience and pacing of his scoring, which usually looks most comfortable inside the arc in the mid-range area. It’s not just a guy running downhill off screens for pull-ups either. He’s actually creating space with pure physicality and pro-level savviness.
His three-point shooting took a bit of a dip this past season, down to 34% on high volume, but the offensive consistency is still promising. He has great size that can navigate off screens for catch-and-shoot looks, but looks even better with the ball in his hands. And well, that’s what the Heat need.
When I watch him play, I see a role player and that’s exactly what Miami will be searching for. Not guys with super high potential. Not guys who are very ball dominant. Just guys who accept their role and play it well.
That physicality that I discussed earlier on offense also translates to the defensive end, as he can guard bigger guys with ease whenever they try to post him up. It’s a known thing with Mitchell that it’s more about where he’s placed in a defense than just his intangibles, and that’s perfect for a Miami Heat scheme.
I see a lot of good things in his game that would be useful for Miami next season, and the four years under his belt make that even more clear. On a team trying to compete, the priority won’t be development in Sioux Falls. It’s immediate production.
6’5, 215 Pound Shooting Guard, Florida State
MJ Walker has been discussed across the Miami Heat world over the past few weeks, after Greg Sylvander hinted at it being a possibility. And it makes sense why.
First off, the Heat would be hoping that he slips that far, since his offensive skill really seems to be something a team in the second round would take a chance on.
There are many parts of his game, but nothing really stands out more than a pure outside jumper. Coming out of college, the ability to shoot from the outside isn’t out of the ordinary, but a smooth looking jumper usually gives you a good idea about the player.
As all good shooters have, every single shot looks the same with Walker. Perfect form, perfect flick, perfect release. He shot 44% from deep this past season, while sprinkling in plenty of scoring inside the arc, which he shot over 50% in that area.
The Heat will be searching for three-level scorers, and Walker is another one of those pro-ready guys that could immediately produce deep on the bench. He has been incredible as an on-ball guy, due to him scoring in so many different ways, but I see him shifting into a primary spot-up role in the NBA.
Now, that doesn’t mean it has to be one-dimensional, but that would feel to be his initial role in a Heat offense. The funny thing about all of this talk about his shooting is that seems to be his secondary strength to many out there.
He is somebody else who enhances that 3 and D label, which honestly gets overused in a basketball setting. He’s very quick laterally, allowing him to be very effective against opposing guards. One of his main knocks on that end for some time was over-aggression, meaning unnecessary fouls came often, but that has been cured as well.
He has improved as time has progressed, and that’s a good sign for a Heat team taking a long look at him. The biggest downfall that people like to point out is his age, but as I stated earlier, that may actually be the opposite perception from a Heat perspective.
6’9, 215 Small Forward/Power Forward, UCLA
Chris Smith is definitely a different player from the last two, especially in terms of his build, but the Heat aren’t focused on one specific player type.
He definitely relates to the past two players with his similar role of 3 and D, or spot-up shooting, but he actually has some sneaky abilities in my opinion that could be getting overlooked.
Many people aren’t harping on a ton of offensive versatility, but looking at the first clip above, I’d say differently. He shows certain moves that definitely show he can be an impressive NBA player. Playing with freedom, good looking dribble moves for shot creation, and great balance on fade-away type jumpers.
In the second clip, you can see some “sneaky” athleticism that make him much more interesting as a prospect, especially in a motion offense in Miami. Smith is at his best when he’s on the move, and some similar actions with pin-downs and off-ball screening can get him in his spots of comfort.
In the last clip, those defensive strengths are shown a bit. His great length and 6’9 build allows him to cause major disruption in the passing lanes, and that makes his insertion into a switching defense intriguing. How would he look in certain lineups guarding the perimeter? Can he play help-side on NBA bigs?
Those may be two separate answers, but one thing I do know is that he isn’t one of those long-term project pick-ups. One comparison to his game in the past was Trevor Ariza, which makes sense in terms of switching and shooting, but I think there’s bit more in the tank with his overall versatility.
There are a bunch of options out there for the Heat to look into, but these are three guys that I think will be at the top of that list. I will continue to dive into other possibilities as we get closer to the draft.….
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