MIAMI — Ivan Rabb grew up trying to emulate Chris Bosh’s game. In just a few months, the Cal power forward could find himself trying to fill Bosh’s void with the Heat.
After deciding to return to Cal for his sophomore season and bypass the opportunity to be a possible lottery pick in 2016, the 20-year-old Rabb now finds himself in the Heat’s range around the 14th overall pick in most mock drafts.
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.
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.”
CHICAGO – The Miami Heat interviewed 15 players the last two days and will speak to another five on Friday at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
The interviews – conducted by Heat officials including President Pat Riley, GM Andy Elisburg, coach Erik Spoelstra, vice president of player personnel Chet Kammerer and director of basketball development Shane Battier – help the team vet any player they have a remote chance to acquiring. Those talks, tough, are just one part of the process of getting to know a player on and off the court.
“We’re still looking for somebody who can make a jump shot,” Kammerer said. “We’re not working on a debate team. We keep it all in perspective.”
The interviews took place at the hotel. Later on Wednesday the players hit the court for the first time for drills and scrimmages. Each team requests 30 players (10 from their ‘A’ group, 10 from a ‘B’ group and 10 from a ‘C’ group) and is assigned 20.
The Heat talked to seven players from their ‘A’ group.
“You get a feel for his character a little bit, priorities, his life,” Kammerer said. “It’s all helpful but it’s all part of the process.”
In addition, the Heat plan to bring in about 30 players for workouts. Kammerer said none of the players coming to Miami were on their list to interview this week.
Semi Ojeleye, a 6-7 power forward from SMU, was one of those interviewed by the Heat in Chicago.
“I think they try to stress you out and see if you can handle it,” he said.
The combine includes 65 college players and two who played internationally. The Heat enters next Tuesday’s lottery with the 14th pick and has the lowest chance (1.8 percent) among lottery teams of moving into the top three picks, meaning they likely will stay put.
Miami, though, could trade for a second-round pick and also will be looking to add players who could be developed in the D-League.
The Heat haven’t backed off a player because of a poor interview but it could raise a red flag, which would cause them to dig deeper. Still, as they narrow their list they talk to players’ former coaches as far back as high school and AAU along with teachers.
As for the live scrimmage, Kammerer said it’s not the best setting to evaluate a player.
“You get a feel for how they move without the ball, how they run,” Kammerer said. “You’ll be able to watch some skill. But the game itself? They really haven’t played as a team.
“Usually guards show up better in this setting than the big men do because the guards have the ball. The big men. … he may not touch the ball a lot here. So you don’t walk out of here saying ‘Oh that guy can’t play.”’