Discover more from Hot Hot Hoops - Miami Heat NBA Blog
Grading the Miami Heat's 2023 NBA Draft
Let's look at some grades!
The Miami Heat selected Jaime Jaquez Jr. with their No. 18 selection in the 2023 NBA Draft, their only draft pick of Thursday evening. Let’s take a look at how the pundits graded the selection mere hours after the draft.
SB Nation (Rocky O’Donnell): B+
“Jaquez had an awesome four-year career at UCLA, but never did I think he would ultimately end up as a top-20 pick. Drafting a pro-ready player does make sense for a Heat team that just made the Finals. Jaquez is an excellent mid-range shooter who will need to stretch out his range to three to have a big impact at the NBA level. He profiles as a low-maintenance wing who could hold down rotation minutes immediately if his three ball comes around.”
The Ringer (Danny Chau): C+
“Jaquez had a meteoric rise up draft boards, with numerous reports of impressive interviews and workouts—and now he’ll be right at home enmeshing himself in Heat Culture. The four-year Bruin has perfected his Gen Z YMCA game, with balletic footwork and an all-around sixth sense on both offense and defense. But scaling that defensive IQ up to the big leagues is the worry: He has solid size and strength at the wing, but his lack of NBA-level flexibility and foot speed shrinks his margin for error. They say your position on the floor is whatever position you can defend; the Heat will have to figure that one out.”
NBADraft.net (Nick Prevenas): B+
“Jaquez turned himself into one of the most recognizable college basketball stars over the last handful of years, and he will look to take his unorthodox game to the next level. There aren't a lot of low-post wings with expert-level footwork and incredible passing vision. Jaquez is a relentless competitor who seemingly goes out of his way to create contact. He's a scrappy, chip-on-his-shoulder player who loves to exploit mismatches. He gets after it on the defensive end and leaves his mark on every game. He's 3-point jumper comes and goes, and he lacks the lateral footspeed we've come to expect from most starting-level wings. He also comes into the league at age 22 and close to a finished product. But Jaquez comes in ready to contribute right away to a team that has Finals aspirations. Jaquez is the most ‘HEAT CULTURE’ player available.”
CBS Sports (Adam Finkelstein): B
“It's a very solid pick and a terrific fit from a culture perspective because Jaquez is one of the toughest, hardest-working players in this class. He's going to need to expand his perimeter skillset because he played a lot of small-ball four. The shot needs to improve, specifically, and there were higher-upside players on the board. But the Heat are all about culture, and Jaquez was the heart of a successful UCLA team's culture for years.”
Yahoo Sports (Krysten Peek): B
“Jaquez Jr. was the glue guy for a very successful UCLA team, and he's a player who loves to compete. The UCLA coaches raved about his work ethic, and Jaquez Jr. shot the ball better than expected during pre-draft workouts. He makes the right plays, wins 50-50 balls off the glass and has the size to defend in the post right away.”
New York Post (Zach Braziller): B+
“When you think of Heat Culture, you think of someone like Jaime Jaquez Jr., their pick Thursday night at No. 18. The UCLA star wing is smart, tough, selfless and is used to playing winning basketball. He’ll fit in perfectly on South Beach.”
Bleacher Report (Zach Buckley): C+
“Evaluating picks like this is tricky, because it forces you to separate the prospect from the draft value. Jaquez checks a boatload of boxes as a prospect, but he wasn't a lock for the first round. Taking him in the top 20 is somewhere between bold and an outright reach.
That said, he'll be an easy fit in the Heat's system and their famed #culture. If they find him enough floor time, he'll compete for an All-Rookie spot. That should be the idea anyway, since the point of selecting someone like him—a 22-year-old, four-year player in college who isn't a great athlete—is to add instant-impact ability at the expense of long-term upside.
The UCLA product can hoop. He distributes, defends, plays hard and toys with defenders in the post. His footwork makes you think a significant part of his childhood was spent watching old Kevin McHale film. But Jaquez needs his perimeter shot to keep improving—especially alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo—because he'll almost always be at a disadvantage athletically.
The prospect-organization fit is a snug one. The value is a bit questionable, though.”
Clutch Points (Brett Siegel): A-
“Rising up draft boards over the last two weeks, Jaime Jaquez lands with the Miami Heat as a Top-20 pick. Having the ability to score off the dribble and wear many different hats, Jaquez is the picture-perfect player for a team like the Heat who always look for diverse, versatile players on the perimeter. He can hold his own defensively against guards and wings, plus Jaquez brings a lot of energy on both ends of the floor. There is no reason why Jaquez cannot break into Miami's rotations during his rookie season.”
Sporting News (Kyle Irving): B
“The Heat elected to go with an NBA-ready upperclassmen, looking to build on their run to the 2023 NBA Finals. Jaquez is a physical forward who can knock down midrange jumpers and score out of the post. He should help some of Miami’s shortcomings on the offensive end and his competitive attitude lines up with ‘Heat Culture.’”
DraftKings (Chinmay Vaidya): A
“‘Heat Culture’ strikes again. Jaquez Jr. has improved in every season at UCLA, and he took big strides last year to improve as a playmaker. He was rising up draft boards throughout the process but this was around the range he was going to go in. He fits the positional versatility Miami wants, and the Heat believe they can make him a contributor in their system.”
Fansided (Christopher Kline): D+
“The absolute most #HeatCulture pick possible, UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. is heading to Miami to join the reigning champs. The four-year senior makes sense as an experienced prospect who could feasibly contribute in year one — especially given the questions about the free agent future of Gabe Vincent in the backcourt.
Jaquez plays relentlessly hard and he’s extremely crafty off the dribble, finding unique angles to score with his in-between game. He makes the right decisions in the flow of the offense and he will understand his place within Erik Spoelstra’s system.
That said, Jaquez is a rocky 3-point shooter who projects as an exploitable defender due to his limited length and athleticism. He’s the perfect culture pick, but is he the best talent on the board? Probably not.”
ESPN (Jonathan Givony):
After ultimately losing out on Bradley Beal to the Suns, the Heat will presumably remain in the hunt for whichever star guard next becomes available. For now, they're left to pick at No. 18, where they can add a younger player to their core. Miami is facing a cap crunch with playoff stalwarts Gabe Vincent and Max Strus up for new contracts, and also stands to beef up its perimeter defense moving forward. The Heat tends to buck consensus and take who they want in the draft, making this pick a bit tricky to peg for rival teams entering the night.
Having more than proven himself during a decorated UCLA career, Jaquez is the type of tough, intelligent and versatile player who should help his new team immediately. Jaquez doesn't have one elite skill, but he also doesn't have many glaring weaknesses. He is able to toggle between both forward spots, make open shots, and win extra possessions in the run of play as a rebounder and defender. He's one of the more NBA-ready players in the class and saw his stock rise for that reason.”
“A standout during the pre-draft process, Jaquez brings experience to Miami, who fell just short of an NBA title. The 2022-23 Pac-12 Player of the Year averaged 17.8 points per game in his last season at UCLA and was a major factor during the team’s improbable Final Four run in 2021. Jaquez has impressive footwork and control with the ball to fake out defenders, and a majority of his scoring came from the midrange. He will be ready to contribute at the start of the season, and his defensive game makes him reliable on both ends of the court. Expect him to also crash the boards, as he averaged a team-high 8.2 rebounds per game last year.”
The Athletic (John Hollinger):
“The Heat have somewhat bizarrely done a lot better with undrafted guys than they have with their non-lottery draft picks, but I love this pick. I think Jaquez Jr. was vastly underrated by draft world, a tough defender who can handle the ball, pass and score around the basket. He’ll likely fit well in a system that has the secondary players handling the ball and making decisions a lot more than most. He’ll also likely be able to contribute immediately.”
The Athletic (Seth Davis):
“If players were drafted purely on the basis of intangibles, Heat draft pick Jaime Jaquez Jr. would have been a top five pick. His ability to do so many things well on the court – and his knack for knowing exactly what his team needs at any given time – lend to the belief that he will find his way on to an NBA roster.
That said, Jaquez does need to improve in a lot of areas, primarily his 3-point shooting. He was a career 32.8 percent shooter from behind the arc during his four years at UCLA, and over his last two seasons he made just 30.0 percent. He also needs to improve his foot speed and overall athleticism so he can serviceably guard NBA wings. Jaquez was under a lot of pressure to carry a heavy load at UCLA. NBA scouts believe that becoming a supplemental role player should enable him to get open looks and figure out a way to use his Glue Guy skills to help his team win.”
Yahoo Sports (Dan Devine):
When evaluating his winners and losers of the draft:
“Bad news, rap dudes: The Heat got UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. with the 18th pick, and his favorite player is Jimmy Butler, and you’d better believe that his interview hit hard on the topics of competitiveness, attention to detail, impacting winning and — of course — the C-word.
‘Coach [Mick] Cronin [at UCLA], he set a standard. He set a standard that we tried to achieve my entire four years there, and I don’t think it’s going to be any different when I get to the Miami Heat,’ Jaquez told reporters Thursday. ‘They have a culture, and when you’re a part of a program or an organization with that high level of culture and winning, it’s your job to sustain that and obtain it. That’s what I’m looking forward to doing, is continuing that legacy.’
And in the process, ideally, holding off the next dozen undrafted pitbulls that Pat Riley and Co. find to earn his minutes. Welcome to Miami, Jaime. Full-pads practice on Monday.”
What do you think about the Jaime Jaquez selection? Let us know in the comments below!