Heat president Pat Riley calls it “purgatory,” picking 14th, or in the middle of the first round. But that doesn’t mean Miami is not looking for a heavenly player.
“We’re in purgatory,” Riley said. “What I mean by that, either win a championship, you make the playoffs or you get the first pick in the draft. Everybody else is in purgatory. And that’s where we are right now. It’s sort of between heaven and hell. That’s where we are. But we like 12 through 20.”
Riley said Vice President of player personnel Chet Kammerer and his staff scouting staff of Adam Simon, Eric Amsler, Keith Askins and Bob McAdoo already have scheduled workouts with draft eligible players. The Heat have the worst odds among the lottery teams, 1.8 percent, of moving in into the top three, that includes 0.5 percent chance at the top overall pick, 0.6 percent at No. 2 and 0.7 percent at No. 3.
“I do believe that between 12 and 20, or 20 and 12, these players can flip-flop, that there will be a very good player in the draft,” Riley said. “We’ll probably take the best player, depending on free agency and who’s going to stay and not going to stay.”
“And possibly some of these guys from 12 to 20 could be better than the guys from seven to 12.”
Here is a list of the players some of the mock drafts have the Heat selecting. Most vary, but one showed up on two mocks, one with ties to South Florida and Palm Beach County.
NBADaft.net and DraftExpress: Sophomore John Collins, 6-8, PF, Wake Forest.
Collins, who is from West Palm Beach and starred at Cardinal Newman High School, averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds. He led the ACC with a 62.3 field goal percentage, 63.9 in ACC games. And although most believe Collins was the best player in the league, he was runner-up to North Carolina’s Justin Jackson in the Player of the Year voting. He voted to the All-ACC first team and was the league’s Most Improved Player.
CBSSports.com: Sophomore OG Anunoby, 6-8, SF, Indiana.
Like Collins, one of a handful of non-freshman projected to go in the first round, Anunoby missed the final 15 games of the season because of a knee injury; undergoing surgery on Jan. 31. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting 54.9 percent.
MyNBADraft.com: Freshman T.J. Leaf, 6-10, PF, UCLA
Leaf has the versatility the Heat like with an ability to play inside or out and he is not a liability on defense. He averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
HoopsHype: Freshman, Harry Giles, 6-10, PF, Duke.
We know Heat like Duke players and Giles could be there in the middle of the first round, but with a risk. He has torn both ACL’s and has had three knee surgeries since 2013 and never was at full strength last season. He averaged 4.3 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Bleacher Report: Freshman Justin Patton, 7-0, C, Creighton.
Even with Hassan Whiteside expected to hold down the position for several years, the Heat could find it difficult to pass on a player with this much upside. Patton averaged 12.9 points and 6.1 rebounds and would benefit from a year in the D-League.
SB Nation: Freshman Jarrett Allen, 7-0, Fr., C, Texas.
Another freshman big man with plenty of potential. Allen and his 7-5.5 wingspan, averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds.