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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?

A Possible Miami Heat Reunion: The Perfect Fit

There are many guys on the Heat’s off-season radar right now, since they’re trying to find the right guy to add to this team to try and get this team back to the finals.

When discussing some possible trades, there’s been some big names that have come up including Victor Oladipo. But with that, you are probably going to have to give something up that you don’t want to, and there is uncertainty with his health. There’s also some concern about his actions in the playoffs when he lost to the Miami Heat.

Is he a Miami Heat type guy?

Well, there’s another guy that has proven he’s a Miami Heat type guy.

Josh Richardson was obviously included in a package to get Jimmy Butler last year, but it’s definitely not out of the question of a possible return.

I’ve mentioned before that Miami may not need a home-run pick-up this off-season, but instead the perfect fit. Josh is the perfect fit, since he fills the holes on this current team.

He’s a defensive first guard, who also is very capable of scoring the ball. If Miami could use a Josh Richardson to guard a Kemba Walker in a playoff series, that takes such a weight off of Jimmy Butler and others.

He also would not have to play the same role that he played while in Miami before. Instead of running the offense, he would be a facilitator on the wing who can hit the occasional three and attack the rim.

In Philadelphia, he was playing a role that doesn’t fit him well. For one, he was the only shooter on the floor with the starting lineup, which means that he had to carry the load of a role that he’s not extremely comfortable with.

But what would it take to get him to Miami?

Well, that’s not very clear, but it’s expected that it would include Kendrick Nunn, Kelly Olynyk, and the 20th pick. This is the trade that has been discussed with the other big names, but there’s no uncertainty in the player you are receiving when discussing Josh Richardson.

He also has a relationship with a bunch of guys on the roster still, especially Bam Adebayo.

The organization definitely hasn’t forgotten about Josh as well, since he was their second round steal in 2015.

Obviously this is all speculation, but it just seems there’s no better player to add to this team this off-season than Josh Richardson. Having Josh Richardson and Tyler Herro as your starting back-court seems pretty ideal, since Tyler can take the scoring reigns and Josh can take the biggest defensive assignment.

This pick-up makes the most sense for Miami, and also would be great for the individual success of Josh. If Miami could pull this trade off, it would basically mean that they traded Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk for Josh Richardson and Jimmy Butler, which would once again prove the genius front office of the Miami Heat.

Josh Richardson Claps at Heat Fans in Postgame Presser

On Wednesday the Miami Heat opened their season with an impressive home win without Jimmy Butler.

His former team the Philadelphia 76ers did the same, dispatching the Boston Celtics 107-93.

Josh Richardson had 17 points and six rebounds in his debut for Philly, but his performance afterwards garnered more attention.

It seems like no matter the sport, when higher profile athletes leave Miami it doesn’t always leave them.

Now Heat fans catch a lot of, well heat, for punctuality and that one time in the playoffs something happened.

Miami time is a thing. So is South Florida street gridlock.

However make no mistake, Heat nation shows up night after night.

And the kids will be alright.

Philadelphia is an incredible basketball area on all levels, that should be stated.

That being said, it seems like J-Rich is already starting to trust a process that has yielded zero conference finals since his team was all in diapers.

If you follow the NBA and its players on social media, Twitter in particular, you know there is no love lost between these two organizations.

The difference is, one actually has the culture and the banners.

While the other has a process of playoff elimination annually.

Follow @5ReasonsSports and subscribe to the 5 on the Floor podcast for exclusive Miami Heat content all season.

Catch the 5 Reasons crew at their next watch party this Saturday ( yes, we know) when the Heat travel to Milwaukee to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

 

Chris Bosh to the Heat’s Kids: Lead

In the morning, we will post my 35-minute conversation with former Heat forward Chris Bosh, on everything from cologne to controversy to glory.

And we will insert the link here, so you can listen to all of it, on Apple or Android.

But here’s one clip that may get some attention.

Bosh has never been shy about sharing his opinions; he doesn’t do it to create a stir, he just is incapable of anything but authenticity. So it wasn’t surprising that, when asked about the Heat’s “Kids” — generally classified as Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and recently Derrick Jones Jr. — Bosh shared his true feelings.

And it’s good.

It is.

But it speaks to where the Heat organization stands.

Here’s the clip:

And if you want an even shorter synopsis of that, here it is:

But listen to the whole podcast.

Bosh, as a talker, is still the best.

Report: J-Rich may miss rest of regular season

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson could miss up to two weeks after sustaining a groin injury last night against the Celtics.

This is the second major injury that has affected the stretch run for the Heat, after Justise Winlow missed 9 games with a thigh injury.

Now with Richardson out, and season deciders against Minnesota, Toronto, Philly, and Brooklyn still to play, you’re left to wonder if the Heat can make up the half game difference between themselves and the 3 teams in front of them for the final playoff places in the Eastern Conference.

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JRich, Winslow out for Heat trip

The Miami Heat need just about every game from here out…. and would seem to need every key player.

They won’t have two of the Kids for the next two games, however.

Neither Josh Richardson (heel) nor Justise Winslow (thigh) traveled to New York for the opening contest of a short trip that finishes in Boston.

That means Goran Dragic will continue to start at point guard, with Derrick Jones Jr. also likely taking a spot in the lineup. It also means that the Heat will rely heavily on Dwyane Wade and Dion Waiters to provide offense.

That should be enough against New York.

Against the Celtics, who are trying to grab a homecourt seed in the East?

We’ll see.