2017 Miami Heat big board, version 3.0

Mar 17, 2017; Greenville, SC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jayson Tatum (0) handles the ball against Troy Trojans forward DeVon Walker (25) during the second half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2017; Greenville, SC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jayson Tatum (0) handles the ball against Troy Trojans forward DeVon Walker (25) during the second half in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Who might the Miami Heat have their eyes on in the upcoming NBA Draft, and which prospects fit the team the best? We try to figure it out by building the team’s big board.

Here is the third installment of the Miami Heat’s big board. You can check out versions one and two from before. It’s important to keep in mind that this is not a general ranking of prospects, but rather a list custom made for the Heat and their needs. This will look different than other, more general, big boards you see.

It’s also meant to reflect the most likely state of the team. Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside being the core pieces the team is building around, with Justise Winslow, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson as a young and developing support staff.

As much as I’d like assume James Johnson and Dion Waiters will be back–or even that the team will sign Gordon Hayward–remember that the draft happens (for some reason) before free agency. The Heat, as such, will approach the draft not knowing whether or not Johnson and/or Waiters will be back, or even what free agents will be realistic targets (presumably).

More from Heat Draft

So given how the team is built–with Goran Dragic leading a drive-and-kick offense and Hassan Whiteside providing the sort of rim protection that allows Miami’s defenders to stay aggressive on the perimeter–Erik Spoelstra, Micky Arison, Pat Riley and the scouting department will be looking for players who can fit within those schemes.

The Heat are by no means a complete team, but a framework is in place. They’ll be looking for players who not only fit within that framework, but can thrive in and improve upon it.

The rankings here reflect the players who can best do that.

1. Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington

I had the pleasure of watching Markelle Fultz in person when he played Cal in Berkeley but, unfortunately, it was one of his worse games of the season. I still came away impressed, and without any doubts that he’s a future All-Star at the NBA level. The game looks easy for him, and he has offensive moves for days — dribble spin, the step back, the crossover — and, despite playing on one of the worst rosters in college basketball, is still adept at finding his teammates for open shots. Fultz can make his teammates better and, when playing with NBA-caliber players, he will shine.

2. Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA

The flashiest and most interesting player in the draft, Ball walked into UCLA and transformed the culture and feeling around the program. The ball moved and the offense soared as the Bruins were one of the best teams in the country. There’s questions about his jumper despite shooting 41% on 5.4 3-pointers per game, though I’m not as worried as some. A team will have to change there offense to fit Ball’s talents, but that’s what you do for a potential franchise player anyway. Especially one whose skill set jives with modern NBA trends.

3. Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke

Miami lacks two things on the perimeter–length and scoring. Jayson Tatum provides both of those things, plus the added versatility to potentially play both forwards spots. Tatum rose up draft boards as Duke handed him more and more scoring responsibilities and he lived up to the task. He doesn’t have the high-end athleticism of Josh Jackson, but he’s a more polished offensively where Jackson still has question marks. Tatum would immediately improve the Heat’s spacing, and could complement Justise Winslow as a dynamic, switchy forward duo.

4. Jonathan Isaac, PF, Florida State

Of all the players who can play power forward in this draft, Jonathan Isaac fits next to Hassan Whiteside better than any. He’s a long, versatile defender who would be able to thrive on the perimeter as well as near the rim, but he wouldn’t have to bang bodies with bruising centers thanks to Whiteside’s presence. While there are some concerns about Isaac’s ball handling and shot creation, those won’t play as much of a factor since it would be Dragic (and maybe Waiters) driving and kicking. Isaac’s spot up 3-point shooting would allow him to take advantage from the corners, and give the Heat more spacing on offense.

Read More: Scouting Jonathan Isaac and his potential fit with the Heat

5. De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky

De’Aaron Fox may be the most athletic point guard in this class, and he’ll thrive early on by getting to the rim. Fox is the prototype point guard you want running a drive-and-kick offense. Because of his length and defense, he’ll be able to play early, too. If he were to fall to the Heat, I could see them taking him and playing him alongside Goran Dragic in the backcourt, before eventually supplanting him as the starting point guard. But he won’t fall that far.

6. Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas

Josh Jackson is the most athletic of the three forwards at the top of the draft, but his question marks (outside shooting) are too redundant of Justise Winslow’s, as well are his strengths (perimeter defense, athleticsm). Jackson has a ton of potential as a two-way player, though, and could be a star in the NBA.

7. Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona

Markkanen is the perfect stretch-4 to pair next to Hassan Whiteside. He might be the best shooter in the draft, and the space he provides would create more room for Goran Dragic to drive and kick. Whiteside, with his rim protection and rebounding, covers up for Markkanen’s main weaknesses.

Read More: Why drafting Markkanen makes sense for the Heat 

8. Dennis Smith Jr., PG, N.C. State

Dennis Smith Jr. is crazy athletic, and will be able to get to the rim at the NBA level. He needs some work to purify his game if he’s going to be a lead guard but, if selected by the Heat, he could learn from Goran Dragic while being a scorer off the bench. Smith as the potential to develop into a franchise point guard.

9. Malik Monk, G, Kentucky

The best perimeter shooting guard in the draft, Malik Monk will stretch the floor from Day 1. His shot is translatable, but the rest of his game is the question. Will Monk simply be a 3-point specialist? Or can he develop other ways to score and use his length to become a plus defender?

10. OG Anunoby, F, Indiana

He tore his ACL early in the college basketball season, but was arguably a top-10 pick before the injury. If the Heat feel comfortable with his health and can wait on his recovery, they could grab the steal of the draft in the middle of the first round. Anunoby is potentially a lock-down perimeter defender with length and athleticism to pair nicely next to Justise Winslow. Anunoby and Winslow could become the league’s most dominant perimeter defense duo, and both have upside on the offensive end of the ball. 

Jan 7, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives in the second half of their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion. The Cardinals won 65-50. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 7, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell (45) drives in the second half of their game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion. The Cardinals won 65-50. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

11. Donovan Mitchell, G, Louisville

One of the fastest risers in the draft, Donovan Mitchell has all the tools you look for in a guard prospect. His measurables (6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan) compare to Dwyane Wade, and he has the athleticism to boot (he dunked on his opponents with regularity). Mitchell will be able to defend right away, which will get him on the floor early and allow him to develop the rest of his game. Mitchell will be able to get to the rim, and if he develops a few go-to moves and improves his jump shot (35 percent on 6.6 3-pointers per game last season) he could become an All-Star in the NBA.

12. Zach Collins, C, Gonzaga

Collins, another near 7-footer, doesn’t have the pure shooting stroke of Markkanen, but he’s NBA-ready defensively. Collins can walk in and start defending opposing 4s and smaller 5s, rebound his position and knock down a few open shots. He’s the best two-way stretch-5 in this class. The only reason he ranks behind Markkanen is because he has a lower ceiling.

13. Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina

Jackson provides two things the Heat need: Shooting and length. He can get buckets, but don’t sleep on his passing ability. He has good court vision and above-average touch. He would work well as a floor spacer right away and, if he improves his handle, could develop into an extra ball handler in Miami’s drive-and-kick game.

Read More: Justin Jackson is Miami’s dream pick

14. Harry Giles, PF/C, Duke

Harry Giles may not even be on Miami’s draft board due to his long history on injuries (He tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus after his freshman year in high school, tore the ACL in his other knee during his senior season, and underwent a knee procedure early in Duke’s season.) but if he is, he’d be ranked right around here. If the obvious fits are off the board by the time the Heat pick, Giles–once thought of as the top prospect in this draft–could be an interesting home run swing.

Read More: Heat to work out Duke prospect Harry Giles

15. T.J. Leaf, PF, UCLA

Leaf’s perimeter shooting, toughness and general gets-buckets-ness makes him a great fit for the Heat, whose biggest team need will likely be power forward. Coming from UCLA’s system, he’s a willing and able passer with enough defensive potential.

16. Justin Patton, C, Creighton

The Heat have Hassan Whiteside already, so it doesn’t make sense to draft a traditional center with a lottery pick. Rather, they should be looking at big men who offer versatility, such as Markkanen, Collins, and Creighton’s Justin Patton. Patton has stretch-5 potential, but he’s very raw. Miami should have enough depth to develop Patton in small doses, and his athleticism is undeniable.

17. Luke Kennard, G, Duke

This is for my homies worried about Tyler Johnson’s contract. Kennard is a good 3-point shooter and underrated ball handler. He projects as a combo guard at the next level. If Kennard is the best player available, the Heat could take him, look to deal Johnson at the trade deadline, and duck those big third- and fourth-year salaries. Kennard could also be insurance in case the Heat don’t re-sign Dion Waiters.

18. Ivan Rabb, PF, Cal

Rabb is a safe pick. He sets good screens, rebounds at a high level and plays good defense. He has nice touch around the rim and, while Cal didn’t ask him to take many 3s, he flashed potential from long range. At best, Rabb can develop into a high-level glue guy like Al Horford.

Read More: Would Ivan Rabb be a good fit for the Heat?

19. D.J. Wilson, PF, Michigan

If the Heat want to take a big swing with the 14th pick (or trade down and nab multiple picks) Wilson makes some sense. He would provide Miami with much-needed length, and could play a backup role anywhere between the 3 and 5. He’s like a longer Okaro White with more upside. He could develop into a pick-and-pop partner for Goran Dragic and the Heat’s other young guards, as well as a secondary ball handler if he develops his passing and court vision.

Read More: Is D.J. Wilson worth taking with the 14th pick?

Next: Heat value versatility in NBA mock draft

20. John Collins, PF/C, Wake Forest

What Collins does well–mid-range shooting, scoring around the rim, rebounding–are becoming less valuable than the things he doesn’t do well–3-point shooting, defending the pick-and-roll–in today’s NBA. Collins has the potential to improve in those areas and, if the Heat think they can get the most out of him, he could become a versatile big for them. Read the full scouting report on Collins after the Heat worked him out.