Miami Heat select Jalen Smith at 20th overall in NBC Sports mock draft

The Miami Heat are slated to draft with the 20th overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. NBC Sports has them selecting forward Jalen Smith

Even with the playoffs winding down, and the Miami Heat playing in one of two Conference Finals series, a lot of attention around the league is turning to the 2020 NBA Draft.

As early as last week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA has “locked in” on November 18th as the date for the draft. Things had been uncertain due to the COVID-19 outbreak and league hiatus, the league’s entire schedule had to be rearranged.

With only four teams left in play for the title, fans and executives of eliminated teams have all started looking ahead to the upcoming draft, naturally. In his latest for NBC Sports, James Ham has the Miami Heat taking forward Jalen Smith at 20th overall:

“Smith has worked hard to improve his game. He’s added 3-point shooting, improved his rebounding and block numbers and made himself into a prospect. He’s starting to climb draft boards and he might work as a budget big for a team with very few holes. With Meyers Leonard set to hit free agency, Smith is an intriguing prospect that can fill a lot of what the veteran brought to the table. His shooting range might even allow him to play alongside Bam Adebayo for stretches.”

Smith is 6-10 and 225 pounds, coming off of his sophomore season at the University of Maryland. He finished the 2019-2020 campaign averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks.

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As Ham notes above, Smith’s stock is rising as the draft nears. Kevin O’Connor reiterated such in his latest mock draft for The Ringer, although he had the forward landing in New Orleans:

“Smith is receiving interest from teams in the mid-first round, according to league sources.”

It’s no surprise that Smith is on many a team’s radar, especially those in the middle to back end of the first round. This draft class is viewed largely as a question mark, meaning anyone could fall anywhere. For the Miami Heat, Jalen Smith would make a lot of sense.

There’s no reason for the team to look into drafting a player with win-now potential, even with their championship aspirations in the next season and beyond. And with Smith, you get a young talent with oodles of potential, set up to thrive in the organization’s player development program.

Best case scenario, you get a potential starting four, set to play in the frontcourt next to Adebayo. Worst case scenario, the Miami Heat find another young contributor for the team going forward.

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Before Miami Heat fans can look ahead to the upcoming draft class, they’ve got a playoff push to finish. Game 4 against the Boston Celtics is slated for Wednesday night, and tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 pm EST. TV coverage will be provided by ESPN.