As far as their own team is concerned, the Heat were fine going into tonight’s NBA Draft without any picks. That confidence is in part because they nailed last year’s draft with the pick-ups of Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson.
Still, any gain by the competition is a loss for Miami. As it sat idle during the draft, several teams it’s trying to outrun made what appear to be significant improvements. Here are the three that have the biggest impact on the Heat:
1. Boston Celtics pick Jaylen Brown at No. 3
Everyone in the Eastern Conference is eying Boston this offseason. Even while doing everything possible to build up a war chest of future draft picks and preserving salary cap space for a huge free agent signing, the Celtics went 48-34 last season and finished tied (with the Heat and others) for third place in the conference. Boston is one of many teams chasing Kevin Durant this summer, but it will be in solid position either way thanks to Brown and still having the money to land someone like Al Horford.
2. Oklahoma City trades for Victor Oladipo
As the Thunder go all out to keep Durant, this move might help. They dumped mainstay power forward Serge Ibaka, who has been in decline the past two years, in a trade with Orlando to acquire Oladipo. Over the past two seasons, he averaged 17 points, 4.5 rebounds and four assists. Fresh off his 24th birthday, he could be on the cusp of entering his prime as he arrives in OKC.
3. Brandon Ingram goes No. 2 to the Los Angeles Lakers
Like the Celtics, Los Angeles seems to be preparing for the possibility of not getting Durant. Brandon Ingram was in the conversation for most talented prospect in this year’s draft class and gives the Lakers a strong, young core alongside D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. That trio makes L.A. a desirable destination on its own merit, plus it opens the possibility of a trade along the lines of what Cleveland did with Andrew Wiggins in 2014.