The Miami Heat made two decent signings in free agency thus far after retaining Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard. They brought in Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless on very good contracts.
This meant that they lost Jae Crowder to the Phoenix Suns. Although they made two big time acquisitions, that Crowder role will need to be filled, and I think it’ll be an in-house move.
Moe Harkless, in my opinion, is the replacement of Derrick Jones Jr, while Avery Bradley is the big time point of attack defender that Miami has needed. Now that the power forward position needs to be filled, there are two 21 year olds waiting to make that jump.
If Miami doesn’t go after a Jae Crowder replacement, it’s a clear indication that they believe in KZ Okpala or Precious Achiuwa to make that jump, or maybe even both.
It’s basically the Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro situation from this past season. A rookie immediately having a role, while a second year player who spent his rookie year in the G-League makes a big impact. We’ve seen this play out before, so what makes you think Pat Riley won’t do it again?
There’s a reason that Miami is reluctant to include KZ Okpala in any deals. It’s because they see something special in him, which isn’t a term that’s handed out freely from the Miami Heat’s organization. And Precious Achiuwa seems to be getting a lot of love too, since Pat Riley doesn’t always show that same excitement for an incoming rookie every year.
Since there’s less time for an incoming rookie to prepare, I believe KZ Okpala would probably be the more likely option that Miami’s waiting to let free. But once again, Precious could possibly be that guy as well.
As I said at the start of free agency, Miami will have a plan if Jae Crowder walks. Although that plan was to sign Avery Bradley, that is not a Crowder filler. And the reason they didn’t try and fill Crowder’s shoes in free agency, is because they already have two young wings ready to make that jump.
KZ Okpala. Precious Achiuwa. Your time is now. Go earn your spot.