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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

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?

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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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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5RSN Exclusive: Kyle Lowry Looking for Deal in Range of 3 Years/$90 Million

(With Brady Hawk)

Following up on my report of Brandon Ingram’s interest in Miami, the Heat are still very much in on Kyle Lowry, however, the deal he is looking for is in the range of $90 Million over 3 years.

In my personal opinion, I feel that the 3rd year has to be fully guaranteed. Some on the Heat are confident, but I still wouldn’t count out the Philadelphia 76ers or the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Miami’s continued pursuit of a point guard this off-season, their eyes will be locked on this free agent market, which is headlined by Lowry, with guys like Mike Conley closely following behind.

Will they be willing to make that commitment? Time will only tell, but as the clock is ticking on Jimmy Butler’s timeline, a veteran point guard who can score at all three-levels, run the offense, and defend must be a top priority. Combining that with his close relationship with Butler makes the situation even more interesting.

While some extra options and avenues seem to be opening up a bit, the focus on Lowry will remain, while other possibilities will still be on the table as free agency grows closer and closer.

5RSN Exclusive: Brandon Ingram Would Welcome Potential Trade to Miami

(With Brady Hawk)

I can report that Brandon Ingram would be very pleased with a potential trade to Miami. Pelicans’ executive David Griffin will most likely be playing hardball if these talks were to progress.

There have been plenty of links surrounding New Orleans and Miami lately, including Lonzo Ball possibly being on the market, Pelicans’ well known interest in Duncan Robinson, and now this.

From the Heat’s perspective, they would be filling the number one hole on the roster that seems to be the toughest to fill. Three-level scorers that are also second overall picks aren’t an easy thing to come by, especially ones that are available.

This past season, Ingram shot 43% on catch and shoot threes, 48% on mid-range pull-ups, and 60% less than 10 feet from the rim. After averaging 23.8 PPG for two straight seasons on a similar amount of attempts, the level of effectiveness seems to work both ways.

While it’s clear the Heat need his type of offensive skill, Ingram would definitely benefit from unselfish facilitators like Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, while being coached up by Erik Spoelstra who is well known for elevating talent like himself.

This type of acquisition benefits both of Miami’s stars as well, since some weight gets taken off of Butler’s shoulders as a scorer, and Adebayo gets a promising counter-piece on the same timeline as himself.

Now, Kyle Lowry’s name has been floating around the Heat for quite some time, and he finds a way back into the equation in this situation.

The primary focus on their part will be trying to get talent like Lowry, before exploring any type of deals involving Ingram. On the Heat’s side of the deal, it will be very complicated and timing is everything.

So, will the timing be right for both sides of the deal to maximize talent? I guess we will find out soon, since Pelicans’ star Zion Williamson is awaiting a roster boost to contention and the Heat’s stars know they’re one piece away.

It may be complicated, but at least more and more possibilities are opening up to pounce on.

 

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Breaking Down Bam Adebayo’s Performance Against France

Team USA fell short on Sunday morning against France, which may seem like a shocking result, but isn’t if you’ve been keeping up. The same issues have stayed in tact, while Bam Adebayo shined early as the leading scorer in the first half.

Aside from two missed free throws late, he put them in a position to compete offensively, while we all know what he does defensively.

Now, the focus of this article will be on Adebayo, even though I usually highlight the Nigeria bunch, in Gabe Vincent, KZ Okpala, and Precious Achiuwa. Due to the inability of getting video clips from that game, here’s a few things to note…

Vincent struggled from deep in this game, which will continue to be the thing to watch considering a spot on a Heat team. Shooting is the strength that must remain his strength, so consistency must be a top attribute of his to take that next leap.

Achiuwa looked like he had a decent game in the box score, but if you watched the game, the struggles were apparent as well. He had some good defensive possessions, but the overarching theme was turnovers. I’ve talked about his body control and game speed needing to slow down a bit, but it looked to take a few steps back in the game this morning.

Lastly, Okpala pretty much looked the exact same as he did in the exhibition games. Placed into a role as a spot-up guy who isn’t truly capable of being a threat, while mixing in some attacks. He had a good bucket to begin the game on a drive, but other than that, he just can’t get downhill at all. Deficiency of moves, lack of a quick step, and more seems to be the issues, which leaves people awaiting for some type of offensive flash.

So, back to Adebayo and team USA, let’s dive into some positive things that stood out from him alone, since well, this USA team shares the same flaws as the Heat: soft switching, lack of rebounding, no point guard, etc…

Soft Touch in the Interior

The mid-range was a close friend of his in this game to start, which was what got him into double figures rather quickly in the first half. An open shot a few feet away from the rim doesn’t seem important to note, but it is.

For one, he wasn’t supposed to be anything close to a leading scorer with the talent this team has, but the reliance on him has risen since the struggles began. With some extra attempts, we’ve seen more of an urge to mix in more than just a regular jumper.

Last season, the jumper fell frequently, but it didn’t matter where he was on the floor, he was flowing into that shot. Throwing in some post hooks and one-hand push shots has been a normal thing with team USA, and it’s effective due to outstanding touch.

Free throw line jumpers are fun to watch go in, but the true dominance will occur when he can do stuff in the area above. A consistent go-to in that spot of the court can change some things for his game, which will only become more and more lethal, the farther he expands his offensive game.

Necessary Transition Offense

If you asked me what a primary reason is for the USA’s offensive struggles, I’d probably start with the lack of transition offense. Thinking back to past USA teams, fast-break opportunities was the theme of the offense. Lob passes, full-court dimes, flashy dunks.

But now, it’s turned into slowed pacing in the half-court, which it has shown that doesn’t favor this team.

Not only could Adebayo come into play here with his passing ability down court, but he can be the transition initiator. He’s faster than any big that he matches up with in these games, which is the real advantage for him.

As he pushes the pace in the play above, he uses his strength to his advantage. A quick bump on Rudy Gobert gives him more than enough space for the lay-in.

Although we’re discussing this in an Olympic sense, we can easily relate this back to Miami. I’ve mentioned many times that Adebayo will need to run the break much more than he already does with the Heat, since he continued to look for Jimmy Butler or others in those situations.

These are perfect reps for him to grow comfortable in that space, and that confidence would rise if it was actually effective for this unit. That is how this team can truly thrive, and that all starts with creating offense on the defensive end.

Adebayo is the Offensive Action

This team has basically shown that running offensive sets isn’t important. News flash: it is.

Isolation ball just won’t cut it, especially when the team continues to struggle from the perimeter. Some diversified sets will need to be thrown in, and the only time we seem to see anything close to that is when Adebayo is in the game.

He is the offensive set.

For one, the pocket pass has become their way of facilitating offense and forcing a defense into a rotational frenzy. In the play above, Adebayo receives the pass as the defender rotates over for the tag from the corner, but he patiently waits before rising up for a bucket.

The usual outcome of these plays is a simple kick-out for three, since that is the role of Adebayo. It’s also the way I would expect him to be used when the Heat get a point guard, due to that truly maximizing his passing abilities. It allows him to create on the move, which means he’s making decisions instinctively where he thrives.

Yes, I may harp on Miami needing that simple pocket pass team USA uses, but it seems team USA needs some of those actions that the Heat use. Motion offense would truly change the way this team plays, due to them just ball watching at the moment.

But what are those sets they could take from Miami?

We’ve seen some DHO’s with Adebayo and Kevin Durant, which should be utilized constantly with each of those guys’ abilities. He hands it off and pivots into a down screen, giving Durant more than enough room to pull the three for a bucket.

It doesn’t seem complicated. The team just needs some type of structure. Some type of go-to. And that go-to up to this point has been Adebayo, mostly because they trust him to make the right decision as a passer. Other than Draymond Green and himself, they miss that option.

Honestly, if Adebayo is the leading scorer in a first half like that, it mostly means that team USA isn’t in a great spot. He’s the bail out option, and he did just that early on. It’s promising to see him at this point in his career as a primary option when things get tough, but the true impact from him will come when others are doing their part and hitting shots.

Hounding Perimeter Defense

Lastly, I do want to touch on his defense in this game, as it was pretty impactful on the perimeter. Much like the conversations we have had in the past with the Heat, the soft switching with Adebayo on the perimeter can hurt the team at times.

Yes, Adebayo can lock up that perimeter player, as he did many times today, but these teams are very good at feeding the mismatch. That means, getting the ball inside to the bigs who are being defended by a guard.

In Miami, a lot of the over-switching happened with Adebayo, but in these games, everybody switches for no reason. It’s almost as if it’s the complete game-plan, which leads to second half runs from these opposing well coached teams.

Aside from the negative aspect to the scheme, Adebayo did his part today on that end, continuing to blanket any match-up that was in front of him. Looking at the clip above, you can see what that type of stuff leads to. It eliminates any dribble penetration from the two guys in the hand-off, while it ends in a three which is the result team USA is hoping for.

Once again, Adebayo has been a focal point on both ends so far in these games, which is why he was in the game to finish early this morning. This game may not have had many positives, especially with Adebayo’s missed free throws down the stretch, but his ability to adjust with this type of team and be effective is very impressive.

Even if you aren’t seeing much change in his game, he is growing. And the Heat have to be watching this and picking up the phone to improve their team back in Miami.

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Who Could Be Some Undrafted Options for the Miami Heat?

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…

Matt Mitchell 

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.

MJ Walker

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.

Chris Smith

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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Gabe Vincent is the True Heat-Olympian to Keep an Eye On

The Miami Heat are clearly representing in this year’s Olympics, and it isn’t headlined on a Team USA roster. It’s actually with Team Nigeria, as three of the Heat’s young projects, Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, and Gabe Vincent, are getting some extra reps.

The main focus seems to be on both of Miami’s recent draft picks, in Achiuwa and Okpala, since experience and playing time is all they really need to make some small leaps in their game. The issue is that there’s some question marks next to their future with the team.

On a team that is going to be fully invested in the trade market, with things such as sign-and-trades, two young and promising assets will come up frequently. As Miami has their eyes on Kyle Lowry, would they have to part ways with somebody like Achiuwa, who they have strong interest in?

It’s definitely a possibility, which leaves us shifting some attention that may continue to go under the radar: Gabe Vincent. He’s had a strong start to these Olympic games in some of the exhibitions in Las Vegas, and that isn’t temporary.

He was placed into an unfamiliar role this past season with the Heat, after playing much more of an off-ball, spot-up type of role in the past. They basically inserted him into starting point guard when some of the unfortunate Covid stuff occurred, which left him adjusting on the fly.

While the on-ball duties were new for him a bit, he ran the offense pretty effectively, and that will look to improve in this Olympic setting. Some extra facilitating and play-making spots in the offense will make him much more prepared for a possible Miami Heat insertion in the future, but when might that occur?

Many have harped on the need of a point guard on this team with Kendrick Nunn most likely taking the best deal this off-season and Goran Dragic possibly being used as a salary filler if a trade deal is going to be made. So yes, a starting point guard is needed with some decent veteran options available, but who will be the back-up point guard?

There are plenty of holes that will need to be filled this off-season, such as a front-court pairing, extra depth, a point guard, and of course the continued search of a consistent three-level scorer. But as time passes, it would not surprise me if Vincent was given a much bigger role to begin the season.

A bench spark who also brings a good amount of defensive physicality is the type of guy they’ve always liked in that role, and it’s obviously a guy that they trust. His development is far from over as well, since he has a full off-season ahead of him, including the Olympics and summer training, to improve some of the things that can get him to that point.

In my opinion, I think a major focus for the Heat will be getting back to the basics, and placing him into his area of strength. If shooting consistency from deep comes back the way I expect it to, he could definitely be utilized regularly as a Miami Heat reserve.

This is a time for all of their young guys to grow as basketball players so they can find their way into the rotation, but the guy that hasn’t been the center of attention for some time, may be the one to come out the true winner of the off-season among that grouping.

And there’s just something about those gritty undrafted guys that the Heat find a major liking for, and Vincent falls right under that category. They have loved his work ethic behind the scenes, and combining some more development with a Heat possible position of need could result in a solution that is right in front of their eyes.

 

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What Would a Miami Heat-Rudy Gay Signing Look Like?

After diving into all of the primary off-season options for the Miami Heat, I’m continuing to go into some of the small ball fours that could possibly be plugged in next to Bam Adebayo in the front-court. There are plenty on the market this off-season, but this specific guy basically forces me into a different writing style.

Instead of focusing on all of Rudy Gay’s strengths, I’m just going to touch on the one offensive ability that sets him apart from the rest.

It’s pretty much known that when the Heat like a certain guy, they somehow find themselves back in contention for that guy down the line. And Gay falls right under that category.

Miami ended up with Trevor Ariza at the deadline, while they had their eyes on Gay up to that point. And here they are with yet another opportunity.

So, let’s get right into why he is so much different than the other options in free agency…

Floor Spacer

To be very clear, although a three-level scorer should be a focal point for the Heat this off-season, it just doesn’t seem possible. Some guys like Brandon Ingram have their name being thrown around a bit, but I would guess that Miami isn’t relying on that option.

That leaves them focusing on the true priority in free agency: a point guard. The money going to that position most likely means another cheap front-court pairing will be the outcome, but what if that spot can be a role player who can score at three levels?

Among some of the other options, there are plenty of two level scorers. Guys like Jeff Green are great beyond the arc and in the mid-range, while others like JaMychal Green are most comfortable from three and at the rim.

There’s always that one area that waves a red flag, but that’s usually what you get with these type of small power forwards. One thing they all have in common though is floor spacing, and Gay clearly provides that.

He shot 40% on catch and shoot threes this past, but that doesn’t mean he is one of those stiff one-dimensional spot-up threats. He can move pretty well, and that type of elusive movement leads to all of his catch and shoot looks in the offense. In a Miami Heat motion offense, plenty of pin-downs and off-ball screens will be utilized to get him free, but that’s not what sets him apart from the others on the market….

Pull-Up Dissector

The mid-range pull-up numbers took a bit of a dip this past season, but some of that has to do with the attempts increasing by a good amount. After shooting 47% from that spot of the floor a year ago, it dropped down to 40% this past season.

Now, even with that slight fall-off, I’m still confident in that ability for him since he has one of those high arching shots that combine with great length on the fade, which makes for a pretty deadly mid-range game for his size.

Looking at the clip above, those two dribbles into a baseline pull-up may look simple, but that could be the difference maker in a Heat offense. They’ve had different front-court trials over the past two years that all played differently, and Gay would do the same thing for next year’s Heat team.

When that spot is filled with guys that live or die by the three, off nights can alter an entire offensive scheme. But a guy that is capable of mixing in that type of play-style can truly bend a defense, which is important for somebody that wouldn’t be a primary player on the roster.

Some of the other guys out there also have a three ball and a mid-range game, so what else is there with Gay?

Physical Attacker

Finally, the completion of the three-levels ends with a capable attacking game, and it adds some physicality. If Miami is looking for a four that can get to the rim a bit, it has to be more of a strong and physical one than a finesse driver.

Gay has shown to be pretty strong on his drives over the years, but once again, this topic is far from being complicated. His attacking doesn’t have to be super versatile or out of control, it just has to be a possibility.

Looking at the clip above, they’re setting him a screen to get him going downhill which gets fumbled a bit. He recovers and turns the corner on the baseline for the dunk. That’s it. If this is the type of route they go, a guy that can just turn the corner is all they need.

As much as I feel that more of a paint presence could be the route they go with the need of rebounding, a player that has been on their radar for some time wouldn’t seem like a shocking option. With Miami’s need of half-court scoring, adding some more of that next to Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and a point guard acquisition can really change the way the offense looks.

Not only in a regular season setting, but a playoff setting. Adding a veteran point guard and Rudy Gay should signal what the Heat are about this upcoming season: trying to win now.

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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