As the Miami Heat continue to work out players they could take 14th overall or in the second round (if they acquire a pick) in the upcoming draft, they clearly targeted a certain type of player among those they interviewed this month at the NBA Draft Combine.
Even before scheduling private workouts in Miami, the Heat and vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer interviewed several players in Chicago. Of those, at least six were named among the top defensive players in their league, including four of the five members of the Pac-12’s All-Defensive team.
Two players the Heat spoke to were their league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
And this does not include Indiana’s OG Anunoby, who also interviewed with the Heat in Chicago. The 6-foot-8, Anunoby is an elite defensive player whose skills project to the NBA when it comes to defending players on the perimeter and in the post. Anunoby played just 16 games last season before tearing his ACL in January was not named to any All-Big Ten teams. He is projected as a mid-first round pick.
The following list of players the Heat interviewed who carry a reputation for their defense mostly are projected to be taken in the second round or go undrafted:
Kadeem Allen, 6-2, 192, PG, Stanford: Member of Pac-12 All-Defensive team who has good length, is athletic and physical enough to defend NBA guards. Guarded several positions in college.
Jordan Bell, 6-8.5, 224, PF, Oregon: Named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for his shot-blocking and rim-protecting ability. He was 25th in the country with 2.26 blocks per game. Very athletic and was successful guarding bigger, stronger players.
Chris Boucher, 6-9.5, 182, PF, Oregon: Two-time member of Pac-12 All-Defense team who finished 15th nationally with 2.55 blocks per game. He has an impressive 7-4 wingspan.
Josh Hart, 6-5, 209, SG, Villanova: Shared Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors. Averaged 1.6 steals per game and though not an elite athlete is very intelligent on the floor.
Sindarius Thornwell, 6-5, 212, SG, South Carolina: Member of SEC All-Defensive team and hard worker who became more of an all-around player this year by improving his offense. But always known as a tough, hard-nosed defender.
Derrick White, 6-4.5, 190, SG/SF, Colorado: Member of Pac-12 All-Defensive team in his only season at Colorado after transferring from Division II Colorado Springs. His is instinctual and showed an ability to block shots and steal the ball.