While Miami is currently playing for its third NBA championship, this year’s NBA draft will be an important one for coach Erik Spoelstra. With less than three weeks away from the draft, the Heat will have to deal with expiring contracts, retirement and opt-out clauses on the roster.
This year, Miami again remains at the bottom of the draft board, with the 26th pick in round one and the 55th pick in round two. While many of the best players will be drafted within the early portion of the first, the Heat will still have the opportunity to get quality players in the first round.
At the conclusion of the NBA Finals, point guard Mario Chalmers will become a free agent. With a salary cap that may not allow for Miami to pay him, Chalmers could possibly be playing for another team next season. Miami must also focus on finding a center that is versatile and has the ability to play with star-studded athletes.
Thus, here are three potential first round players who could make a direct contribution for the Heat.
Missouri point guard Jordan Clarkson could be a good addition to the Heat roster, although coming from a Missouri program that was not very successful. Clarkson has strong traits and strong NBA potential. He plays unselfish, but he has the ability to take over the game with due to his athleticism. After transferring from Tulsa, Clarkson hit the scene as one of the best playmakers in the country. However, he is definitely under the radar. One thing remains for sure; the 6-foot-4 point guard is under the radar and could be on the board towards the end of the first round. If Miami can get him, he would be a great asset, bringing his playmaking skills to Miami to help on offense and help LeBron James.
Michigan center Mitch McGary is not your typical frame for a center, but has the ability to play well with great players on the court, playing Michigan standouts Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway, Jr. For a center, he is quick and gets up and down the court quickly. Not to mention, many of his points came in transition. McGary plays with tremendous effort and understands the game. He also has a knack for offensive rebounding, in which he could be used to help Anderson and Bosh with rebounding duties. With Greg Oden not providing much productivity for the Heat, he could contribute on offense and defense. Due to back surgery during his sophomore year and failing a marijuana test by the NCAA, his fall in the draft stock could really benefit the Heat, especially if he remains on the board.
Going back to the point guard position, not only does Miami need a point guard, they need a point guard who can run the offense but contribute to the offense as well. University of Connecticut point guard Shabazz Napier can definitely do this. The downside to Napier is that he is only 6-foot-on and 175 pounds, which is undersized for a NBA point guard. However, he plays with tremendous heart and can provide instant offense like NBA guards Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson. Napier also has a winner mentality, winning two national championships with the Huskies. Napier also has good on-the-ball defense. Thus, Napier can run the offense, score on offense and play defense, which creates a solid all-around player that could help the Heat tremendously. Right now, according to draftexpress.com, he ranks 28thin the 2014 NBA Mock Draft.
Watch coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26 on ESPN. The draft will be live from New York.