Chad Ford joined radio host Chris Wittyngham on WAXY 104.3 The Ticket last night and talked specifically about all the Miami Heat draft options.
The reason why each Mock Draft has a different player for Miami, turned out to be an actual compliment to the organization. While other franchises have leaked out who their interested in, Miami hasn't said a word other than who has worked out for them. The Heat also have little draft history under Pat Riley (only three times in top 10) to go on so it's hard to gauge who Miami is interested in.
Ford did however try his best to be in Riley's shoes when looking at this draft.
"They (Heat) want to compete for an NBA title, so their going to go after a player who is well established, can play right now, and has a track record of winning basketball games" he said.
He continued by saying Miami wont be drafting 2-3 year projects like Myles Turner from Texas, or Kevin Moody from UCLA. Furthermore, Ford went out of his way to say he would be "stunned" if the Heat go after Kelly Oubre. Miami instead needs players who can already be a part of the rotation next season.
Before breaking down all the players Miami could use, Ford talked about what Miami has already. He assumed that Dwyane Wade would be back (if only I could assume the same) but depth was needed behind him and Luol Deng. Depth is also needed in the power rotation, because even though Hassan Whiteside is manning the middle, he can't be trusted just yet to carry the load for 82 games. In continuing to talk about Whiteside, Ford once projected him as a 2010 lottery pick but the interview process is what "destroyed his stock." See? Us HHH writers aren't crazy when we write up articles calling Whiteside Miami's "lottery pick."
So who are all the possibilities for Miami?
Devin Booker, Guard, Kentucky - While Booker is from a proven school (same school as Riley,) and is a gifted 3-point shooter, Ford was concerned with what else Booker could bring to the table. While he is the youngest player in this draft with an above average athletic ability, Booker still needs to develop his game the way Klay Thompson has for Golden State in terms of defending and passing. Due to the Warriors most recent success, Booker's stock has risen and Ford believed he would go either 8, 9 or 10. If he was drafted before the Heat, it would probably be to Charlotte, who is in need of shooting.
Stanley Johnson, Forward/Guard, Arizona - Initially Johnson was projected as a top 5 pick but his season in college turned out to be a reason why his stock dropped. "While his body is great, he's not really athletic. He's not explosive, quick nor does he elevate quick enough, and that gave him problems when he got to Arizona around bigger and stronger athletes." Ford said. He continued by praising Johnson's jump shot but even with that touch, no one in the NBA is in love with his shot due to his slow and low release. "It's the shot that gets blocked a lot on the NBA level" said Ford. The positives on Johnson would be that even though he has to fix his mechanics and improve his athleticism, he will find a home in the NBA because of his consistent energy.
Sam Dekker, Forward, Wisconsin - Ford started by saying Dekker may not even be available to the Heat because the Pistons (who pick at #8) was impressed with his workout for them. Ford believed that Dekker's offense was limited in Wisconson due to creating shots for Frank Kaminsky, and being pulled out of games when his own shot wasn't falling, affecting his confidence. When Dekker is able to create for himself and has confidence in his shooting, Ford believes Dekker is "unstoppable"
Conclusion: The common thread in the three players that Ford talked about was that each of them need to be with the right coach and system in order to thrive. Miami has the right coach, and while the system isn't catered to these three specific players just yet, each of them have a strong chance to produce in the rotation this upcoming season. If Miami select Booker, he would be Wade's backup. If Johnson, he would be Deng's backup. If they select a stretch four in Dekker, then there's a possibility Miami might trade McRoberts for future picks. The Heat have options to go to in this Draft and we're all looking forward to see who gets called June 25th.
Feel free to post your comments below about who the Heat should draft among their options!