The Heat need to add an impact player at No. 20 if they want to win the Eastern Conference and return to the NBA Finals next season.
Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff know the Heat found a successful formula in the Bubble en route to an Eastern Conference title. That means Miami doesn’t need to overhaul their roster this offseason. Instead, look for the Heat to simply try to tweak things in an effort to build on their past success.
The impending chase to sign Giannis Antetekuonmpo next summer means the Heat will likely stay relatively quiet in free agency. That places a premium on getting the No. 20 pick right. They may struggle to find a star in that spot, but their front office excels at finding players who fit their system perfectly. Keep a close eye on these five prospects as potential impact additions for the Heat.
1. Payton Pritchard, Guard, Oregon, Big Board Rank: NR
Some might view taking Pritchard No. 20 as a reach. He does lack the elite athleticism most teams prioritize in the first round. However, Pritchard’s feel for the game and shooting ability will appeal strongly to the Heat’s front office.
Drafting him would also give Miami a valuable insurance policy against the possibility of Goran Dragic leaving in free agency. Even if Dragic returns, it’s likely going to be on a short-term deal. Pritchard could give the Heat valuable depth initially with the chance to blossom into Dragic’s ultimate successor. Never underestimate Miami’s interest in nabbing an elite shooter. Pritchard’s fit into their system could trump any questions about his athleticism.
2. Josh Green, Wing, Arizona, Big Board Rank: 18
Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson give the Heat great shooting from the wing position, but neither has the defensive chops to develop into a top-flight stopper. Jimmy Butler can only guard one opponent at a time. Selecting Green would give the Heat a much-needed boost of defensive potential on the wing.
He’s also a quality three-point shooter which increases his upside. Nabbing him and giving him a season or two to learn behind Jae Crowder would be a clever move by the Heat’s front office.
3. Theo Maledon, Guard, ASVEL, Big Board Rank: 30
Maledon would be a more conventional selection for the Heat to address their future at point guard. The combination of his size and shooting ability at the lead guard spot makes him an intriguing prospect for the Heat.
The major concern about Maledon’s game is his lack of elite pop off the dribble. As long as the Heat has Jimmy Butler they don’t really need their point guard to be a primary creator for long stretches. Maledon has the shooting ability to create even more space for Miami’s offense.
4. Jalen Smith, Big, Maryland, Big Board Rank: 31
Another potential long-term hole in the Heat roster is at the forward spot next to Bam Adebayo. Finding a versatile big who can stretch the floor next to Adebayo should be a priority for Miami.
Smith fits that definition perfectly. He has the advanced scoring chops to contribute right away on the offensive end of the floor. The weaknesses in his game almost all come at the end of the floor where he lacks elite lateral quickness and explosion. Adebayo’s defensive prowess will more than cover up any of Smith’s weaknesses.
5. Tyrell Terry, Guard, Stanford, Big Board Rank: 20
If Terry is still on the board at No. 20 then look for the Heat to turn in their pick quickly. He may be undersized, but his ability to create shots off the dribble and hit them at a high rate give him a chance to develop into a high-level NBA scorer.
The Heat have done a great job of acquiring high-level shooters and putting them in the perfect position to succeed. Terry could start as a primary creator for the Heat’s second unit. In time, his elite shooting ability gives him a chance to play alongside Butler and another shooter in the team’s starting lineup.
Miami doesn’t project to have many chances to gamble on a star in the near future. Drafting Terry would give them a legitimate chance to nab one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft. He shouldn’t still be on the board at No. 20, but there’s an outside chance he could fall into the Heat’s lap.
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