MIAMI — Heat president Pat Riley will admit it.
“To be really honest with you, I’m not a draft pick guy,” he said in his post-season press conference. “You know that.”
We know that because the Heat have traded most of their picks away recently. Miami currently doesn’t have a selection in this year’s June 21 draft.
Instead, the Heat could have to rely on their ability to find another contributor in the undrafted pile. They’ve had success with that in the past, turning undrafted prospects like Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Udonis Haslem into rotation players.
“We’ve got enough. We’ve got a good young core of players,” Riley said. “We hope that one of the guys we really like that we can sign on July 1 might be tantamount to a first-round pick for us.
“I’ve taken the team to the bottom and we got Caron [Butler] at 10 and we got Dwyane [Wade] and we got [Michael Beasley] at 2 and we got Justise [Winslow] and we got Bam Adebayo. And so we’ve got young players. You don’t want to have too many young players.”
Miami doesn’t own both of its picks in a draft until 2022. The Heat’s 2018 first-round selection belongs to the Suns — the first of two first-round picks owed from the 2015 acquisition of Goran Dragic.
The Heat also still owe the Suns an unprotected 2021 first-round pick to complete that transaction.
Miami does have a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. But the Heat are eligible to trade that selection away, something that Riley has been known to do in the past if the deal brings in a talented veteran.
“My opinion on draft picks? Yes, They’re valuable,” Riley said. “They’re valuable to trade for veteran players that have talent if you can get one. So we traded two picks for Goran. I was looking at it like: OK, we just lost LeBron [James]. We’ve got Goran, we’ve got [Luol] Deng, we’ve got Wade, we’ve got Hassan [Whiteside] and we’ve got Chris [Bosh]. To me, that is a good enough team to get to the Eastern Conference Finals and maybe further if it stayed intact. And we got nothing but adversity after that.
“If you can get players in free agency, if you can get players that are 25, 26 years old that need a place to really develop and then you get a pick and another young player and then you get a pick, that’s fine. So the fact that we don’t have a pick this year. Will we try to get one? Maybe. But when you’re drafting 15, 16, 17, 18, I would much rather have Goran Dragic than those two picks.”