Round Table: What should the Miami Heat do with their draft pick?

Dec 31, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward OG Anunoby (3) takes a shot against Louisville Cardinals forward Ray Spalding (13) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Louisville defeats Indiana 77-62. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward OG Anunoby (3) takes a shot against Louisville Cardinals forward Ray Spalding (13) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Louisville defeats Indiana 77-62. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA Draft combine is this week, and the lottery is next Tuesday. What do you hope the Miami Heat do with their draft pick?

Decisions, Decisions For The Miami Heat

By Chris Posada (@CPoTweetsStuff)

The Miami Heat find themselves in an interesting situation.

After finishing 41-41 and missing the playoffs by a simple tie-breaker to the Chicago Bulls, it can be argued that they had a better season than both the Bulls and Indiana Pacers even though both made the postseason.

Now as the lottery draws near, what exactly is their mindset? Likely landing the 14th pick leaves them in a neutral zone in terms of drafting a player, as they can either go best player available or position of need, but probably not a star (though Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard–both picked at 15–beg to differ.)

Of course if the Basketball Gods have a say, maybe they reward the Heat for not being (A) bone-headed or (B) a tanking abomination and give them a little luck in the lottery. That would open up far more avenues for the Heat to go down (trading Goran Dragic?).

But what should the Heat ultimately do? Even with the 14th pick, they would have options. Either hope someone like T.J. Leaf or another stretch four is on the board, or someone like an OG Anunoby falls in their lap. The Heat also have an influx of guards, so flipping one with the pick to move up in the draft (something like 8th-11th) can be an option if they really like someone.

There’s also the idea of hoping the pick can be a lure for someone like Paul George or Jimmy Butler, which I imagine the Heat will kick the tires on. But keep in mind that George is a free agent next summer and has Lakers rumors swirling around him makes him a flight risk, and Butler would fetch a far richer package than anything the Heat can drum up means the Heat would be wise to hang on to the pick.

Depending on who they like, I actually wouldn’t be opposed to trading down in the draft, whether they get in the top three or stick at 14. The Heat are going to lose one of their next two picks to Phoenix, so why not try to add another first? Of course the drawback is that even a late first isn’t someone looked upon to contribute immediately, which could be a no-go for Miami. Unless they have their sights on a project type of player, like say Harry Giles.

Keep in mind the Heat are getting back Justise Winslow, who missed the entire second half of the season with an injury, so Miami – in a way – is getting a second pick to add to the fold.

Regardless of what the Heat do, the pick they possess, plus Winslow, will go a long way to getting them back into the postseason. Even if they do nothing, with all the questions around the futures of the Hawks, Bulls, Pacers, and Raptors, the Heat could get in the playoffs simply by default.

Flexibility (finally) on draft night for the Miami Heat

By Rob Slater (@RobSlater10)

After years of trading away draft picks and living in the penalty of the luxury tax, the Miami Heat will enter draft night with a whole menu of options.

Likely sitting at 14th in the first round, the Heat have flexibility as to what they can do along with the benefit of not having any pressing holes to fill on their current roster.

Ultimately, Pat Riley is going to explore every avenue possible to add the best available player in the draft. The Heat have the ability to take one of the several dynamic big men available around their pick (the top of the draft looks to be guard-heavy) like North Carolina’s Justin Jackson, who would fill that stretch-4 role that thrives in Erik Spoelstra’s offense.

The UNC junior seems to possess that quiet, hard-working demeanor the Heat are typically drawn to. On the court, he has the ability to step back and shoot the 3 and is long enough to get his shot in the lane. Defensively, the Heat would have the option to use him in various lineup combinations to defend 3’s and 4’s. While many would look at Jackson as a “safe” pick, he certainly adds another dimension to the Heat’s roster.

Then there’s the trade possibilities. This obviously all depends on whether the Heat truly fall in love with someone likely to go higher in the draft. Riley already mentioned they don’t need a point guard, but could trading Goran Dragic to move up for someone like NC State’s Dennis Smith Jr., who has flashes of Russell Westbrook ability, enter the Heat’s plan? Or how about moving into that same range (6-9) for Kentucky’s extremely talented and versatile shooting guard Malik Monk?

These are all options that Riley will surely explore as the draft unfolds but it seems like the best course of action is to continue this methodical development of a youthful, talented core by adding a versatile piece like Jackson.

With Justise Winslow coming back for his third year after spending his sophomore campaign dealing with injury (sort of a “second” draft pick), the Heat can bolster their frontline even further and put another scoring threat around Hassan Whiteside.

More Picks or Highest Ceiling

By Malcolm Haynes (@RealMGHaynes)

The new CBA makes draft picks more important than ever. Whereas Pat Riley has traditionally favored veterans over draft picks, it’s time to change that thinking. Draft picks are now a precious commodity and the Miami Heat only have two picks over the next four years.

So, first and foremost, the Heat should not trade the draft pick. Likewise, they should not attempt to move up in the draft if it requires giving away future picks. In fact, Riley should give serious consideration to moving down in exchange for additional picks.

There is little risk in moving down since stars are rarely found outside the top five. If the opportunity arises, Riley should trade the 14th pick for a late first round pick this year and a future first round pick in 2019.

If Riley traded down into the early-to-mid-20s, he could still find players who can help fill Heat needs. For example, either Tyler Lyndon or T.J. Leaf would likely be available, and both project as stretch-4s. Or, the Heat could take a chance on an international player. Isaiah Hartenstein shows promise as a backup center and could replace Wiley Reed if Reed leaves in free agency.

If Riley cannot trade back, he should look at players with the highest ceiling and hope to hit a home run. For my money, that means taking a player like OG Anunoby over a player like Justin Jackson. Anunoby has the physical tools to be an elite wing defender. He’s raw and would probably spend a lot of time in the D League, but a small ball lineup with Anunoby, Justise Winslow, and James Johnson promises defensive brilliance.

Next: Heat's NBA Draft board

Another player the Heat should consider is Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson is unknown to many because he opted to play in Australia instead of going to college. However, Ferguson is athletic and a good shooter. In addition, he has the measurables and motor to be a plus defender. Although the Heat have a surfeit of shooting guards, Ferguson could be special.