The Miami Heat did not strike gold in tonight’s NBA Draft Lottery, when they were awarded the No. 13 overall draft pick. However, that doesn’t mean talent isn’t there for the taking.
While this draft class is considered to be quite top heavy, Heat team president Pat Riley explained just last month that there is talent all over the draft.
“I think it’s deeper than what people say,” Riley said last month of this year’s draft. “… I’ve seen 30 players that are very good players. We’re at No. 13. I do think we would get something that would be equivalent to who we have on our team right now, Bam [Adebayo] and Justise [Winslow] and Josh [Richardson] and Derrick Jones Jr. There are going to be players that I think in that area will help us.”
“Who could be available for the Heat at No. 13?” Chiang wrote. “ESPN rates these as the ninth through 18th best draft-eligible players: No. 9 Texas center Jaxson Hayes, No. 10 North Carolina shooting guard Coby White, No. 11 Indiana small forward Romeo Langford, No. 12 Gonzaga power forward Brandon Clarke, No. 13 Oregon center Bol Bol, No. 14 Southern California shooting guard Kevin Porter, No. 15 Kentucky power forward P.J. Washington, No. 16 North Carolina small forward Nassir Little, No. 17 Kentucky shooting guard Tyler Herro and No. 18 Gonzaga power forward Rui Hachimura.
“The latest ESPN mock draft put together by NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givnoy has the Heat taking Langford.”
If the Heat were to take Langford, they’d get a player who displayed glimpses of top talent despite playing with a torn ligament in his shooting hand.
Another possible option for the Heat is Hachimura. The 6-foot-8 star displayed impressive athleticism all season long. While his shot leaves something to be desired, he showed the work ethic at Gonzaga University necessary to improve that aspect of his game at the next level.
Another thing to consider is Miami’s current cap situation.
“According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the No. 13 pick will come with a cap hit of $3.6 million next season,” Chiang wrote.
“The Heat already has 13 players under contract for 2019-20 (not accounting for an allocation for the first-round draft pick) who are due about $140 million. That includes the four players (Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn) who don’t have their full 2019-20 salaries guaranteed yet. It also includes Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, who both have 2019-20 player options to decide on this offseason.
“The $140 million of combined salaries can be lowered by about $6 million by waiving Ryan Anderson by July 10. That still puts the Heat way above the projected $109 million salary cap and just above the projected $132 million luxury tax line.”
While the Heat didn’t luck out and get an opportunity to select one of the very top picks, Riley has proven his ability to find diamonds in the rough in the past.
Here’s hoping he does it again in next month’s 2019 NBA Draft.