Heat enter NBA draft combine looking to make most of first-round ‘swing’

Chet Kammerer (left) celebrates the Heat’s NBA championship. (Courtesy of Miami Heat)

MIAMI — The Heat don’t get many swings in the draft. So when Miami does get a swing, it must take advantage.

After going through last year’s draft without a selection, the Heat own a first-round pick in the June 22 draft. With the NBA combine set to take place this week in Chicago, Miami’s evaluation process is now at an important point.

“I think there’s probably a little more pressure only because we don’t get as many swings as some teams do,” Chet Kammerer, the Heat’s vice president of player personnel said of this year’s pick. “I’m not complaining about that. We just use them for different things. If you make a great choice, it’s fine.”

Miami enters the draft lottery, which will take place on May 16, with a 98.2 percent chance of having the 14th overall pick and a 1.8 percent chance of moving into the top three.

So the fact that a few big names have decided to skip the NBA draft combine shouldn’t affect the Heat too much. Potential top-10 picks such as UCLA guard Lonzo Ball, Duke forward Jayson Tatum, Kansas forward Josh Jackson, North Carolina State guard Dennis Smith, and Florida State forward Jonathan Isaac are among the top players who will not participate in the combine.

[2008 Celtics still hurt by Ray Allen’s decision to sign with the Heat]

[Mailbag: Will Dion Waiters, James Johnson actually take less money to return to Heat?]

But draft prospects projected to be in the Heat’s range are expected to be in Chicago. Players who are projected to be selected around the 14th overall pick and will participate in the combine include North Carolina forward Justin Jackson, Wake Forest forward John Collins (a former Cardinal Newman standout), and UCLA forward TJ Leaf.

“There are like three crucial things that I think we get out of it, so it’s very important,” Kammerer said of the combine. “No. 1, anybody that comes, we get a full medical report on them. The second thing has to do with the interview. We submit the players we would like to interview. We’ll get to talk to 20 [players] and that’s helpful because we have an opportunity to sit down with our entire staff and have 20-25 minutes with those 20 players. The third thing we like is the fact that they get a compete testing. You’ll get all the exact measurements from the height, wing span and hand size. And then they will have tests regarding strength and speed and quickness.”

Heat president Pat Riley, general manager Andy Elisburg and head coach Erik Spoelstra are expected to be in attendance for at least a portion of the combine. They will join Miami’s player personnel staff of Kammerer, Adam Simon, Eric Amsler, Keith Askins and Bob McAdoo in Chicago.

If the Heat do end up with the 14th overall pick, as expected, they believe they can land a productive player. Miami must use its first-round pick this year, as teams can’t trade out of the first round in consecutive years under NBA rule.

“There’s kind of a joke among us in the office. If we have the 30th pick, we like 28 guys,” Kammerer said with a laugh. “If we have the 10th pick, we like eight. Now, we like 12. We have 12 guys we really like. That’s kind of a joke among us all. It kind of seems like that’s the way it always is. I think this is a draft that we can come up with a player that can contribute in the NBA. We just got to choose the right one.”

Especially since the Heat don’t have many draft picks moving forward. Miami doesn’t own both of its picks in a draft until 2022.

So Kammerer and his staff will try to make this year’s swing count.

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

Reader Comments 0

0 comments