The Miami Heat have long been known for their scouting and development. Now, without the pomp and circumstance of March Madness, that edge is sharper.
The Miami Heat have long been known to be experts in the field of NBA prospect scouting, development, and training. From the top of the organization down to the most specific person in charge of teaching a specific skill, skillset, or strengthening a specific area, they are all laser-focused on what the ultimate goal is.
Although the man at the top in the Godfather Pat Riley claims that he isn’t a fan of the NBA Draft, when he does find himself in the midst of participation, he has tended to win as of late. Look no further than a few of his most recent draft picks.
He drafted Tyler Herro with the 13th pick in this most recent NBA Draft, while drafting Bam Adebayo at 14 in 2017. While his first-round picks have been one thing as of recent, you are supposed to hit on those, that’s why they are first-rounders.
The more impressive parts of Pat Riley and the Miami Heat scouting team’s resume are the second-round picks and undrafted guys they’ve managed to land in recent years. You can look at Josh Richardson, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Chris Silva, and even KZ Okpala, who we haven’t seen a ton from.
In KZ’s case specifically, Riley was able to land him the second round, after he carried a first-round grade for much of the draft process. That move, in itself, speaks to his talent recognition and savviness though.
Overall, what this all points to is the Miami Heat’s ability to find talent, anywhere. That is how their scouting and developmental programs have become major edges for them. While the adverse and other surrounding impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been extremely severe and unfortunate, one outcome of the situation may have made the Heat’s edge stronger.
When you think about the NBA draft and NBA prospects coming into the league in any year, the upper half of the draft is mostly already outlined. The names won’t change as much as the positions where they will be drafted will.
However, what encourages that movement, as well as the sudden jumping up of particular prospects, is usually March Madness and how some players can take advantage of their one shining moment. This isn’t just the case for college basketball players though.
The Miami Heat should have an edge heading into NBA Draft season as an absence of the NCAA tournament should hurt some less adept talent evaluators.
NBA teams value March Madness for their own drafting processes just as much as the prospects do for having the largest possible stage to display their talents. You can bet your bottom dollar that some teams make their decisions based entirely on what they see in the tournaments, conference and NCAA as a whole.
You have those players who are first-rounders, either borderline, near the bottom, or simply not in the place where they think they should be ranking wise, that take advantage of these opportunities to solidify stock. You also have those guys who seemingly come out of nowhere and make you just have to choose them in the draft after not even having them on your board anywhere.
One of the names who used the NCAA tournament to platform his rise into a lottery pick and even through an ACL injury that would keep him out for much of his natural rookie season this year, Chuma Okeke of Auburn last season, used a dominant tournament run to bolster his stock before the injury took place.
Ty Jerome rode his leadership and role on the NCAA National Championship Virginia Cavaliers all the way into becoming a definite first-round pick, being a borderline lower first to top second-round pick beforehand.
Carsen Edwards also rode a dominant NCAA tournament toward becoming a priority high second-round pick and then to a roster spot for the Boston Celtics. Both Edwards and Jerome were players we hoped the Miami Heat would take a look at.
Had it not been for their dominant runs in the NCAA tournament, the Miami Heat may have had a shot at both, for more than decent prices. That is just it though.
Without an NCAA tournament of any sort, there wasn’t a huge stage or final showing for this next group of prospects. Each team will have to rely on their own scouting team, basketball intellect, talent recognition, and good ole fashioned intuition.
I would trust those in those positions for the Miami Heat in a blind situation such as this more than anybody else in the same position for any other team. That’s a fact and their track record would affirm it.
You also have to consider the fact that in any situation, including these, Pat Riley always gets his guy. That is why when it comes to the upcoming NBA Draft, whenever it may be, the Miami Heat have an edge over almost everyone else.