Miami Heat Draft: 3 Reasons for intrigue in Kentucky’s Nick Richards

Nick Richards #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats defends the shot of Tyreek Scott-Grayson #0 of the UAB Blazers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Nick Richards #4 of the Kentucky Wildcats defends the shot of Tyreek Scott-Grayson #0 of the UAB Blazers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Miami Heat
Kentucky Wildcats forward Nick Richards (4) dunks against the Florida Gators (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat have a few reasons to be interested in a guy like Nick Richards. Let’s meet the guy first though.

The Miami Heat are the experts when it comes to finding and developing players that everyone else passed on or forgot about. They’ve done it time and time again.

Is Nick Richards the next potential candidate for this type of transformation? Well, it wouldn’t be a transformation for him, so much as simply getting the most out of what he’s been given, efficiently, effectively, and effortlessly.

That will allow him to do it consistently and with great repetition, things that are obviously important in a high workload occupation like an NBA player. Don’t take it from us though, here’s what ESPN’s Jonathan Givony had to say on the number 64th ranked prospect on their big board, the 10th ranked center in the class as well.

"Richards’ appeal starts with his tremendous physical tools — a 7-footer with a 7-5 wingspan, a chiseled, 250-pound frame and impressive athleticism. That translates to the defensive end, where Richards switches onto guards, covers ground well and uses his length to contest jumpers, while also having the bulk to bang with traditional bigs and protect the rim. Kentucky mostly keeps things simple for him offensively, but his ability to explode off two feet and finish is a huge advantage. Richards has some real touch, even starting to make free throws (75%) and midrange jumpers in small doses. The game still moves too fast for him at times, which shows most notably on the defensive glass and when asked to make simple passes. No college player in the past 30 years has been drafted with a combined assist and steal rate are as low as Richards’. Considering he’s already 22, his poor feel for the game is certainly a concern when projecting him to the NBA, where his physical advantages won’t be quite as pronounced."

To be honest, it just sounds like he needs to work on thinking the game while he’s playing, without having to stop to actually think about it. It sounds more complicated than it is, but what it means is that he has to learn how to make thinking through the game come naturally.

It’s also not as hard as it sounds and his issues actually aren’t the worst ones to have, they are the teachable and fixable kind. That goes especially for a world-class coaching and development staff like the Miami Heat’s, especially if we are talking defense and fundamentals of the game.