2024 NBA Mock Draft: Heat proactively address obvious team needs

The Miami Heat have two picks in the top 43 and a chance to add some much-needed depth in this month’s NBA draft.
Miami Heat v Utah Jazz
Miami Heat v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Over the last two summers, the Miami Heat have used the NBA draft to pick up valuable rotation pieces in Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Later this month, they hope to hit on another pick that could help replace potential free agents.

Even though the 2024 class doesn’t have an elite prospect at the top of the board, most draft analysts agree that the draft is stocked with plenty of potential role players.

The Heat will enter draft night with two picks for the first time since 2019. Selecting 15th, the Heat will have their highest pick since drafting Tyler Herro with the 13th pick in the 2019 draft. They also have the 43rd overall selection.

In terms of team needs, the Heat can use depth at every position. At guard, Delon Wright and Patty Mills will be free agents. Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith are expected to garner lucrative contract offers from rival teams and could leave this summer. Backup center Thomas Bryant has a player option and Orlando Robinson is on an easily waivable non-guaranteed contract.

This means the Heat could simply take the best player available. Based on their pre-draft workouts, the front office is casting a wide net. For this mock draft, we’re going to take ESPN’s simulator for a spin. We’ll make Miami’s picks at 15 and 43 while the computer will handle the rest.

Top of the draft

1. Atlanta Hawks select Alex Sarr

2. Washington Wizards select Zaccharie Risacher

3. Houston Rockets select Donovan Clingan

4. San Antonio Spurs select Reed Sheppard

5. Detroit Pistons select Stephon Castle

6. Charlotte Hornets select Matas Buzelis

7. Portland Trail Blazers select Rob Dillingham

8. San Antonio Spurs select Nikola Topic

9. Memphis Grizzlies select Cody Williams

10. Utah Jazz select Tidjane Salaun

11. Chicago Bulls select Ron Holland

12. Oklahoma City Thunder select Devin Carter

13. Sacramento Kings select Yves Missi

14. Portland Trail Blazers select Dalton Knecht

14. Miami Heat select Ja’Kobe Walter

With other potential targets like Duke’s Jared McCain, Colorado’s Tristan Da Silva, Purdue’s Zach Edey and Dayton’s DaRon Holmes II on the board, the Heat go with Walter. 

Walter projects as a 3-and-D wing that could help replace guys like Martin and Highsmith should they walk in free agency. The 19-year-old Walter shot 34% on 6.3 3-point attempts for Baylor last season and, at 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, offers the kind of length that teams are looking for on the perimeter.

ESPN’s Jeremy Woo wrote that Walter “is viewed as a safe option because of his shooting ability, length and intangibles that should help him become a valuable contributor at the 2-spot.”