Miami Heat offseason mailbag: Which NBA Draft prospect is a perfect 'Heat Culture' fit?

Plus some under-the-radar free-agent targets.
Providence v Georgetown
Providence v Georgetown / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Welcome to the Miami Heat offseason mailbag! Every week, I’ll jump on here and try my best to answer your questions and provide some explanations during what should be an eventful summer. Let’s do it.

As always, thanks to everyone who sent in questions on X. It’s also where you can send future mailbag questions.

That they swing a trade for Donovan Mitchell, who would walk into Miami as the No. 1 scoring option and give the Heat’s offense an identity based on pick-and-rolls with Bam Adebayo. Then, after making that major upgrade, decide to keep Jimmy Butler happy with a max extension. The Heat would be up against the second apron, but they can still fill out an expensive roster with veteran minimum salaries.

If the Cavs accept a package built around Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Orlando Robinson this year’s 15th overall pick and future picks, then the Heat’s opening-night depth chart could look something like this:

PG: Donovan Mitchell / Terry Rozier
SG: Duncan Robinson / Josh Richardson
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Nikola Jovic
C: Bam Adebayo / Kevin Love

Some names I like that should be available for the minimum, or close to it: Goga Bitadze, Gary Harris, Cedi Osman, Chuma Okeke, Jordan Nwora, Dennis Smith Jr., Oshae Brissett and Nic Batum.

I’ve long had a soft spot for Okeke and Nwora. Okeke didn’t get much playing time in Orlando after being picked 16th overall in 2019, but he is 6-foot-6 with a 7-foot wingspan and shined at Auburn because of his two-way play. He’s only made 32% of his 3s throughout his career but the Heat have worked with non-shooters like Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith before. Nwora is another long forward (6-foot-8, 6-foot-10 wingspan) who has made 37.6% of his 3s over his four-year career. 

Bitadze was the odd man out of Orlando’s center rotation and could look for playing time elsewhere. The 18th overall pick in 2019 has flashed the ability to shoot from the perimeter but thrived as a big-bodied rebounder and rim protector while starting 33 games for the Magic last season.

Can they? Absolutely. The coaching staff seemed especially intrigued by Williams’ athleticism and scoring ability after averaging 21.7 points on 52% shooting in the G League last season. 

For Jamal Cain, this summer is make-or-break. He’s been in the Heat’s development system for two seasons now and was passed up for a standard roster spot going into last season. The Heat have been reluctant to call him up for a reason. Maybe it was simply a math issue since the Heat already had several wings on the roster. With Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith possibly leaving in free agency, there should be an opportunity for Cain to earn a call-up.

Obviously, this depends on who is available at 15, but if Devin Carter made it to the Heat then that’s the obvious pick. Carter is a defensive-minded guard who competes hard, interviews well and can make open 3s – not to mention that his dad is former Heat assistant coach Anthony Carter.

Beyond Carter, DaRon Holmes II checks a lot of boxes the Heat typically look for. The three-year collegian has size (6-foot-9, 7-foot wingspan), shot 38.6% from 3-point range last season and is a high-IQ player who can do a bit of everything on defense.

Miami wing Kyshawn George’s value is all over the board but I bet Erik Spoelstra would relish a chance to coach one of Jim Larrañaga’s pupils. He’s a knock-down shooter with some off-the-dribble sizzle and the length (6-foot-7, 6-foot-10 wingspan) to project as a plus defender. But he’s young – only 19 – and raw.

One other name I’m keeping an eye on: Baylor Scheierman. He’s a five-year college player who shot 38% from 3 at Creighton last season, but he can also put the ball on the floor to drive closeouts and compete on defense. He was a standout during the draft combine’s 5 on 5 scrimmages, which you know got the Heat’s attention. The 15th pick is probably too high for him.

I’ve said before that a fresh voice with new ideas couldn’t hurt. Most of Miami’s assistant coaches are former players who specialize in player development and I thought the Heat’s offense lacked an identity for most of last season. 

That said, it’s hard to figure out how much of that was a scheme issue versus a health issue – it’s really difficult to run your preferred offense when your top two scorers (Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro) miss a combined 62 games.

Spoelstra has proven that, when he has the talent to work with, he’s one of the league’s more forward-looking offensive coaches. His inverted spacing approach during the Big Three era helped lay the foundation for NBA offenses for the next decade-plus. I’d like to see what he could do with a top scorer on the roster.

Still, with Chris Quinn getting interviews for various coaching jobs this summer, the Heat might need to be prepared to name a replacement for Spoelstra’s top assistant at some point soon.