The Miami Heat Beat Big Board: Guards

Your Tankathon simulations were futile. Sorry. The Miami Heat will be drafting 13th.

With that finally being settled, the Heat Beat/Five Reasons crew will be rolling out some piping hot draft #content for you. We — as in myself, Greg “Leif “Sylvander, and Jack Alfonso — will kick things off with some general big boards, covering players that may be available around Miami’s range. We’ll start with the guards, then roll out our top wings (and forwards) and bigs in later pieces. After that, you’ll be getting more deep dives on individual prospects as we get closer to draft time.

To the guards!

Tier 1

Coby White, North Carolina freshman, Combo Guard, 6’5” 185 lbs

Stats: 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 42/35/80 shooting split

White would be another over the moon prospect for the Heat. Mock drafts across the internet have the UNC guard going anywhere from Top 5 to Top 20. With a rare mix of speed and craftiness, White makes for a blur on offense that wastes very little motion in his explosive moves to the basket. Has all the makings of a dynamic lead guard with a style of play that resembles the craft of Deron Williams, scoring ability of Gilbert Arenas and even shades of a player like Cuttino Mobley with his underrated spot up shooting ability.

His biggest opportunity is to improve decision making, timing and pace, particularly in the half court. White seems to have major guts, which is a prerequisite to being a leader of Heat Culture. Another no brainer selection for the Heat if available. White has absolute star potential with upside resembling a player like Trae Young in terms of overall impact. -Greg

Darius Garland, Vanderbilt Freshman, Guard, Lead Guard, 6’2 175 lbs

Stats: 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 54/48/75 shooting split

Five games.

That’s the college sample we have to work with when it comes to Mr. Garland. In that small sample, it’s hard not to come away intrigued.

In a league that’s being defined by shifty pull-up virtuosos, Garland looks like the best of the bunch among the projected lotto talents. He has an advanced handle and a quick trigger, making him a rare “Drop” defense killer if you give him an inkling of space. If you believe in that skill — and I do — there’s a case to be made that he could end up being the best point guard in this class five or so years from now.

Obviously, there are some concerns. There are … I don’t want to say “questions”, but we need to see more from him as a passer. He didn’t show many advanced flashes in pick-and-roll, and certainly not to the level (or consistency) of Ja Morant. And like Morant, Garland’s slight frame raises some flags about his ceiling as a finisher and defender.

But if there’s anything the Heat are missing, it’s a guy that can make those pull-ups. In the event that Garland doesn’t prove to be more than a, say, Jeff Teague-level facilitator, you just let Justise Winslow puncture defenses and let Garland feast off of those opportunities. -Nekias

Tier 2

Romeo Langford, Indiana Freshman Guard, 6’6” 215 lbs

Stats: 16.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 45/27/72 shooting split

Let’s start with the negatives.

Langford was a top 5 recruit coming out of high school and had a relatively disappointing year with the Hoosiers. His jump shot was unreliable, his effort and decision-making have been called into question, and it’s doubtful that he’s athletically explosive enough to make these weaknesses irrelevant. There are questions about his ability to play off ball efficiently, which complicates his fit on a Heat team that seems sold on Justise Winslow as their point guard.

All this said, I love Langford for Miami. As a fellow Hoosier, I may be biased, but if Romeo lands in the right situation, he has All-Star level potential. With his 7 foot wingspan, he should be able to guard multiple positions at the next level, giving the Heat a potentially lethal group of defensively versatile youngsters. The idea of Romeo, Winslow, Adebayo, and Richardson sharing the court, leaping into passing lanes and terrorizing opposing ball-handlers is enticing.

As for the offensive end, there is cause for concern about his ability to play off-ball, but it is worth mentioning that he had a torn ligament in his hand for most of his time with the Hoosiers. His inconsistent shooting is still worth consideration, but the hope is that his percentages improve with the health of his hand. He could be a valuable secondary ball handler alongside Justise, and his ability to penetrate the defense and draw fouls could be exactly what Miami’s offense needs to regain relevance. If he’s still available, he’d be a great pick for the Heat late in the lottery. -Jack

Kevin Porter Jr, USC freshman, 6’6” 218 lbs

Stats: 9.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 47/41/52 shooting split

*only appeared in 21 games (4 starts)

Porter Jr has the talent of a Top 5 pick. The ultimate boom or bust gamble. An up and down freshman season at USC left question marks surrounding his durability and maturity. Porter possesses the tools and upside to become a dynamic volume scorer, while also possessing the necessary size to defend 2s at the NBA level once he grows into his 6-6 frame.

One concern as it relates to his offense at the highest level was his poor 52% free throw shooting in college. Questions regarding coachability make it crucial that Porter Jr land with an organization that has structure, veteran leadership and you guessed it, CULTURE. The workout and pre-draft interview process will be the key to Porter landing in the lottery. He checks all the boxes of an on-court workout wonder who could see a rise during workouts.

In my opinion the Heat will likely pivot in a different direction come draft night if he doesn’t win the interview process in convincing fashion. The Heat’s well documented challenges related to character issues in recent years will likely influence an attempt to avoid such headaches with this lottery pick.

Porter Jr could be a Jimmy Butler/Jamal Crawford/Zach LaVine-like hybrid stylistically. Or he could be Deshawn Stevenson. Feels like too risky of a lottery selection for the Heat, but with the Heat starved for star power and a willingness to gamble, Porter is worth keeping an eye on. -Greg

Under The Radar

Tyler Herro, Kentucky Freshman, Guard 6’5” 195 lbs

Stats: 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 46/36/94 shooting split

Well, I know Giancarlo Navas hates this guy. Herro is pretty small, with a wingspan that leaves a lot to be desired. He’s not very explosive, not incredibly quick or strong, doesn’t play above the rim. He’s not a great passer or ball handler either. His value is solely as a shooter, which isn’t encouraging given his inconsistency from long range.

That said, he could be a valuable shooter off the bench. He’s got a good feel for the game, and Spoelstra could have some fun running him off screens and creating open looks for him. Coaches love this guy. As a gym rat and a scrapper, he’d be wonderful fit with the Heat’s culture. He plays the game the right way. He’s still young, and with his high motor and impressive basketball IQ, he’s going to get the most out of his abilities, hustling and grinding his way into a NBA rotation.

Character is the reason you draft this guy, and character trumps talent at the end of the day. He’s a guy you want in your locker room, a guy you’d love your daughter to date. This is the kind of high-intangible, lunch pail guy who you love to root for. He may not be the most physically gifted player in the draft, but his athleticism will sneak up on you. He’s deceptively quick.

Unless Miami ends up picking in the late 1st, early 2nd round, he likely won’t be in their range, but if Herro’s a Heat player at the end of draft night, it’ll be a win for every South Floridian with an undercut and a pair of New Balances. -Jack

Carsen Edwards, Junior, Purdue, 6’0 200 lbs Guard

Stats: 24.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 39/36/84 shooting split

A longstanding lament among Heat fans has been the lack of a go-to scorer. Since the days of Dwyane Wade’s prime, Miami has struggled to find a player that could get consistent buckets on his own. If scoring is what you want, Carsen Edwards may be your guy.

Carsen Edwards gets buckets. That’s the start and end of it. That’s what he does. As a point guard at Purdue, Edwards had the green light to let it fly. He’s crafty with the ball, reliable at the rim, and dangerous from downtown. He. Gets. Buckets.

The issue is… everything else. Edwards is undersized, not always efficient, and lacks much else outside his scoring ability. He’s not going to facilitate everything on offense and probably won’t get you many stops on defense. If his scoring efficiency doesn’t improve at the NBA level, it’s hard to imagine him sticking anywhere.

That said, Miami might be a good place for him. With Justise Winslow handling the traditional point guard duties on offense, a scorer like Edwards could thrive. Without the pressure to consistently create offense for others, Carsen could focus on getting buckets. The defensive concerns are hard to get past, but the Heat have the personnel to make up for his deficiencies. Edwards would be an interesting addition to the Heat. He’d certainly address a need, but whether what he adds in scoring makes up for his weaknesses remains to be seen. -Jack

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