With the 14th pick in the 2017 NBA draft, the Miami Heat select …

 

Cardinal Newman High School product John Collins of Wake Forest, a power forward, really came on his sophomore year in college and could be available when the Miami Heat pick at No. 14. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The ping pong balls have been drawn and the Miami Heat landed exactly where we expected them to land.

The Heat will draft 14th on June 22, the team’s second-highest pick since 2008, only topped by No. 10 two years ago when they selected Justise Winslow.

The Heat have started their interview process and now are bringing in players to Miami for private workouts. In all, Chet Kammerer, the team’s vice president of player personnel, expects Miami will talk to about 50 prospects.

Following are eight players who could be available for the Heat when they are on the clock.

JOHN COLLINS

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.

TJ LEAF

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9, 222.2

Position: Power forward

School: UCLA

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.

IVAN RABB

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-8.75, 219.6

Position: Power forward

School: California

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.

JUSTIN JACKSON

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.

Indiana’s OG Anunoby going after a loose ball. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

OG ANUNOBY

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-6.25, 232.4

Position: Small forward

School: Indiana

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.

HARRY GILES

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9.25, 232

Position: Power forward/Center

School: Duke

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.

JARRETT ALLEN

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-9, 233.6

Position: Power forward/Center

School: Texas

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.

DONOVAN MITCHELL

Height (no shoes), weight: 6-1.25, 211.4

Position: Shooting guard

School: Louisville

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.

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NBA draft could produce handful of “special” players, many more ready to help right away

Miami Heat vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer with president Pat Riley. (AP Photo)

CHICAGO – Chet Kammerer got his first look at Gonzaga’s 7-foot freshman Zach Collins in November.

Kammerer, the Miami Heat’s vice president of player personnel, remembers writing up a short scouting report that said, “a player to follow next year because he could be special.”

Now, six months later, there is  no next year when it comes to college for Collins. “They’re talking about him being a top 10 (pick),” Kammerer said Friday from the NBA Combine at the Quest Multisport complex.

Such is the state of basketball when anybody who can dribble or shoot or block a shot hires an agent and believes he is ready for the NBA.

For some, like Collins, that is true despite never starting a game in college. He averaged 10 points and 5.9 rebounds and now is ranked among the top dozen players in the country.

But for others …

“That’s what’s happening now,” Kammerer said. “If a guy has any kind of a year he’s declaring. We got a lot of guys here who didn’t even start. They were off the bench and they’re talking about them.”

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Kammerer believes this could be a “special draft” for a select few at the top. Not quite 2004 special that saw four future Hall of Famers – LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade – go in the first five picks. But special nonetheless.

The top four – Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum – are on level of their own. The next tier takes us to about the ninth or 10th pick. Then there is the group of about 10 players that the Heat, who most likely will pick 14th, are most interested in.

“I don’t know if the players at the top of the draft are going to make a huge difference their first year or two because they’re so young (but) down the road this could end up being really a special draft,” Kammerer said.

“There’s so much potential and so many boxes you check off from their character, their skill level, their athleticism. They have combinations of players high in the draft that are going to be really good NBA players.”

Kammerer believes the draft could produce about 20 rotational players but beyond that he believes this crop is typical when it comes to the second round.

“I’m not sure the second round is going to be any better than previous drafts,” he said. “When you talk about depth you talk about second round guys I would say ‘OK, not bad.’

“These guys (at the combine) are mostly second round. There’s some good players but I don’t think this is one of those drafts you’re going to say, ‘Oh, man, there’s 10 guys in the second round that are going to be really good NBA players.’”

As for the positional breakdown: Kammerer agrees with the consensus that the point guard position is loaded and he likes the power forwards/centers. The weakness: wings.

The Heat are expected to be looking at a power forward or combo big man and several could be available at that spot including Zach Collins, Wake Forest’s John Collins, UCLA’s TJ Leaf, Cal’s Ivan Rabb and Texas’ Jarrett Allen.

The Heat do not own a second round pick but could make a trade to acquire one. This season, more teams could use the second round to identify a player or players to sign to the new two-way contract, which allows a team to control two players it believes needs seasoning in the D-League.

Each team with be allowed to have two additional players beyond the 15-man limit on a two-way contract.

“In the past the best 60 guys didn’t get drafted because people didn’t have two slots for them,” Kammerer said. “So they would take some European they’re stashing because they see their roster and they don’t have spots for two or three guys.

“Now I think you’re going to see teams stash some guys that maybe aren’t ready but have a lot of upside. He really isn’t ready but we’ll put him in our D-League for a year. Now there’s more of a chance for them to stash an American than to stash a European.”

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Ex-NBA commissioner David Stern: ‘Shame on the Nets’ for resting players on final night of season

 

 

 

The Heat defeated the Wizards on the final night of the season but received not help from the Nets, who rested players and lost by 39 points to the Bulls. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

Former NBA commissioner David Stern agrees with Heat fans angry with the Brooklyn Nets for resting their players against the Chicago Bulls on the final night of the regular season.

The Miami Heat, having defeated the Wizards, needed the Nets to defeat the Bulls to make the playoffs. But Brooklyn sat six players for various reasons, including resting three starters, and lost by 39 points. The Heat and Bulls finished 41-41 and Chicago claimed the final playoff spot in the East on a tie-breaker.

In an interview on USA Today’s “NBA A to Z” podcast, Stern said what the Nets did was “inexcusable.”

“I have no idea what was in the mind of the executives of the Brooklyn Nets,” Stern said. “None. There was sort of an agreement we had with our fans — and the players picked up on it too — if you’re playing in a game of consequence, that has an impact, which is as good as it gets, (then you shouldn’t rest players).

“Here we are, the Brooklyn Nets are out of the running. They have the lowest record in the sport. But they have an opportunity to weigh in on the final game with respect to Chicago. And they sit their starters? Really? It’s inexcusable in my view. I don’t think the commissioner maybe can, or even should, do anything about it. But shame on the Brooklyn Nets. They broke the pact.”

The Heat also benefited from teams resting players the final week. Miami beat a Cleveland team that sat LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and the Wizards rested guards John Wall and Bradley Beal in that final game.

The difference, though, was Cleveland and Washington were preparing for the playoffs which were starting that weekend. The Nets were on their way to an NBA-worst 20-62 record and had nothing on the schedule until October.

“I think I’m going to give the Nets the benefit of the doubt that they did it without recognizing what they were doing. That’s all,” Stern continued. “The coach wanted to join the club: ‘I’ll show you, I’ll rest my players (too).’

“I think I was listening to (Celtics TV analyst] Tommy Heinsohn that night, saying, ‘What, are they resting them to give them strength to empty their lockers?’”

Heat players were guarded in their comments about the Nets but president Pat Riley addressed the issue in general, saying the practice has become a “travesty.” Riley, though, was talking more about team’s opting to rest players throughout the season, not late when most teams headed to the playoffs will sit their stars the last game or two of the regular season.

“I think it’s gotten to the point where it’s become a travesty, an absolute travesty,” Riley said. “Blatantly. I don’t care how many players you’re resting or who.”

With most of the ‘rest games’ during the season coming on the second night of back-to-backs, the NBA is starting the regular season about 10 days early next season in hopes of reducing teams playing on consecutive nights, which they hope cuts back the need for players to take off games.

Stern believes that change will help cut down on players resting.

As commissioner, Stern fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 in 2012 for leaving four players home for a late-November, nationally-televised game against the Heat. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Tony Parker did not play in Miami’s 105-100 victory, the night that some look back as the root to the modern day practice of resting.

The Spurs were playing the final game of a six-game, nine-day road trip and played the previous night in Orlando.

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NBA draft 2017: A look at who mock drafts have Heat selecting with ‘purgatory’ pick

Wake Forest’s John Collins gestures to the crowd during the final seconds of a win over Louisville in March. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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.

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