Last Word On Basketball

Ranking the Top Draft Picks in Heat History

Denver Nuggets defender Chauncey Billups guards a driving Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade during the first quarter of play Thursday January 13, 2011 at the Pepsi Center. Photo by Tim Rasmussen, The Denver Post (Photo By Tim Rasmussen/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

With the 2020 NBA Draft officially scheduled for Wednesday, November 18th, the Last Word on Pro Basketball staff is here to break down the top draft picks in league history. Up second, we’ll cover the draft history for the other 2020 NBA Finals team, the Miami Heat. Unlike the Los Angeles Lakers, the Heat’s draft history only dates back to 1988, the franchise’s inaugural NBA season. 

Ranking the Best Draft Picks in Heat History 

Miami Heat’s Top Draft Picks #5 – Steve Smith 

With the Heat’s draft history only dating back to 1988, the first name on this list is an interesting selection. Miami selected Steve Smith fifth overall in the 1991 NBA Draft. The shooting guard spent only five seasons with the Heat, however, his impact left a lasting mark.

Smith held an important role in the history of Miami’s franchise. The 6-foot-7 guard immediately replaced Sherman Douglas‘s role in the starting lineup following his contract holdout in 1991. The lengthy guard made an immediate impact. Smith kicked off his NBA career with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists against the New York Knicks in his debut.

Throughout his five seasons with the Heat, Smith averaged 14.4 points, 4.8 assists, 3.8 rebounds, one steal, and 45 percent shooting from the field in 202 career games. He was named to the All-NBA Rookie Team following his debut season.

Of course, the Heat traded away Smith to the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of the 1994 season. Smith went on to play five seasons in Atlanta, including an All-Star campaign in 1997-98. Smith landed back in Miami for his final 13 NBA games before retiring in 2004-05.

#4 – Bam Adebayo 

Bam Adebayo marks the sole current-member of the Heat to make this list. The Heat drafted Adebayo 14th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Three years later, Adebayo played a huge role in Miami’s first NBA Finals run since the LeBron James and Dwyane Wade days.

Miami drafted the 6-foot-9 power forward/center following his one-and-done season with the Kentucky Wildcats. Previously ranked fifth in ESPN’s top-100 high school basketball rankings, Adebayo’s rookie campaign in Kentucky was somewhat lackluster. While the forward earned All-SEC honors that season, some expected bigger numbers from the freshman.

When Miami drafted Adebayo, scouts across the board praised him for his work ethic and coachability. That has transitioned into the NBA, with Adebayo getting better and better each year. Last year, the hard work paid off.

Adebayo was named a 2020 All-Star, averaging 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per contest last season. The uber-athletic big also recorded a career-high 1.3 blocks per game.

Throughout his career in Miami, Adebayo averages 10.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 55.3 percent shooting from the field. There’s no question that Adebayo is part of the future equation for Miami’s success.

Miami Heat’s Top Draft Picks #3 – Rony Seikaly

Rony Seikaly highlights this list as the first-ever draft selection in Miami’s history. The Heat selected Seikaly ninth overall in the 1988 expansion draft.

The 6-foot-11 Syracuse product only spent six seasons in Miami, however, a very productive six seasons. Seikaly averaged a double-double in points and rebounds in five of these six years. 

In 1989-90, he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player. Seikaly led all Miami Heat players in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and minutes played that season. He averaged 16.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks en route to his award win.

Seikaly also owns a place in Miami’s history books. He recorded 34 rebounds against the Washington Bullets in 1993, the single-game record in Heat franchise history. This also marks the second-most rebounds in a single game by any player in league history. Charles Oakley pulled down 35 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls during a game in 1988.

#2 – Glen Rice 

Miami drafted Glen Rice fourth overall in the 1989 NBA Draft on the heels of his Big Ten Player of the Year campaign for the Michigan Wolverines.

Rice spent six seasons with the Heat, playing in 77 games or more in each one. The 6-foot-7 small forward was an incredible three-point scorer, averaging 40 percent shooting from deep throughout his career.

In six seasons with the Heat, Rice averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 38.6 percent shooting from deep in 478 games.

Rice’s six-year career in Miami marks one of the lengthier careers in Miami’s short team history. Rice ranks top-10 in games and minutes played in franchise history. He also ranks third in three-point field goals and three-pointers attempted.

Miami Heat’s Top Draft Picks #1 – Dwyane Wade

No player is more deserving of the number one spot on this list than Dwyane Wade. Miami selected Wade fifth overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. Save a short late-career vacation with the Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade spent the entirety of his career in Miami.

Wade owns the top spot on nearly every statistical category in Miami’s franchise history. The future Hall of Famer ranks first on Miami’s all-time list of games (948), minutes played (32,912), field goals (7,842), field goals attempted (16,227), free throws (5,391), free throws attempted (7,048), assists (5,310), steals (1,492), points (21,556), and win shares (116.1).

In 2006, Wade led the Heat to the franchise’s first-ever NBA Championship. Of course, he then helped recruit James and Chris Bosh down to South Beach to form The Heatles. In four seasons, The Heatles made four trips to the NBA Finals and won two more titles.

Throughout his 15-year career in Miami, Wade averaged 22.7 points, 5.4 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 48 percent field goal shooting in 1,054 games played. Wade fill forever be synonymous with the Miami Heat.

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