Collins, Giles, Jackson, Kennard, Mitchell leading way among players projected to be picked by Heat at No. 14


Duke’s Luke Kennard shoots during an NCAA tournament game in March against South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The NBA draft is five days away and the mock drafts still are all over the place when it comes to the Miami Heat’s pick at No. 14.

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.

The Heat have worked out all five players. Collins, from West Palm Beach, told the Palm Beach Post “it was definitely one of the moments I’ll never forget.” The former Cardinal Newman High standout grew up a big Heat fan.

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

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.

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UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu could be in mix as Miami Heat seek help at backup center

Ike Anigbogu wasn’t the best player on his team last season or the most renown. Not even close. That was Lonzo Ball.

In fact, Anigbogu wasn’t near the top on a talented UCLA team with household names like Ball, T.J. Leaf, Bryce Alford and others. Yet, Anigbogu, a freshman who never started and averaged just 4.7 points and 4.0 rebounds while playing 13 minutes per game, is an intriguing prospect who most believe will be a first-round pick with one mock draft (NetScouts) pegging him to the Miami Heat at No. 14.

UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu blocks a shot in game against Washington in March. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images).

A quick introductory: Anigbogu is a raw but physically gifted prospect. At the NBA Draft Combine he measured 6-foot-9.75, 252.2 pounds with the second widest wingspan – 7-6.25. His hands were among the largest – 10.0 width and 9.5 length. His defense is far ahead of his offense, although he is a strong finisher, and he projects as a rim protector at the next level. He averaged 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes.  Anigbogu missed the first five games of the season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

Most mock drafts have him going in the first round but none higher than 14th. He also is projected to be picked 15th by Portland, 18th by Chicago, 23rd by Toronto and 25th by Orlando by various mocks.

Anigbogu could be on the Heat’s radar, maybe not at No. 14 but perhaps if he slips and Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg can trade into the early second round. Miami likely will be in the market for a backup center after it was revealed Thursday that Willie Reed, as expected, informed the team he will opt out of his contract.

Anigbogu patterns his game after another defensive-oriented center who plays in L.A. – the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan because of “the way he affects the game without putting so much pressure on the offensive side,” he said at last month’s combine in Chicago.

And he is well aware of the area where he must improve the most.

“I feel like I will fit doing the same things I did at UCLA, rim running, protecting the rim, being smart on the floor,” he said. “I plan to develop more of an offensive game. Right now I’m polishing things up. … go-to move, counters, working on my mid-range. I feel like I’m pretty mobile at the center/four position so I’m trying to develop a face up game.”

Because he is so raw with limited playing time in his only year of college, Anigbogu is aware he could be a perfect candidate to get some seasoning in the developmental league, something he said that came up in his conversations with NBA teams.

“I’m for any challenge they will throw at me,” he said. “Anything that’s going to help my development. I’m completely trusting the staff to make the decision for me.”

Anigbogu, Ball and Leaf all entered UCLA together with Ball and Leaf the anchors of the class. Ball was the third-rated prospect in the country according to 247Sports composite and Leaf No. 18. Anigbogu, from Corona, Calif., fell in at No. 47. The Bruins stumbled down the stretch last season, losing in the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament to Arizona and again three games later in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, to Kentucky. UCLA finished 31-5.

While Ball is projected to be taken second in the draft, some mocks have Leaf, a much more refined offensive player who can fill the role of a stretch four, going to the Heat. Leaf is the same height as Anigbogu but 20 pounds lighter.

Anigbogu and Leaf have known each other from their AAU days.

“We always had a tight, close connection,” Anigbogu said. “He’s a versatile player that can score on all three levels and give all his heart every time on the floor. He’s super competitive.”

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Consensus mock draft has Indiana’s OG Anunoby going 14th to Miami Heat

Indiana’s OG Anunoby goes to the basket in a game this season at Rutgers.(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Mock drafts are all over the board when it comes to the Miami Heat’s pick at No. 14. studied 12 of them and found eight different players projected as the 14th pick in the June 22 draft. Three different mocks had the Heat selecting Indiana small forward OG Anunoby and two had them picking UCLA power forward T.J. Leaf and North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson.

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.

That means Collins, the former Cardinal Newman High standout who at one time was linked to the Heat by three different mock drafts, drops out of the lottery. Collins is projected anywhere from No. 13 to 18 by most mock drafts.

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.

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