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Heat won’t have Summer League to evaluate undrafted gems like Robinson, Nunn

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This summer will present challenges for Miami to continue its stunning improvement from lottery team to a top-four seed in the East.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Day 1 - Miami Heat v China Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat used its exceptional eye for talent to mine gold from a vast number overlooked prospects. Part of the process included players from the G-League and Summer League. Some of the coronavirus fallout included elimination of Summer League action and curtailed evaluations of NBA draft nominees.

With that said a brief look at some upcoming possibilities might be interesting. Granted the status of 2019-20 NBA season remains unknown, as well as who will or won’t be free agents. Until the point when those issues are settled, the deadline to declare for the NBA draft has just passed so the clock has started ticking until draft day.

As of today the Heat would hold the 23rd pick and none in the second round. The standards are higher this season because the Heat went from a fringe playoff team to a top-ten one. The assumption now is the Core Five players on the Miami Heat must possess playoff-caliber talent. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo meet that criteria since they’re bona fide All-Stars.

Duncan Robinson has carved out a role as low-usage floor spacer to compliment Butler’s and Adebayo’s roles as interior finishers, distributors and defensive aces. While Kendrick Nunn is a presumptive member of the NBA All-Rookie Team and Meyers Leonard a front-line stalwart, they still have to make another leap forward to deliver a championship for Heat fans.

The Heat have a surplus of forwards: Jae Crowder, Udonis Haslem, Solomon Hill, Andre Iguodala, Derrick Jones Jr., Meyers Leonard, Kelly Olynyk, KZ Okpala, Chris Silva. Tyler Herro and Nunn are the only guards presently under contract for the Heat next season.

Barring a trade, a look at point guards in the upcoming draft could provide some back court depth. Talent, both physically and mentally, is the number 1, 2 and 3 criteria. However after 22 picks the 23rd selection offers leeway to accept flawed choices to prove doubters wrong, in other words another Jimmy Butler.

This year’s draft provides a bumper crop of point guards per CBS Sports, “If you’re an NBA team in this year’s draft in need of an upgrade at point guard, like lottery-bound New York [Knicks] and Detroit [Pistons], then this is a fortuitous year to be in the market. Because at the top of the draft is No. 1 prospect LaMelo Ball and No. 3 prospect Killian Hayes, at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-5, respectively, with passing, playmaking and scoring chops that project to be franchise-building prospects.”

“The depth is immense at the position as well even beyond Ball and Hayes. Tyrese Haliburton, Tyrese Maxey, Theo Maledon and Cole Anthony are all lottery talents who can handle the position. Then, on down the board, players like Tre Jones, Kira Lewis Jr., Tyrell Terry, Cassius Winston and Devon Dotson have the talent and production in college to translate their game into early NBA playing time — either as sure-handed backups or as developmental options with upside.”

Of course any look at point guards for the Miami Heat begins with University of Kentucky products, Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley. Herro could provide in-depth scouting reports since he was a teammate for both of them (Hagans is #2, Herro #14 in the clip below).

Quickley has developed into a marksman this season with the NCAA’s third-best FT% at .923 and outstanding 3P% of .428.

Hoopshype aggregate draft has Jahmi’us Ramsey as the aggregate 23rd pick. Stadium notes “Jahmi’us Ramsey led Texas Tech with 15.0 points per game, becoming the first player in program history to earn Big 12 Freshman of the Year and All-Big 12 honors.”

A little further down the consensus ladder is Tre Jones. Per ACC Digital Network, “Duke’s Tre Jones put together a phenomenal sophomore campaign. Jones was named the 2019-20 ACC Player of The Year and Defensive Player of The Year. He was the leader of the Blue Devils and averaged 16.2 points, 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game this season.”

Kira Lewis, Jr. has drawn comparisons to De’Aaron Fox with his speed and uptempo style. The ability to drive and dish would compliment Heat’s arsenal of shooters. He’s fast.

Devon Dotson of top-ranked Kansas shows how to win per Stadium, “Devon Dotson followed up a breakout 2018-19 campaign with an excellent 2019-20 that saw him post 18.1 PPG to lead Kansas in scoring.”

Tyrell Terry, a fellow Cardinal like Okpala, shows no fear in letting it fly, much like Trae Young.

Lastly there’s Cassius Winston from Michigan State who’s on the older side, but a career 43.2% 3-point shooter at the collegiate level.

Incidentally the 23rd pick receives a first-year salary of $1.9M, which useful in planning trades or signing free agents, since one report says, “The NBA Draft could be pushed from June 25 until as late as sometime in August or September due to the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski said Sunday on SportsCenter.”