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.
The Miami Heat have said they want him back. And guard Dion Waiters certainly has sent out strong signals he would like to return.
But will it happen?
That not only depends on the Heat’s offer but what other teams think of Waiters, and if anybody makes him an offer he cannot refuse.
Who could that be? We answer that and more in today’s Heat 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 @SrMayo1: Do you see any teams with a big enough need at the 2 to offer (Dion Waiters) $18 million plus?
Even if the market is that high for Waiters (my guess is closer to $15 million a year), two teams come to mind:
The Lakers are overhauling their backcourt. They could take point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick and shooting guard Nick Young, who has been shopped the last few years, is expected to decline his player option for $5.6 million and become a free agent. Add to that the Lakers will have about $24 million in cap space and, most importantly, Waiters’ former agent, Rob Pelinka, is the Lakers new general manager. Pelinka is in a interesting situation. After having spent years trying to convince teams to pony up for his clients, now he will be trying to make deals with some of those same players to come to L.A. for less money than they’ll be seeking. But if Magic Johnson likes the idea of a Ball-Waiters backcourt it just might happen.
Philadelphia likely will be the only team with more money to spend than the Heat. The Sixers need help in the backcourt, are looking to boost their 3-point shooting and Waiters is from Philadelphia, having been born and raised there. J.J. Redick has been linked to the Sixers. Although Redick, 32, is seven years older than Waiters, Philadelphia reportedly is seeking more of a veteran presence in the backcourt, a player who has playoff experience. But if Redick is looking for a better situation the Sixers could make a run at Waiters.
From @AsherWildMan6: with the way teams want bigs that can shoot, how come John Collins from Wake doesn’t get much love for Heat pick? 6-10 forward that has proven to be a scorer. I’m not saying he is Draymond, but with McRoberts back, he can also play back up center and add the element of outside shooting which Whiteside does not have. Also assuming Reed walks.
A few mock drafts had Collins going to the Heat early but some have backed off and now only Bleacher Report is sticking to that projection. UCLA’s T.J. Leaf, Indiana’s OG Anunoby and Duke’s Harry Giles now appear to be the more popular choices for the Heat. And many see how Luke Babbitt stretched the floor as the starting power forward last year and think Leaf is a better fit because of his outside shooting. Collins still is in the mix but been showing up in the 15-18 range more.
Also, I think a lot depends on who the Heat are more confident in re-signing among James Johnson and Waiters as to whether they draft a wing or a power forward. If they are confident they can sign both I believe they will pick the player they believe is the best among those from those two positions.
Others projected to go to Miami: Duke power forward Harry Giles, Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen, Kentucky center Edrice Adebayo, UCLA center/power forward Ike Anigbogu and Wake Forest power forward John Collins.
The site assigned a numerical value to each mock limiting it to the 14 lottery teams and came with Anunoby being taken 14th. It had Jackson going 12th to the Pistons and Denver selecting Donovan Mitchell of Louisville one spot ahead of Miami.
The 6-8, 232-pound Anunoby played just 16 games last season before tearing his ACL. He is considered an elite defender and draws comparisons to Spurs’ All-NBA small forward Kawhi Leonard. He could be a steal at No. 14 considering he likely would have been projected much higher in the lottery had he not been injured.
The Heat will workout and/or interview about 50 players, according to vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer, with the process starting weeks ago at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.
Several prospects projected to go in the middle of the first round have come through South Florida for private workouts.
Miami’s biggest needs are a power forward/center and small forward. With James Johnson and Udonis Haslem becoming free agents July 1, the only true power forwards/centers on the roster behind Hassan Whiteside will be Josh McRoberts and Okaro White. Justise Winslow is the lone true small forward on the roster. Rodney McGruder started at the spot last season after Winslow was injured.
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.
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.
“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?’”
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.
The offseason has officially begun for the Miami Heat and with it comes speculation, rumors and questions about the future.
Interest is starting to build on two fronts: The draft and free agency and we address both in our latest 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 @strick9si: I believe the heat should make a run at Gordon Hayward probably the best ideal free agent candidate with skill set, Thoughts?
The 6-foot-8 Hayward, 26, will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and he has played himself into a max contract. He will be coming off his best season averaging 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds while shooting better than 47 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers for Utah. On the surface he would be a nice fit in the Heat’s drive and kick offense as high scoring wing player.
But here is what it would take. Gordon is going to get the max, which for a player with seven years of experience means starting at $31 million. By signing Hayward, the Heat would be unable to retain Dion Waiters and most likely James Johnson and they would have somewhere around $6 to $10 million remaining depending on if they keep their first round draft pick and other cap maneuverings.
That’s a steep price. If Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg could find a way to keep Johnson I would say go for it. That would give you a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Hayward, Johnson and Hassan Whiteside. But if the choice is Hayward or Johnson and Waiters and a little more cap space, I would go with the latter. Besides, even if Hayward leaves Utah, Boston likely would have the best chance to signing him.
@RotodenHeat: Who do you like for Heat in upcoming NBA draft?
I would like the Heat to look at adding a power player, one that could step into the rotation behind Johnson (if he returns) and Whiteside and who can rebound and bring a little scoring. Those types of players should be there in the middle of the draft, including one or two out of the group of Wake Forest’s John Collins, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, UCLA’s T.J. Leaf and Duke’s Harry Giles.
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.
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.
MIAMI – Tyler Johnson has been an invaluable piece to the Heat this season as a sixth man and energizer off the bench.
But just how good is he? That’s one of our questions in this week’s installment of the Heat mailbag. We answer that and more.
If you weren’t able to ask a question this week, send them in for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). It’s a long season and we are sure there is a lot on your mind concerning the Heat.
@IDB1127: On a scale of 1 to 10, how good has TJ been this season?
Tom D’Angelo: Johnson has had a solid season coming off the bench, averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.2 turnovers while shooting 41.1 percent. Add in two other factors: He is in the first year of a $50 million contract and has been thrust into the role as a backup point guard, a position he still is learning, and he is doing this with a lot more on his plate.
Coach Erik Spoelstra loves Tyler’s energy and believes he is in the perfect role for this stage of his career. Where he needs to improves is his consistency and to avoid the uneven play we sometimes see. He has had slumps 7-of-29, 6-of-25 and 10-of-30 from the floor. But overall, the Heat are very pleased.
I would give him a 7.5.
@CPoTweetsStuff: Are you aware if any of the players have had contact with Chris Bosh?
Tom D’Angelo: First of all, just seven players on this roster ever have played with Bosh, so the number is limited. While we are sure there are more, two in particular have mentioned their conversations with Bosh, whose career with the Heat is over after failing a preseason physical because of recurring blood clot issues.
Udonis Haslem knows Bosh better than anybody on this roster, having played been a teammate since Bosh joined the Heat in 2010. UD said he frequently speaks with Bosh but those conversations, he says, have nothing to do with basketball but are more personal, about life and family.
Josh Richardson recently told Anthony that Bosh was the person who has helped him the most while Richardson was recovering from a knee injury that forced him to miss training camp and the start of the season. “I talk to Chris Bosh a lot,” Richardson said. “He’s kind of helped me be patient and not rush it. He’s been good.”
@GusPTY: Which Draft Prospect do u think fits the best for Miami? I like Lonzo lol hes more a passer than a selfish attacker
Tom D’Angelo: One thing is certain: 2017 is a very deep draft. And one thing is getting closer to being a certainty: The Heat will have a lottery pick. Put those together and Miami should add an important piece for its future.
We know the Heat can use outside shooting and we know they do not need a center (barring a blockbuster trade). What we don’t know is if Goran Dragic will be back or if they will need a point guard. But you mention Lonzo Ball, a 6-foot-6 point guard from UCLA, who is averaging 8.8 assists along with 15 points. He would be an instant impact player but the question is, will the Heat’s pick be high enough to get Ball who is being mentioned as the No. 1 overall pick?
Others that would be a nice fits include Kansas’ 6-8 Josh Jackson who also is in the mix for the top pick; FSU’s 6-10 Jonathan Isaac; and a pair of Duke freshmen, 6-8 Jayson Tatum and 6-10 Harry Giles. Another point guard expected to be taken at the top of the draft is Washington’s 6-4 Markelle Fultz.
Any would be a significant addition depending on trades but it’s tough to project where the Heat will fall in the lottery and who will be available.