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2023 NBA Draft: Miami Heat Mock Draft roundup 1.0

We’re less than a month away from Selection Sunday!

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Phil Knight Invitational - UCONN v Oregon
Oregon’s Kel’el Ware has been a popular selection for the Heat in recent mock drafts.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Don’t blink, or else you might not realize that we’re roughly 10 days away from Division-I conference tournaments beginning and less than a month from Selection Sunday!

We have a 20-25-game sample size under our belts as we enter the home stretch. And that means it’s time to look into some Mock Drafts for the 2023 NBA Draft, which begins on June 22. The Miami Heat didn’t flip their 2023 first-round pick at the deadline, so barring any offseason movement, they will own their own first-round pick for the second straight year!

I parsed through multiple mock drafts across different sites to see who the pundits had the Heat selecting for their pick, which ranges from ~20-22 across the majority of these different mocks. Let’s break them down!

(Note: Aside from Ware, who was linked to Miami the most, there’s not a specific order to the other mocks posted.)

Phil Knight Invitational - UCONN v Oregon
Oregon’s Kel’el Ware backs down UConn’s Alex Karaban in the post.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

NBC Sports (Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes, Feb. 14):

22. Kel’el Ware, C, Oregon

“A lanky 7-footer, Ware could be aided by the fact the top of the draft is thin on big men outside of Wembanyama. Ware is a solid rim-protector whose numbers look a lot better when you extrapolate them out to per-40 minutes, as he’s mostly coming off the bench for the Ducks. He seems like the type that will go somewhere between 10 and 20 to a team that is simply in need of shot-blocking,” Hughes wrote.

Def Pen (Dylan Hargis, Feb. 3)

22. Kel’el Ware, C, Oregon

“Kel’el Ware is a bit of an NBA project center, but the potential is there for the Oregon Ducks big man. It may take a season or two, but Ware could be a high-impact player in the league one day. An NBA Playoff team could take a chance on the big man in the early 20s of the draft,” Hargis wrote.

Sportsnaut (Austin Konenski, Jan. 31):

22. Kel’el Ware, C, Oregon

Yahoo Sports (Krysten Peek, Jan. 30)

22. Kel’el Ware, C, Oregon

Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo, Jan. 12)

18. Jett Howard, G/F, Michigan

“Howard projects as one of the safer potential role players in the draft, already playing a mature, efficient style as a perimeter scorer and ball-mover,” Woo wrote. “He’s listed a bit generously at 6’8”, but should be able to plug and play pretty early in the NBA due to his proclivity for knocking down shots, picking the right spots and minimizing mistakes. As the son of Michigan coach and longtime NBA vet Juwan Howard, the overall advanced nature of his game makes a lot of sense, and while Howard may not possess star upside as a shot creator, there’s a lot to feel good about here in the middle of the first round.” (Feb. 11)

22. Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF

SB Nation (Ricky O’Donnell, Jan. 18):

20. Taylor Hendricks, F, UCF

“Perhaps no freshman in college basketball is out-playing their recruiting ranking to a more impressive degree than UCF’s Taylor Hendricks this season,” O’Donnell wrote. “Hendricks was the No. 67 recruit in his class coming into the season, but he’s emerged as a possible first round pick because of his size, shot-blocking, and shooting projection. The 6’9, 210 pound forward is hitting 39 percent of his threes so far on good volume, and also has an impressive 5.6 percent block rate. A four who can provide supplemental rim protection and space the floor is so valuable in the NBA, and Hendricks has a chance to be just that.”

The Athletic (Sam Vecenie, Feb. 16):

22. Gregory “G.G.” Jackson, F, South Carolina

“He’s averaging 15 points and six rebounds. But he has a remarkably low 47.4 true shooting percentage, a 6.4 assist rate and a very high turnover rate. He doesn’t really read the floor all that well yet or generate open shots for his teammates. Defensively, he has looked a bit less impressive than he did at times when playing at lower levels. It seems like Jackson is getting frustrated, having recently complained on an Instagram Live about his late-game usage in the offense. That resulted in him being benched for the next game against Missouri. Over his last two games coming off the bench, he’s combined for seven points in 28 minutes. In the game on Tuesday against Vanderbilt, he again had a childish moment by noticeably standing away from his teammates in the huddle,” Vecenie wrote.

“This would not be the typical profile of a first-round pick, even with Jackson having been a top-five recruit in the country. Having said that, context is important. What would Jackson look like surrounded by more talent or getting more clean looks? What would it look like if he didn’t have to be the centerpiece of the offense? He’s clearly a very talented player. I just don’t think he was ready for all of this so soon at the college level. He started the season at 17 years old after reclassifying into the 2022 recruiting class ... How he performs in pre-draft workouts and interviews with teams once he gets out of this South Carolina situation will be critical to his standing. It’s not impossible that he falls out of the first round. It’s also not impossible that he climbs up into the lottery. He needs to play well in front of teams and showcase the kind of maturity necessary to display to NBA decision-makers that he will be able to scale adversity when it comes (and it will come for a player who would enter the NBA at 18 years old for the first few months of his career).”

Read his full excerpt here (behind paywall).

Tankathon (Feb. 15):

21. Gregory “G.G.” Jackson, F, South Carolina

GG Jackson Draft Profile
via Tankathon

No Ceilings NBA (Nathan Grubel, Feb. 17):

22. Jordan Hawkins, G, UConn

“While Jordan Hawkins is still growing as an all-around offensive talent, there’s zero denying his special shooting touch at this point. Not only does Hawkins take a ton of threes at high volume, but he’s also continued to scorch the net and make a lion’s share of them as the season has gone on,” Grubel wrote. “Despite UConn’s struggles in Big East play compared to how the team was performing out of conference, Hawkins has shined even brighter as we approach March. The Miami Heat could always use knockdown guys to slot alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and Hawkins could easily play off of more established stars. And really, that’s the pitch with taking him inside the Top 25. Getting true role player value with a pick in this range vs. taking a swing on a project would be too good to pass up for a team like the Heat.”

Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman, Feb. 14)

22. Rayan Rupert, G/F, New Zealand Breakers

“At 6’6” with a projectable jumper and 7’3” wingspan for defense, Rupert possesses the coveted three-and-D archetype that will help NBA teams look past his 18-year-old’s inconsistency,” Wasserman wrote.

Fansided (Christopher Kline):

20. Rayan Rupert, G/F, New Zealand Breakers

“A French wing by way of Australia, Rayan Rupert has tantalized NBA talent evaluators with his length and dynamism on the defensive end,” Kline wrote. “A mobile wing with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Rupert can bottle up ball handlers at the point of attack and wreak havoc in passing lanes. He would be well-suited to Miami’s unique team identity and player development program.”

NBA Draft Room (no name/date listed)

20. Rayan Rupert, G/F, New Zealand Breakers

“Rayan Rupert is a really interesting wing prospect from great basketball bloodlines who is far from a finished product but flashes big upside and projects well to the next level,” NBA Draft Room wrote for Rupert’s scouting notes.

“Rupert is a prototypical 3&D wing with great length and a lot of versatility. He slides his feet well and has great lateral movement and overall agility. Has quick hands and gets a lot of deflections and steals. While he’s not yet a consistent enough 3pt shooter he does show a lot of promise and will likely become a very cable floor spacer at the next level.” (Berkay Terzi, Feb. 2):

20. Noah Clowney, F, Alabama

“One of the youngest players, Clowney has potential worth considering. With his energy and two-way activity, he is making a big impact for Alabama,” Terzi wrote. “Despite being 2.08 meters tall, he has high mobility. He wreaks havoc with his combination of defensive effort, mobility and length. (1.3 blocks, 0.6 steals in 24 minutes) He has a foul problem because of his energy, he can make simple defensive mistakes. But he hasn’t even turned 19 yet. He is a valuable profile with his physical qualities, P&R success, shooting potential and defensive versatility.”

ESPN (Jonathan Givony, Feb. 4)

21. Dariq Whitehead, G, Duke

Whitehead has one of the highest floors of any player in the freshman class — a battle-tested four-year contributor at Montverde Academy who has been on the radar since he was 14,” Givony wrote on May 7, 2022, before Whitehead’s freshman season at Duke. “He has good size and length for a wing at 6-7 with a near 6-10 wingspan, and is a willing and capable defender who showed the ability to slow down guards and wings alike with his strong intensity level, physical style and excellent awareness off the ball.

“Offensively, Whitehead has made major strides with his jumper, showing the ability to hit shots in increasingly dynamic fashion, be it running off screens, pulling up in transition or playing off step-backs, although he’s still very much on the streaky side, especially in terms of shot selection.

“Whitehead is also a good decision-maker as a passer who was well-coached and does a lot of things that contribute to winning. He’s not the most explosive athlete around, having some limitations as a ball handler and shot creator and playing a somewhat inefficient style this season, especially when his tough shots weren’t falling. Still, he’s one of the youngest players in this class, not turning 18 until August, and is already as proven a player as you’ll find in the high school ranks.”

The Game Haus (Joe DiTullio, Feb. 7)

22. Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke

“Filipowski rebounds well and shows flashes of being a solid scorer,” DiTullio wrote.

The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor, Jan. 19)

21. Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke

“Filipowski brings the type of energy that the Heat historically target, and with his ballhandling ability, he’d be a perfect frontcourt fit with Bam Adebayo,” O’Connor wrote.

“Fluid ball handler capable of running actions like a guard or a wing, whether it’s pick-and-rolls or handoffs as the receiving player. He can attack out of actions in a straight line, or fluidly use crossovers and spin moves. He has glue-guy skills on offense, always keeping the ball moving, relocating around the court, and setting screens.

“NBA coaches will love to use him in different actions because of his playmaking and quick decision-making ability. He can run a pick-and-roll, or set hard screens then pop or short roll. He is already adept at running handoffs, so he could thrive if surrounded by shooters. And as a hard-nosed defensive rebounder, he can start offensive possessions by cleaning the glass and bringing the ball up on his own.

“He needs to cut down on careless turnovers. Sometimes he gets too loose with his handle in the open floor, or he’ll force passes through windows that are shut.”

Read O’Connor’s full scouting report on Filipowski here.

CBS Sports (Gary Parrish, Feb. 13):

21. Kris Murray, F, Iowa

“Murray’s twin brother (Keegan Murray) developed into a top-five pick at Iowa. This Murray won’t quite do that but has still shown enough as a versatile two-way player to be selected in this draft,” Parrish wrote.

CBS Sports (Kyle Boone, Feb. 10):

16. Leonard Miller, F, G-League Ignite

“Miller tested the NBA Draft waters and had some first-round buzz before ultimately withdrawing and committing to the G League Ignite,” Boone wrote. “Now he’s putting on a show as a scorer and rebounder who, while still a tad raw, has the physical tools and size to warrant mid-to-late lottery consideration.”

Sports Illustrated (Draft Digest Team, Feb. 14):

22. Baba Miller, F, Florida State

Hoop Social (Jordan Ennis, Jan. 24)

20. Bryce Sensabaugh, G/F, Ohio State

“The Heat go with the best shooter available and one who hopefully can bring some playmaking as well,” Ennis wrote.