Miami Heat are viewed as 'strong suitor' for NBA draft's top scorer

Ole Miss v Kentucky
Ole Miss v Kentucky / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Some teams across the league believe the Miami Heat are targeting one of the most dynamic scorers in the draft when they’re on the clock with the 15th pick in Wednesday night’s first round.

According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham could be selected in the top 10 but has fans in the middle of the first round, including in Miami.

“Should the Spurs pass on Dillingham, Utah at No. 10 and the Miami Heat at No. 15 are viewed by teams as strong suitors,” Givony wrote in his latest mock draft.

Are the Miami Heat targeting a pure scorer as opposed to size on the perimeter with the 15th pick in the NBA draft?

Dillingham is a creative offensive player with a dazzling handle, three-level scoring upside and the ability to create shots for himself and others. He averaged 15.2 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds on 47.5%-44.4%-79.6% shooting splits during his freshman season at Kentucky.

Because of his size (6-foot-2) and pedigree (played at Kentucky under John Calipari), Dillingham has been compared to former Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey.

The Heat, of course, passed on Maxey when they took Precious Achiuwa with the 20th pick in the 2020 draft. Maxey went one pick later to the Philadelphia 76ers and emerged as an All-Star next to Joel Embiid.

If the Heat aren’t concerned about his natural limitations on defense, Dillingham could make sense as a third guard in a backcourt that includes Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro, especially if they remain committed to Rozier and Herro playing together in the starting lineup.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote of Dillingham: 

“Dynamic shot creator who uses shifty change-of-direction moves to slither wherever he wants on the floor. He can get into the paint for runners and crafty layups, or pull up from behind the arc.

“Plays with effort—bordering on recklessness—on defense, chasing shooters through screens and handoffs, or helping swipe at the ball.”

My two cents: I like Dillingham, but I also have a general bias toward bucket-getters. That said, it always depends on who is on the board, but I’d prefer the Heat land a two-way player at no. 15. Unless they view Dillingham as the starting point guard of the future, the Heat still need to address their overall lack of size and depth at the forward spots. 

But the Heat have made it known that they aim to take the best player available. If Dillingham is still on the board by the time they are picking, he may very well be.