2 Instant Miami Heat predictions after 2024 NBA Draft lottery

Purdue v Connecticut
Purdue v Connecticut / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Sunday’s NBA draft lottery saw the Miami Heat’s division rival, the Atlanta Hawks, win the No. 1 overall pick. It’s a surprising result that could shake up the Hawks and the Southeast division, depending on what Atlanta decides to do with the pick.

The Heat were not part of the draft lottery, earning the 15th pick after making the playoffs as the No. 8 seed. The good news for Heat fans: Even if they would have lost in the play-in tournament – as some fans were hoping for in order to improve their draft position – the teams in the 13th and 14th lottery positions didn’t move. It wasn’t as if the Heat could have been the Hawks.

Now, expert mock drafts can operate with clarity in the draft order. Within hours of the lottery results, ESPN published an updated NBA mock draft that projects Purdue center Zach Edey falling to the Heat with the 15th pick.

“Edey's positional fit alongside Bam Adebayo would be a topic of discussion in Miami, but his productivity, physicality, intensity and team-culture match would be welcomed by the Heat,” writes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “Adebayo started to slowly incorporate a 3-point shot into his offensive arsenal late this season and has the type of defensive versatility that could be useful alongside another big. Edey's offensive rebounding and interior scoring are skills the Heat lack, making him an attractive pick here.”

Edey, the 7-foot-4 big man and two-time National Player of the Year, is a polarizing prospect. His size and strength are undeniable, yet some question whether he is nimble enough to defend at an NBA level.

Pairing Edey with Adebayo would instantly upsize Miami’s lineup. Adebayo could move to power forward and defend multiple positions while Edey could protect the rim. Offensively, Edey’s interior scoring touch could provide a release valve when the Heat are in a pinch.

But can Edey defend on the perimeter? Will skilled ball-handlers attack him in pick-and-rolls and play him off the floor? These are legitimate concerns when making a selection in the middle of the first round.

Meanwhile, the Ringer has the Heat going in a different direction. In his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor pencils Duke guard Jared McCain in as the pick.

“With Jimmy Butler on the rocks and Tyler Herro’s continuing inconsistency, the Heat may need to rebuild their backcourt,” O’Connor writes, comparing McCain to Seth Curry. “A player as versatile as McCain could be a great place to start.”