Miami Heat: Grading the 2014 draft

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When looking at the draft grade for the Miami Heat, I cannot help but think about everything that has taken place within the last week. LeBron James decided opt out of his contract, followed by Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and now Chris Bosh. Thus, with the following players opting out of their contracts, other role players opting out and Norris Cole as the only player on the roster with a specific contract for next season, it is kind of difficult to give the Heat an official grade for the draft.

Nevertheless, in terms of drafting a solid player, overall athlete, leader and playmaker, the Heat get an A for their draft grade. Although trading their 26th pick and two second-round picks to the Charlotte Hornets to draft Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier 24th overall, he can truly be an instant benefit to the Miami Heat, granted the “Big Three”, or some of the “Big Three” return along with some key free agents and role players.

Mario Chalmers provided a lackluster performance in the 2014 NBA Finals, struggling to score in double digits and not playing an active role in the majority of the games against the San Antonio Spurs. Norris Cole came off the bench, putting in good minutes but only accounted for minimal production.

Napier has proved himself to be a winner in college, winning two national championships during his four years at the University of Connecticut. Likewise, the Miami Heat is a franchise accustomed to winning championships. Napier now brings his winning attitude and determination towards success to Miami in a time where they could use it at the point guard position.

Not only does he possess a passion and heart for winning, Napier has the skills to go along with his strong sense of passion for the game. He is competitive, consistent in terms of his scoring production, defends well against his opponents and creates opportunities for himself as well as his teammates.

During his senior year, he averaged nearly 19 points per game in the season and scored 21 points per game throughout the 2014 NCAA Tournament, despite being undersized at 6-1. He also shot 41 percent from the field from beyond the arc last season, which is a major plus for the Heat in consideration with Ray Allen three point shooting abilities.

Even further, according to ESPN.com article by Brian Windhorst, Napier plays with a chip on his shoulder. “The chip never leaves my shoulder and it will never leave my shoulder,” said Napier. “That’s what makes me who I am.”

In my opinion, the “Big Three” will return to Miami, along with Ray Allen. If Miami can acquire good players who can provide consistent production off the bench, Napier will essentially have the opportunity to help the team in terms of his points production, his ability to be a floor general on the court. More importantly, it takes pressures off of James, which is why Napier was his favorite player in the draft.