With the NBA draft hours away all the the final mock are in and there is a consensus pick for the Miami Heat:
Donovan Mitchell, the 6-foot-3, 211-pound shooting guard from Louisville, a player whose skill has been compared to Dwyane Wade’s.
I took a look at 22 mocks and seven had Mitchell going to the Heat. The next most popular picks were: 4 mocks – Johnson Collin, PF, Wake Forest (by way of Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach); 3 – Luke Kennard, SG, Duke; 2 – Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina; 2 – OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana; 1 – Harry Giles, PF, Duke; 1 – Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga; 1 – Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA; 1 – PF, TJ Leaf, UCLA.
Mitchell was asked at the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month how he can help and NBA team.
“I’m able to defend,” he said. “A lot of guys don’t have that willingness to defend and I think as a guard who is undersized, that’s what everybody says, I’m able to defend and willing to defend and bring that. My jump shot as well, able to hit the shot. Consistency is one thing I’ve been working on a bunch this season and this off-season.”
With very few exceptions, the top 10 picks are the same on every board: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jason Tatum, De’Aaron Fox, Jonathan Isaac, Malik Monk, Dennis Smith, Lauri Markkanen and Frank Ntilikina in varying orders.
At that point, Pat Riley and the Heat will start getting anxious. Centers Zack Collins, Jarrett Allen and Justin Patton; shooting guards Mitchell and Kennard; power forwards John Collins, Giles and Leaf; and small forwards Justin Jackson and Anunoby pretty much make up the next 10 players.
The guess is Zach Collins will be off the board by the time the Miami is on the clock and their pick will come down who remains between Mitchell, Kennard, Justin Jackson, John Collins, Anunoby, Giles and Leaf.
Mitchell is explosive and athletic who is highly skilled defensively and has the ability to play the point. His quickness and 6-10 wingspan allows him to defend multiple position, which the Heat value. He was first team All-ACC last season, his second at Louisville, averaging 15.6 points and 4.1 rebounds.
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla was asked about Mitchell during a recent conference all.
“Ultimately, he’s going to be a small wing player,” Fraschilla said. “Coach (Rick) Pitino gave him the green light and he took a lot of tough shots this year. He has to shoot the ball better from outside.
“He kind of reminds me of (Celtics guard) Terry Rozier, not in terms of being a point guard, but in terms of being an athletic guard who could turn into a defensive specialist.”
MIAMI — It makes sense for the Heat to draft a forward with the 14th overall pick. With Chris Bosh out of the picture and power forwards James Johnson and Luke Babbitt set to be free agents this summer, Miami needs to add depth to this position either through the draft, free agency or trade.
The countdown to the draft now can be measured in hours and not days and the speculation is heating up.
With the 14th overall pick the Miami Heat have options, although not as many as teams in the top 10 or with multiple picks. What are those options? We answer that and more in today’s mailbag.
If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44).
From @AsherWildMan6: Do you think it’s possible that after the draft is over Miami leaves with no players? Could they draft someone for another team to acquire future (and needed) picks and or package 14 with McRoberts to unload and accumulate picks for the future?
The Miami Heat have that 14th and final lotter pick in Thursday’s draft. Could they find a trade partner?
The chances of the Heat drafting a player and then moving that player certainly is realistic considering Pat Riley’s history. The only reason the Heat cannot trade that selection prior to the draft is because of their willingness to unload draft picks and teams are not allowed to trade away consecutive first round picks (the Heat did not have a first rounder last season and already moved its 2018 first rounder).
Acquiring additional picks would be beneficial considering Miami does do not possess a second round pick in the next five years starting with this draft, and along with no first-round pick next season it already has dealt their first rounder in 2021.
The Heat would love to dump Josh McRoberts’ $6-million salary. If they could make a deal to move down in the draft that would allow them to pick up a second rounder and attach McRoberts’ salary to the trade that would be win-win. The Heat do have the option of stretching McRoberts’ contract which means releasing the power forward/center and taking cap hits of $2 million for each of the next three seasons instead of a $6 million cap hit this season. That $4 million savings in July could be valuable.
The more likely scenario, rather than coming away with no players in this draft, is the Heat moving down to acquire an additional pick, especially considering the new two-way contracts that allow teams to keep two additional players under their control who they send to the developmental league. The Heat value the D-League and have used Sioux Falls to develop players like Tyler Johnson, Rodney McGruder and Okaro White.
Portland has three picks and perhaps it would be willing to deal Nos. 20 and 26. Same with Utah which owns the 24th and 30th picks. Or perhaps Miami could drop down a few spots to late teens and add up a second rounder.
All of this, of course, depends on how much the Heat like the players that will be available to them with the 14th pick. Miami may not be sure it if can retain James Johnson and may believe someone like Lauri Markkanen (perhaps the best case scenario) or John Collins would be more valuable than an extra pick. Or the same when it comes to Dion Waiters and perhaps adding a Donovan Mitchell or Luke Kennard or OG Anunoby.
But one thing is certain, Riley and GM Andy Elisburg will explore every option.
From @ChrisHypeTrain: If the Heat hold onto the 14th pick could that player will be in the rotation next season or do you seem him spending time in the D league?
Yes. Okay, I know that’s a bit vague but the answer is yes to both. The Heat will be active in free agency but we have no idea how that will end up. Miami may need this pick to fill out the bench whether he is a big (more likely) or a wing. We saw two years ago both of the Heat’s picks, Justise Winslow at No. 10 overall and Josh Richardson in the second round, became key contributors.
Miami has had a lot of success using the developmental league to its advantage and would have no problem sending the pick to Sioux Falls for seasoning if it believed it was warranted. But with a lottery pick, the Heat’s plans are to add a player that can remain on the Heat roster and eventually contribute. … if they keep that pick.
It looks like the Pacers are now open to trading Paul George.
Does it make sense for the Heat to pursue the 27-year-old forward? In this week’s installment of the Heat mailbag, we took a closer look at George’s situation and why it would be risky to trade for him.
A look at 15 different mock drafts shows nine different players projected to be selected by the Heat, with five listed at least twice.
The names that come up most often: Wake Forest power forward John Collins, Duke power forward Harry Giles, North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Duke shooting guard Luke Kennard and Louisville shooting guard Donovan Mitchell.
Here is a closer look at the five players most often linked to the Heat:
John Collins, Wake Forest, 6-10, 225, 19 years old: Collins emerged last season, his second at Wake and second under coach Danny Manning. He averaged 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds, was named the ACC’s most improved players and was runner-up to Jackson as player of the year. He is more of an inside player (he did not attempt a 3-point shot in his two years in college) with power and skill. He said at the NBA combine in Chicago he has been working on his outside shot.
Harry Giles, Duke, 6-9, 232, 19 years old: Giles would be a risk-reward pick. He is considered the big man with the most upside in the draft but the risk is his history of knee injuries. He has torn the ACL in both knees, torn an MCL and had arthroscopic surgery on his knee just before his only season in college, limiting him to 11.5 minutes per game in 26 games. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. Giles, who had the biggest hands at the combine, was considered one of the top two players in the country a year ago coming out of high school.
Justin Jackson, North Carolina, 6-8, 201, 22 years old: A rare player who remained in college for three years and it paid off by winning the ACC player of the year. Jackson’s scoring improved each year from 10.7 to 12.2 to 18.3. But his shooting percentage dropped from 47.7 to 46.6 to 44.3. His 3-point shooting did improve though, peaking last season at 37.0 percent as he helped North Carolina to the NCAA title. He has length and a scorer’s mentality with the ability to put up points from inside the paint and from the perimeter.
Luke Kennard, Duke, 6-5, 196, 20 years old: Kennard has been rising on the draft boards, with many mocks projecting him to be taken in the 10 to 12 range. He has been among the top shooters in the country during his two years at Duke, finishing at 52.7 percent overall, and he has terrific range. Last season he averaged 19.5 points and shot 52.7 percent from the floor including 43.8 percent on threes.
Donovan Mitchell, Louisville, 6-3, 211, 20 years old: Mitchell, like Collins, emerged in his second season increasing his scoring from 7.4 points per game to 15.6 and his rebounding from 3.4 per game to 3.2. His shooting, though, has been erratic at 41.8 in his career. But defense is the reason Mitchell has been rising on the draft boards with a 6-10 wingspan to supplement his quickness and athletic ability. Mitchell, an ACC first-team All-Defense pick, averaged 2.1 steals.
Other players projected to be drafted by the Heat at No. 14 include: Zack Collins, a 7-0, 230-pound freshman center from Gonzaga; Ike Anigbogu, a 6-10, 250-pound freshman power forward from UCLA, Lauri Markkanen, a 7-0, 230-pound power forward from Arizona and OG Anunoby, a 6-0, 235-pound small forward from Indiana.
Following are eight players who could be available for the Heat when they are on the clock.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-10, 225.2
Position: Power forward
School: Wake Forest
Stats: 19.2 points, 9.8 rebounds as a sophomore.
Combine results: Standing reach – 8-10.5. Wingspan – 6-11.25. Body Fat – 5.4. Hand width – 10. Hand length – 9. Standing vertical – 33-0.
The skinny: The former Cardinal Newman standout blossomed between his freshman and sophomore years under Danny Manning at Wake, which means he still has a lot of upside. He has prototypical power forward skills, developing his low post game and supplementing it with his quickness, power and ability to fill the lane. His defense is solid and his offense, and especially his outside shooting, remains a work in progress.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9, 222.2
Position: Power forward
Stats: 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds as a freshman. Shot .617 from the floor.
Combine results: Standing reach – 8-11. Wingspan – 6-11. Body Fat – 6.8. Hand width – 9.5. Hand length – 8.5. Standing vertical – 29-0.
The skinny: Leaf’s offense is way ahead of his defense. He is considered to be as fundamentally sound as anybody in this draft and is said to have one of the highest basketball IQ’s in the class. He is a crafty offensive player who says he can “score on three levels,” which means filling the role of the coveted stretch four. The biggest knock is his athleticism and lack of quickness which hurts him defensively.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-8.75, 219.6
Position: Power forward
Stats: 14.0 points, 10.5 rebounds his sophomore year.
Combine results: Standing reach – 9-1. Wingspan – 7-1.5. Body Fat – 6.8. Hand width – 9. Hand length – 8.75. Standing vertical – 28-5.
The skinny: Among the more athletic power forwards. Has excellent quickness and leaping ability. Runs the floor well and is a solid finisher. His strength offensively is his back to the basket game. His outside shooting really declined his second year in college, going from 61.5 percent as a freshman to 48.4 last season. He would be a great addition defensively and with his ability to block shots. But he must get stronger.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-7, 208
Position: Small forward
School: North Carolina
Stats: 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists his junior year.
Combine results: Standing reach – 8-8.5. Wingspan – 6-11. Body Fat – 8.1. Hand width – 9.25. Hand length – 8.75. Standing vertical – 29-5.
The skinny: Jackson won the ACC Player of the Year although most believed Wake Forest’s Collins deserved the honor. Jackson’s offense game is fluid and he has length. He has a scorer’s mentality and can score in the paint and from mid-range. The only red flag could be his declining shooting percentage going from .477 as a freshman to .466 as a sophomore to .433 last season. He is able to defend multiple position, a big plus in the Heat’s eyes. He is slight of build and needs to get stronger and tougher.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-6.25, 232.4
Position: Small forward
Stats: Averaged 11.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, shot .701 on 2-pointers in 16 games as a sophomore.
Combine results: Standing reach – 8-11.5. Wingspan – 7-2.25 Body Fat – 6.8. Hand width – 9.5. Hand length – 9.25. Standing vertical – N/A.
The skinny: The Heat interviewed Anunoby in Chicago, one of two players they talked to who tore an ACL last season, along with Oregon’s Chris Boucher. Anunoby is hoping to be ready for training camp after January surgery. He is a defensive specialist who has drawn comparisons to San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard. He is strong, can jump and defend in the post and on the perimeter. His offense is way behind his defense, especially when creating his own shot and from distance. He shot just .311 on 3-pointers last season. At least two mock drafts have the Heat selecting Anunoby.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9.25, 232
Position: Power forward/Center
Stats: 3.9 points, 3.8 rebounds in just 11.5 per game in his only year at Duke.
Combine results: Standing reach – 9-1.5. Wingspan – 7-3.25. Body Fat – 5.2. Hand width – 10.75. Hand length – 9.5. Standing vertical – 27-0.
The skinny: Giles is considered the big man with the most upside in the draft but he comes with major red flags. He has torn the ACL in both knees, torn an MCL plus his lone college season was a bust after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee, forcing him to miss the first six weeks. Giles, one of the top two players in the country as a high school senior, admitted to struggling mentally last season and even wondered if he should sit out. Still, the talent is tantalizing. He had the biggest hands at the combine and his advanced defensively.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9, 233.6
Position: Power forward/Center
Stats: Averaged 13.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, shot .566 in his only year in college.
Combine results: Standing reach – 9-1.5. Wingspan – 7-5.25. Body Fat – 7.4. Hand width – 10.5. Hand length – 9.5. Standing vertical – 31-5.
The skinny: Allen is projected to be a solid low post player in the NBA with nice size and the fourth widest wingspan in the combine. Although he averaged just 1.5 blocks in college he is expected to improve in that area in the next level as well. Played his one season at Texas at power forward and showed he can shoot the 10- to 12-foot jumper. Will need to develop more of a game in the post.
Height (no shoes), weight: 6-1.25, 211.4
Position: Shooting guard
Stats: Averaged 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds his sophomore year.
Combine results: Standing reach – 8-1. Wingspan – 6-10. Body Fat – 5.9. Hand width – 9.5. Hand length – 8.5. Standing vertical – 36-5.
The skinny: A sleeper pick considering Mitchell’s stock has been rising since the end of the season because of his testing, possibly working his way into a lottery pick. He is a leaper who showed great athletic ability at the combine and had the best standing vertical. He can score off the dribble and has a number of moves that allows him to get to the rim. His athletic ability makes him a solid defender. But his jump shot is streaky will have to improve as his .418 shooting percentage in two years at Louisville (.329 on threes) shows.