After a disappointing ending the 2014 NBA Playoffs, the Heat are forced to turn their attention quickly to next season. The NBA Draft is this Thursday, June 26. The Miami Heat own the 26th and the 55th picks this year, and all signs point to them at least using their first round pick to help the team.
Although in years past, Pat Riley has opted to not prefer young players to help mold a championship team, he showed that with a mature rookie, like Norris Cole, they can be effective in spurts. But, we most remain realistic, chances are still possible that Riley and the team will trade that pick if a valuable piece can be exchanged for it.
Heat lead scout Chet Kammerer spoke with the media today and gave some insight into what the Heat are looking to do with their first round pick. Kammerer on keeping the pick, "I think at this point we'd want to add someone on our roster who'd be a rookie and can contribute."
That means the Heat are likely going to be looking at a freshmen player, someone who may need more development. It also means that aren't just going to take someone who is athletic and could mold into a good player. It means they are likely to take someone who has a specific skill set and that can fit into helping this team in one or two areas. The most glaring needs for the Heat are at center and point guard.
Mario Chalmers is a free agent, and could likely be gone. Everything is in flux because we don't know what Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh are going to do. And we don't know what Riley is thinking of other additions, but he did say he will retool the team.
With Shane Battier gone, and Ray Allen uncertain, but aging, the team could use some athletic depth on the wing as well. Basically, the Heat have their options wide open, except for at small forward. If LeBron comes back, Lord...please, it's been reported that the Heat also are really excited about the improvement of James Ennis, whom the Heat took in last year's draft and spend this year developing overseas.
Kammerer claimed the Heat have worked out about 40 different players, have done their homework and are as prepared as they can be. But he also said the Heat would need to catch some breaks to get the guy(s) they want. "We have 20 guys that we really like. Hopefully one of those 20 will be there" said Chet.
So with all that being said, let's take a brief look at some of the realistic options for the Heat for the draft later this week:
Shabazz Napier: 6'0, 175 lbs. Senior point guard from UConn
Napier dazzled the NCAA Tournament this year, giving glimpses of Kemba Walker. Napier led his team to the Championship. He isn't big, and he isn't overly fast, but he is crafty and has a desire to win like none other. Napier is probably not a starter, but could be a great addition to the Heat bench, especially if Norris Cole finds his way into the starting lineup
Last Year Stats: 18.0 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.9 APG
Tyler Ennis: 6'2, 180 lbs. Freshmen point guard fron Syracuse
Ennis is not what I described above about being an older player, but if you watched any college basketball this season, you saw an extremely balanced player in Tyler Ennis. Praised for being mature beyond his years, Ennis, like Napier may not even be available when the Heat pick, but he could be. He is a game controller, and the type of player that would fit extremely well alongside of LeBron James.
Last Year Stats: 12.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 5.5 APG
Jordan Adams: 6'5, 209 lbs. Sophomore shooting guard from UCLA
Jordan Adams would be a terrific selection for the Heat if the above players are taken. Miami did work him out, and he possesses the athletic, energetic, high character wing that could really be a beneficial supplement to Dwyane Wade. He isn't overly athletic, but he is a scorer and a team player.
Last Year Stats: 17.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 APG
James Young: 6'6, 215 lbs. Freshmen shooting guard from Kentucky
Talk about a slam dunk for the Heat. Young has the ability to develop into something special very quickly. Overshadowed by some other names at UK, Young showed glimpses of freak athletic nature and a solid perimeter shot. He may not be the shooter the Heat are used to in #34, but Young, again would be the ideal wing off the bench to ease Wade's minutes.
Last Year Stats: 14.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG
Adreian Payne: 6'10, 240 lbs. Senior power forward from Michigan State
He's ready to contribute now, but he likely will be taken before Miami has a chance. He can shoot from the outside and is an experienced player. He would struggle in Miami's defensive system if it stays the same, but could have huge benefits on the other end of the floor.
Last Year Stats: 16.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.3 APG
There's plenty more, probably 15 more, according to Kammerer that could see themselves in the Heat rotation next year if all goes right, but this is a brief glimpse into some serious possibilities.
The NBA Draft is this Thursday at 7:30 PM.