The Miami Heat selected Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala with its picks in the NBA Draft Thursday night, but how do they fit the team’s current needs?
Heat Twitter might not have been elated about either of the Miami Heat’s picks in Thursday’s draft, but both Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala have skills the Heat need.
The Herro the Heat need?
Herro is a 19-year-old out of the University of Kentucky. He will be joining fellow Wildcat and current Heat player Bam Adebayo, who was drafted two years ago with the Heat’s 14th pick. Herro will be joining a team that is trying to move out of mediocrity and into a post-Dwyane Wade era, where the Heat are trying to build around a young core.
Standing at 6’5” and 192 pounds, Herro averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in his lone year with Kentucky. He shot 46.2 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from 3-point range, along with 93.5 percent from the free throw line.
The Heat have a great player development program and can help Herro continue to work on his 3-point shooting. While he averaged the exact NBA average last season at 35.5 percent, it is clear that with more work, he has the shot to be around 40 percent. Not to mention, it has been a while since the Heat have had a quality and reliable 3-point shooter.
Herro is not only has a good shot, but has an upside that is promising as versatile shooter, whether it be catch-and-shoot or off the dribble. In his post-draft press conference, Pat Riley spoke about Herro’s ability to space the floor and creativity in the pick-and-roll, which is something the Heat will look for him to contribute early on.
During the draft, the Heat traded three future second round picks for the No. 32 pick, which landed them Okpala, a forward out of Stanford. At 6’9” and 209 pounds with a 7’2″ wingspan, the 20-year-old Okpala’s upside is high as he provides length and athleticism.
From his freshman to sophomore year at Standford, Okpala improved his shooting and overall contribution to the team. Last season, he averaged 16.8 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 43.9 percent from the field. With a little work, he also has the potential to be a decent 3-point shooter, improving from 22.6 percent to 36.8 percent over his two collegiate seasons.
Okpala has the versatility to fit well with this Heat team, especially because of the combination of his size and athleticism. He is a strong defender and is quick on his feet, which is especially important for bigger players in today’s NBA.
Heat still need to clear cap space
Herro is expected to make about $3.6 million next season, joining 13 other players under contract who are signed for a combined $140 million. As of now, the Heat will be over the salary cap as well as the luxury tax line next season.
“The $140 million of combined salaries can be lowered by about $6 million by waiving Ryan Anderson by July 10 — a move that’s expected. But even with that cap savings, the Heat has about $138 million in 2019-20 salary cap commitments when factoring in Herro’s cap hit.”
In addition, Okpala will not officially join the Miami Heat until free agency begins on July 6 and regardless of how much he signs for or whether he takes a two-way contract, the Heat will still be over the cap and luxury tax line.