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Miami Heat 2010 NBA Draft Roundup

After trading out of the first round yesterday the NBA Draft shaped up to be a bit of an emotional letdown for Heat fans with Miami holding four picks in the second round that likely won't make the roster next season despite the numerous roster spots now open. Most of the selections at this stage of the draft would shape up to be developmental picks anyway which suits Pat Riley just fine given his insatiable desire to clear as much cap space as possible to make way for veterans ready to win now instead of raw prospects who have lots to learn about the NBA game. Perhaps in response to the recent injury to last year's second-round pick Robert Dozier, the Heat went with some size in their first couple of picks, chose a talented but injured player (a la San Antonio's Dejuan Blair last year in the second round) and then made history by being the first to select a player from the NBA Developmental League. Let's look at each pick. With their first selection in the draft at #32, the Heat went with Dexter Pittman, a 6-11 300 pound beast out of Texas who is said to have weighed almost 400 pounds in high school. If any of these picks would seem to have a shot at making the roster next season it just might be Pittman who was one of the few seniors to be selected in the draft so he has more experience than most of his fellow rookies. Conditioning will obviously be a concern but the Heat have proven over the years that they place a large emphasis on getting players fit so Riley and his staff must be confident that they can mold Pittman into NBA shape (at the very least into Glen "Big Baby" Davis territory). As an alternative to the creaky Jamaal Magloire he just might do the trick. If not, it's on to the Developmental League or overseas. Here's what ESPN's Chad Ford had to say about him before the draft (Insider subscription required to see his entire draft notes):
Dexter Pittman has always been a favorite of GMs. He has a ton of talent, soft hands and good athleticism. The question has always been his conditioning. In New Jersey, he drew repeated praise for how hard he worked. I get the sense that GMs want to find a way to take this guy. If they get him in the right conditioning program, he could be a monster down the road.
And this is what Ford said after the draft:
The Heat love Pittman. They believe if he loses 25 to 30 pounds he could be a dominant force in the paint. He's worth the risk here.
The Heat then selected Mississippi State's 6-10 Jarvis Varnado, another senior, with the #41 pick who was considered the best shot blocker in college as perhaps a bit of insurance should Joel Anthony leave the Heat. Here is a bit of Ford's analysis of Varnado before the draft:
He's been the most dominant shot-blocker in college basketball the past few years, and it's hard to imagine he won't continue that success at the next level. He's an explosive athlete with a downright freaky 7-4 wingspan. He has a knack for blocking shots, is a good rebounder and plays hard on every possession. He's slowly been improving on the offensive end, but he's never going to be a dominant offensive player. Varnado held his own in the offensive drills and even hit a couple of 3-pointers, but that's not going to be his bread and butter. He's so active defensively that he reminds me a lot of the Nuggets' Chris Andersen.
Ford had this to say after the draft:
Varnado is the best shot-blocker in the draft and is a good value pick for the Heat. If he were a bit stronger or a bit taller, he would've gone much higher.
The Heat made a very intriguing pick immediately after with the next pick at #42 with 6-7 SF Da'Sean Butler out of West Virginia who sustained a nasty knee injury that knocked him out of the first round despite his talent. A shrewd choice for the Heat as they seem to be in no hurry to rush any of these picks into the NBA, Ford thinks this is a solid pick for the Heat:
Butler would've been a first-round pick had he not torn his ACL at the end of the year. It's probably going to be February, at the earliest, before he's ready to play. But if the Heat are patient, and he recovers, he's a very good value.
Finally, with their last pick at #48, the Heat became the first team ever to select a player directly from the NBDL with 6-8 Latavious Williams, who skipped college and entered the Developmental League last year instead. Easily the most likely of the picks to be never heard from again, Williams just might continue to play in the NBDL while the Heat continue to monitor his progress. Yet at 21 already, Williams may be raw but he's just two months older than Michael Beasley so it remains to be seen what he could bring to the table for the Heat in the future. The Heat could have easily picked Florida State's Solomon Alabi (who finally went two picks later) at this spot for more size but perhaps there's a good reason why so many teams passed on him. And now it's on to next week and the arms race that is free agency! UPDATE: From Ira Winderman: Heat No. 48 second-round selection Latavious Williams to be sent to Oklahoma City for protected 2011 second-round selection.