Heat drafting of Pelle Larsson can boost the offense: Instant reaction, analysis, grade

Dayton v Arizona
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The Miami Heat selected Arizona guard Pelle Larsson with the 44th pick in the second round of the NBA draft on Wednesday.

Larsson becomes the latest in a long line of shooters for the Heat to develop.

After selecting Kel’el Ware with their first round pick, the Heat still had a need for depth along the perimeter. 

With Delon Wright, Patty Mills, Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith expected to hit the open market as free agents, Miami started Day 2 of the draft with a logical need at guard. Larsson is a big-bodied shooter who can put the ball on the ground and compete on defense.

Pelle Larsson scouting report

For Larsson, it starts with shooting. He averaged 12.8 points and shot 42.6% on 3s at Arizona last season and shot 39.7% over his four-year college career. He’s one of the older prospects in the draft at 23 years old, but he got better each season and is more than a 3-point specialist. Larrson shot 57% on 5.7 2-point attempts – including some dunks – last season and averaged 3.7 assists.

At 6-foot-5, Larsson can compete defensively. He fights through screens, stays in his stance and remains attentive. 

Here’s The Ringer’s scouting report: “Knockdown shooter off the catch, especially when he’s left open, so he could feast playing alongside star-level talent. He’s one of the best in the draft at using pump fakes to attack closeouts and then scoring on aggressive downhill attacks and pull-up jumpers. He’s a capable passer in those situations, too.”

Who else was on the board?

Houston’s Jamal Shead, Arizona’s Keshad Johnson, Minnesota’s Cameron Christie, Kansas’ Kevin McCullar Jr., UConn’s Cam Spencer and North Carolina’s Harrison Ingram were all available and could have made sense for the Heat.

There could have been an argument to take Ingram, a hard-nosed defender with a 7-foot wingspan who could help replenish the Heat’s pipeline at forward. McCullar Jr., despite coming off an injury, has a lot of fans in the draft community.

But neither was an obvious pick at 44. The Heat also traded their original 43rd pick (Nikola Djurisic) to the Hawks for 44 and cash, giving Miami a little more value in the second round.

Grade: B+

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