After falling to the San Antonio Spurs Sunday in game five of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat can now thoroughly focus on the NBA Draft. With the draft in less than ten days, there will be many offseason issues about the current state of the team. Ultimately, these issues will affect the players they select in this year’s draft.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are now free agents. It is not certain whether or not all three will return. However, out of all three, Wade and Bosh are likely to return with James being the most likely to go to another team. In regard to the supporting casts, the Heat are losing a good defender in Shane Battier to retirement. Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen are all free agents now as well.
In fact, the only player the Heat has under a guaranteed contract through 2015 is Norris Cole.
Realistically, whether or not Wade and Bosh remain in Miami or James decides to stay with some of the supporting casts, it is evident the Miami Heat lacks depth on the bench. More specifically, they are in need of a true power forward or center, an additional scorer and a solid point guard who is able to manage the court on a team filled with star-studded players.
Louisville point guard Russ Smith could potentially be a solid pick for Miami at the guard position. During his career at Louisville, he showed a strong work ethic and ability to lead the team in critical situations. Last season, he averaged nearly 19 points and five assist per game as a senior. Not to mention, he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc, which could be very beneficial with an aging Ray Allen who is now a free agent. Thus, if he remains on the board as a late round two draft pick, Miami should consider getting him for his offensive production and his leadership as a point guard.
Although the Heat have been successful in winning two championships in four NBA Finals appearances, they have always needed another scorer who can impact the game immediately, either off the bench or in the starting lineup.
Arizona shooting guard Nick Johnson has a knack for scoring on offense. As a junior, he averaged 16 points per game. He could bring depth at the shooting guard position for the Heat.
However, he is undersized, only being 6-3.With that said, he can score and play defense at a high level despite his size. Miami desperately needs offensive production and players who will commit to playing defense. Johnson can contribute to both of these aspects, which would make him a perfect fit for the Heat.
In the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat defeated the Pacers. However, Indiana’s big men, Roy Hibbert and David West, exposed them in the paint. After watching that series, Miami needed a true big man this season. They are in need of someone who can really impact the middle beyond Chris Andersen crashing the boards and Bosh, who can sometimes be inconsistent in his mid-range game, in the post and three point shooting.
Florida center Patric Young could be the “big man” force that Miami lacks in the paint. For the Gators, he did well in terms of dominating the offensive glass in rebounding and defending the basket, recording at least one block per game. Young averaged only averaged 11 points during his senior year, but his rebounding and defensive skills makeup for his lack of production on offense. He also has good size, strength and quickness for a big man. If he is around in the late second round, the Heat should definitely snag him from the board. He could definitely help them on defense.
The NBA Draft will take place June 26 in New York City.