Miami Heat: Derrick Alston Jr. was a sleeper, but could be in lottery in 2021

Boise State Broncos guard Derrick Alston Jr. (21) controls the ball as Air Force Falcons guard A.J. Walker (10) defends(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Boise State Broncos guard Derrick Alston Jr. (21) controls the ball as Air Force Falcons guard A.J. Walker (10) defends(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat are known for taking the less-heralded and turning them into productive players. One candidate, or at least we thought, returned to school.

The Miami Heat’s scouting and development department is among, if not the single best, in sports. That goes triple when exclusively talking only amongst the NBA.

They found Duncan Robinson. They revived Hassan Whiteside.

They helped Kendrick Nunn go from G-League standout to Rookie Of The Year candidate. They also helped Derrick Jones Jr. go from athletic sideshow to meaningful rotational guy, who will likely get a nice pay raise this offseason.

Basically, they are the kings of scouting and development. We thought we had the next great gem too.

Some time ago, during the original NBA Draft season of April and May and prior to the NBA restart, we talked to you a bit about Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr. He is a near 7-foot ball of skills, with length, shooting, and a slew of other offensive traits.

The Miami Heat almost had a shot at their next great success story. As it turns out, Derrick Alston Jr. will be returning to Boise St.

An early entrant into the original draft process, Alston Jr. was projected to go somewhere in the mid to late second round. That’s perfect Miami Heat range.

Well, not so much now. A few months back, it was announced that Alston will be returning to school for one more year, at least.

Why does it matter here then? Why do we care if he isn’t going to be in the draft?

Well, when you have his potential, it’s worth monitoring. To go even deeper on his return, his offensive skill set, his versatility, and what makes him such an intriguing prospect, take this into consideration.

Not only will the 6’9-6’10 Alston Jr. be returning to school, but they expect him to be the point guard. This is such a fascinating development.

With the Miami Heat’s value for multipleness and their desire to play positionless basketball, Alston Jr. would be a perfect fit it seems. Let’s not even mention that our big man, Bam Adebayo, is practically one of the Heat’s de facto point guards himself.

It would simply be a plug and play, as far as putting Alston in the same positions as Bam. Here’s the thing though, he is naturally more offensively gifted than Bam, so that could be a plus.

His defense is a question, but that can be taught. Offensive skills are the most coveted, as they are the hardest to acquire.

Defense is mostly about heart, effort, and hustle. If the Miami Heat draft you, bring you in, or keep you, then that stuff becomes second nature and innate.

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Again, it’s a drag that he isn’t coming out this year, as he would have gone in the second round and thus been there for the Heat to do their thing. However, his situation is still worth monitoring throughout the year, as with his size, skillset, and ability, he might end up being a lottery pick now.

Either way, the Miami Heat should keep him on their radar.