We have been robbed. Garland projected to be one of college basketball’s most exciting players and one of the draft’s most intriguing talents and we will lose a year of watching the Nashville native due to a tear in his meniscus suffered Nov. 27. Yet Garland’s prodigious scoring talent and quickness put him firmly in position to garner lottery consideration nevertheless.
Before his injury, Garland was incredible. The freshman, who will turn 19 in January, made 11-23 triples and led Vanderbilt to wins in its first four games of the year, including an 82-78 victory over Kevin Porter Jr. and USC. He looks exactly like the kind of talent Miami desperately needs at point guard.
While veteran Goran Dragic will surely opt into his $19.2 million salary for the 2019-20 season, he is the only traditional point guard on the Heat roster. When he has missed time this year (a thing that has happened a lot), the Heat push the likes of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson into the role, reducing their positional advantages as playmakers into weaknesses running the entire offense.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra has begun calling Winslow his starting point guard. This is a problem. But it’s one Miami can solve with its first-round pick this year by drafting an exciting talent like Garland and bringing him through its player development system.