A defensive force with loads of potential to exploit in the offensive end, Rupert may be exactly the player the Miami Heat are looking to use their pick on.
Rayan Rupert’s stock fluctuated throughout the season, as did his play. A 19-year-old from France, Rupert spent this last season with the New Zealand Breakers. The Miami Heat should be intrigued by his size and length at the wing position. A player who can defend really well and can become your prototypical 3-and-D, with some rim attacks on the side.
A 7’3 wingspan on a 6’6 player is enough to have people looking at Rupert. All that length, along with his mobility, make him an impactful defender who can put pressure on guards and be a good help off the ball. Uses really long strides, is aggressive and competitive and can play multiple positions. Lacks strength to go against contact.
Wait before you jump in horror by looking at that shot chart. Rayan Rupert was a 35% shooter on catch and shoot 3s this season (albeit at 1.5 attempts) so that should be encouraging. He could never find a rhythm with the Breakers, with the injuries and being in and out of the rotations, with irregular minutes and hiding in the corner when he played. His shooting mechanics look good, with a high release point. Needs to iron out his base, as it can sometimes be too narrow and other times too spread.
Can attack off the dribble, kind of flies out there on the court. Gets to the rim off the pass and attacking the closeout, using his long strides to get into the paint, where he can finish around or above defenders, despite not being that vertical. Can’t score against contact due to his lean frame. Has experience as a ball-handler and can run some pick and rolls, but would need to tighten up his handle, because he already processes the game well and can find open teammates.
A versatile and long defender, just like Spoelstra loves. His wingspan is crucial for his on-ball defense, as he can poke away at the ball and create turnovers, or just put pressure so that the ball handler isn’t comfortable. Can contest shots due to his length and still maintain his position. Navigates through screens and handoffs and looks to capitalize on mistakes. Good use of angles combined with his lateral quickness allow him to defend so much more space than the average defender. Can be a bit over-aggressive on the ball but has exceptional recovery ability, getting back quickly.
Looks to create chaos as an off-ball defender. Stays sharp and looks for opportunities to poke at the ball or go after errant passes. Anticipates actions well and is very smart on his reads. Non-stop energy on that end of the floor. Can defend guards and wings, which in Heat “lingo” just means “you’ll guard bigs a lot of times and like it!”
Stats (per 36): 12.3 PTS | 41.8% 2FG (7.3 ATT) | 24.2% 3FG (4.6 ATT) | 70.9% FT (4.1 ATT) | 4.4 REB | 1.1 OREB | 1.9 AST | 1.5 STL | 2.2 TOV | 0.4 BLK | 20.0% USG
A prototypical Heat player. Long defender who can switch everything and wreak havoc on that end of the floor. Has a lot of details to develop on offense, the main one being his shot which, despite the promise, is still just that. A promise. But his ability to attack off the catch will also be welcome in Miami to create some easy points when defenses are bent or in early offense. Rayan Rupert is expected to be picked at around the 20th pick mark, but the Heat would be happy to get him at 18.