Heat 2024 NBA Draft Board 2.0: Who is Miami targeting at 15?

NBA G League Fall Invitational - Perth Wildcats v G League Ignite
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One thing the Miami Heat won’t do in this week’s NBA draft: Make a selection based solely on team need.

As Heat GM Adam Simon explained, the Heat don’t want to look back on this draft and realize they passed up on a better player because they were trying to fill a positional need elsewhere on the depth chart. 

“I think if the stars align, you can take the best player at the position that you might need,” Simon told the Miami Herald. “But I think when you’re talking about players entering that are younger than the players that are technically on your roster, I think the goal for us is to try to come out of the draft wherever we’re picking with the best player. If it happens to be by position, great.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Simon and Miami’s scouting department have been busy analyzing the draft with trips to the NBA combine in Chicago, the Portsmouth Invitational and California, and have held several workouts in Miami over the last couple of weeks. 

Among the potential first-round prospects the Heat have seen in person, according to HoopsHype’s draft workout tracker, include: Providence’s Devin Carter, G League Ignite’s Ron Holland, Purdue’s Zach Edey, Indiana’s Kel’el Ware, USC’s Isaiah Collier, Baylor’s Yves Missi, G League Ignite’s Tyler Smith and Cal’s Jaylon Tyson.

If the Heat don’t care about position as much as talent, then how do they go about evaluating talent? 

As we discussed in the first version of our Heat big board, the franchise generally values size, ball skills and character. Recent selections like Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. checked all three boxes. 

With the 15th pick in Wednesday’s first round and the 43rd pick in Thursday’s second round, Miami will likely be looking for these traits. 

(One thing you’ll notice not on the list: Shooting. The Heat value shooting but believe they, more than most teams, can develop players into serviceable shooters. They are more interested in the other, less teachable traits.)

After doing my own scouting work – pouring over film, stats and interviews – here’s my best guess as to what the Heat’s big board currently looks like.

This board won’t include players unlikely to be available by the time the Heat are on the clock. Zaccharie Risacher, Alex Sarr, Donovan Clingan, Reed Sheppard, Matas Buzelis, Stephon Castle, Rob Dillingham, Dalton Knecht, Tidjane Salaün and Nikola Topić won’t be included in our big board. 

Neither will Colorado forward Cody Williams, who ranked No. 1 in our first Heat draft board but looks like a lock to go in the top 12, according to most evaluators. HoopsHype’s latest aggregate mock draft has Williams going 12 to Oklahoma City, adding he “is expected to land higher than this projection by most NBA executives and scouts.”

With all of that established, here’s my best guess at Miami’s big board:

1. Devin Carter, guard, Providence

Age: 22

Size: 6-2, 6-9 wingspan, 193 pounds

Signature strength: Competitive defender who has that dog in him

Notable weakness: Might not have lead guard potential

Change from last big board: Up one spot

Carter might be the draft’s biggest riser after a strong junior year and showing off his elite athleticism at the draft combine. Scouts laud his competitiveness and leadership skills and his fans tend to believe his 38% mark from 3-point range after two sub-30% seasons from deep is a trend and not an aberration. 

But it’s not just the intangibles that stick out. Carter had the production to back it up, averaging 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 blocks to go along with 19.7 points during his junior year.

Despite his advanced age as a prospect, Carter is still improving. He said he watched Jalen Brunson to learn how to become a better finisher. 

In Miami, Carter’s on-ball defense, hustle and toughness would fit seamlessly in the locker room. The fact that he’s the son of former Heat player and assistant coach Anthony Carter doesn’t hurt, either.

Why is he rising? Carter brings a lot of the same things to the table as newly-minted champion Derrick White. Both are defensive-first guards who play bigger than their size and are high-character guys. Teams like Memphis (9) and San Antonio (4, 8) are potential landing spots in the top 10. While there is still a chance the board breaks right and Carter is available at 15, the Heat may need to trade up to ensure they can get him.