Miami Heat – B
13th Overall – Tyler Herro, Guard (Kentucky)
32nd Overall – KZ Okpala. Forward (Stanford)
The Miami Heat find themselves at a bit of a crossroads. Back in 2016 when they were unable to convince Kevin Durant, Gordon Hayward or any other big name on the free agent market to take their talents to South Beach, they instead opted to reward a group of middling players with four-year deals. The thought that keeping together a group that went 30-11 over the final 41 games of the 2015-16 season wouldn’t bite them in the butt was logical at the time. Fast forward and it has completely bitten Pat Riley and this team in their backside. The team is stuck in salary cap hell–they had to release Rodney McGruder at the end of the season to avoid the luxury tax–as the biggest free agent class in NBA history hits the market (with 2020’s crop not looking that great).
The 2019 NBA Draft was the best way for this team to acquire new blood and they doubled down on it. With their lottery pick, they went with Tyler Herro (who was dressed for the part) out of Kentucky. The sharpshooting guard has drawn comparisons to former Wildcat Devin Booker since both were used in similar roles by Calipari during their time in Lexington. Even though the team has plenty of guards on the roster, Herro likely walks into training camp as the best shooter among them.
In the second round, they went after KZ Okpala from Stanford. Okpala had a strong season for the Cardinal and looked the part of a future pro. Okpala definitely needs to add some muscle and no team is better equipped at getting their players in the best condition than the Miami Heat. If they can unlock more out of Okpala he could be someone that pays huge dividends to the franchise in the future.
Drafting players that will eventually make an impact is one way to attempt to rebuild on the fly but for the Heat, they might need to act quicker than that. It is my belief that Pat Riley is going to be very aggressive on the trade market, looking to take in players on longer contracts instead of chasing after free agents. Could Herro or Okpala find themselves involved in one of those moves? Potentially, but regardless of who is dealt and who is kept Miami needs to find a way to get some of the shine back to its name. With Dwyane Wade retired this franchise is waiting for the next big thing.