Heat draft lottery 2017: Who should Miami take if they get the No. 1 pick?

Mar 17, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) reacts during the first half against the UC Davis Aggies in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Tulsa, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Josh Jackson (11) reacts during the first half against the UC Davis Aggies in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Heat need to add a star, and if they get lucky in the lottery they can find that star in Kansas forward Josh Jackson. 

There is no doubt that the odds are decidedly not in the Miami Heat’s favor during Tuesday’s NBA Draft lottery. The Heat enter in the 14th spot and have just a 0.5 percent chance to get the top spot, but if the ping pong balls are to bounce in their favor, the Heat should look to make Kansas’ Josh Jackson the top pick in this year’s draft.`

The Heat are one of the most unique teams in the lottery this year as they don’t have a pressing need to fill and have the benefit of evaluating all of their options.

If one of those options is picking first, Jackson provides them a chance to accomplish one of their major offseason goals: Recruit a star to the Miami Heat.

Read More: What are the odds the Heat get a top-three pick?

Instead of blowing up their core to trade for the likes of Paul George or Jimmy Butler, the Heat would have a chance to draft the new and improved version of those players in Jackson, the versatile do-it-all forward for the Kansas Jayhawks.

While many would argue Frank Mason III was Bill Self’s best player last season, Jackson was certainly their most important and most talented. He was a matchup nightmare on offense and flashed the type of defensive range that would endear him to a team like the Miami Heat.

On the offensive end, Jackson has the ability to get his shot both inside and out and use his size to get around defenders to either hit a mid-range jumper or get all the way to the rim.

Jackson shot 51 percent from the field this season, averaging 16.3 points per game, but that is only part of the story and part of why he’d be a perfect fit on the Heat. In addition to those 16 points, Jackson also hauled down 7.4 rebounds per game and dished out three assists along with nearly two steals and a block.

His offensive versatility and desire to excel at more than just scoring sets him above projected first overall pick, Washington’s Markelle Fultz. The Huskies guard is an all-world scorer and someone that can contribute immediately in an NBA offense but Jackson’s willingness to hit the offensive glass (Jackson averaged over two offensive rebounds per game) and contribute with assists as well make him fit for a balanced attack like Miami.

As with every draft pick, there is room for improvement. Jackson is still very raw at 20 years old. He was at times inconsistent offensively, shooting just 38 percent from 3 and struggling occasionally in the half-court when opposing defenses threw multiple defenders at him, hounding him in the pick and roll.

For all the offensive ability, Jackson’s biggest draw to the Miami Heat would be his defensive acumen. Not only does he fit the mold of the league’s prototype defensive players (think Kawhi Leonard or Andre Iguodala), Jackson can complement some of the Heat’s best defensive lineups alongside James Johnson and Hassan Whiteside.

With the Heat’s proven track record of developing tenacious defenders, Jackson would be next in line to excel defensively. His defensive IQ is evident almost immediately on film and even when he makes a mistake, his quickness and athletic ability allows him to recover with precision. His defensive growth potential is higher than anyone in this year’s draft class.

Next: Pre-lottery NBA Draft board

In Jackson, the Heat can find a player with immense upside. A young, skillful guard who still has plenty of growing to do both on the court and in the gym and someone who could benefit incredibly from the Heat’s structured regiment, packaged as “culture.”

Ultimately, the odds are long, but Jackson could be the next franchise player of the Miami Heat.