Miami Heat: 2019 NBA Draft Targets

Can Pat Riley build the Miami Heat back into a champion?

The Miami Heat come into the 2019 NBA Draft with the 13th pick in the first round, but no second-round pick. The Heat have built a good young core over the last few years despite not having a high draft pick. Now they’ll look to add another piece to that core and push back into the playoffs next year.

Miami Heat Top 2019 NBA Draft Targets

Miami Heat 2019 Draft: Team Needs

The Heat’s young core of Justise WinslowJosh Richardson, and Bam Adebayo do a good job of filling a lot of needs on the court. All to varying degrees can pass, dribble, shoot, and defend multiple positions. When looking to add to this core, there are two types of players the Heat should look for.

The primary type of player the Heat should target is a perimeter-based shot creator. Miami struggled last season late in games when defenses tightened up and buckets became harder to get. Richardson was usually the go-to but he wasn’t very successful. Dwyane Wade turned back the clock a few times but is now retired. Dion Waiters wants to be the guy but may not be on the team next season if the right trade comes along. While the Heat would probably be better off trying to find their go-to scorer in free agency or trade, drafting someone with that potential and developing them wouldn’t hurt.

The secondary type of player the Heat should look for is a larger 3-and-D forward, emphasis on the D. Miami needs someone other than James Johnson, who’s on the wrong side of 30, to guard the bigger elite perimeter scorers. Adebayo is usually guarding centers but can switch onto the perimeter. Kelly Olynyk tries hard but lacks foot speed. Derrick Jones doesn’t have the bulk yet. Winslow can but needs to conserve energy to run the point. They need one more big athletic body to defend players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant while preferably offering some spacing on offense.

Miami Heat 2019 Draft: Potential picks at 13

With the 13th pick, Miami’s selection will mainly come down to who’s still available. That said, there are a few targets Miami can keep in mind to cover one of their two major needs.

Kevin Porter Jr. G, USC

Kevin Porter Jrcould be the exact type of player Miami wants. He’s a legitimate top-5 talent that’s projected to fall later into the lottery due to maturity and injury issues. He already has an impressive shot-creating ability from the perimeter as well as the body to become a versatile defender. Though it’s obviously a gamble, Miami can afford to swing for the fences. If he gets healthy and matures under Coach Eric Spoelstra, he could be the steal of the draft.

Nassir Little, F, North Carolina

Nassir Little is a name to fit the larger 3-and-D need for the Heat. He comes to the draft already with NBA level athleticism, ready to defend all types of players. His shot will need work, but Miami is well known for player development. Winslow came to the Heat without a shot and he is at the very least a catch-and-shoot threat defense must respect. Chances are though he’ll probably go earlier in the draft.

Romeo Langford, G, Indiana

Romeo Langford is an option should Porter or Little not be available. A terrific isolation scorer on the perimeter, Langford can score at all three levels. He has defensive upside but needs to show more effort. His decision making also needs work, but under Spoelstra, he’d get the proper coaching.

Miami Heat 2019 Draft: Trade down targets

At 13, it’s certainly possible the Heat’s preferred targets are off the board by the time they pick. In such a situation, it’s possible Miami might trade down later in the first round and pick up another pick. In such a situation, here are two targets for them.

Tyler Herro, G, Kentucky

Tyler Herro might very well be the best shooter in this year’s draft. His shooting stroke is fast and pure, for example, he made over 90% of his shots from the free-throw line. He hustles hard and has the kind of off-ball movement that makes him a catch-and-shoot nightmare, not unlike Stephen Curry or J.J. Redick. He has defensive limitations due to lack of size and quickness, but every team needs more shooters.

Rui Hachimura, F, Gonzaga

Rui Hachimura might be one of the most polarizing players in the draft. He certainly has the body to be a strong versatile defender and has flashed the scoring potential to go with it. He works hard and has steadily improved every year. His negatives are his distinct lack of experience, having only started basketball at 14, which causes him to be lost at times on both ends of the floor. Given his work ethic and the superb coaching of Spoelstra, it’s possible he could fully tap into his potential in Miami.

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