Miami Heat and Pat Riley -- The Godfather -- Draft Shabazz Napier

The Heat traded up to the 24th pick to take LeBron's favorite player in the draft, Shabazz Napier (13).
The Heat traded up to the 24th pick to take LeBron's favorite player in the draft, Shabazz Napier (13).
Wikipdia Commons

Remember when LeBron James was watching the NCAA Championship earlier this year and tweeted this about UConn's Shabazz Napier?

You know who did remember that tweet? Riles, that's who.

With James opting out of his contract last week -- creating loud, ESPN-manufactured noise -- it was up to Riley last night to deliver yet again a glorious moment, a player, a trade, something to lure our beautiful King James back to town.

And you know who delivered -- who always delivers? Our man Riles, that's who.

After the Heat packaged its 26th pick in the first round last night with the number 55 pick in Round 2 (plus cash and a 2019 second-round pick), they moved up two spots to take Napier at 24.

Among other things, Riley told the media after the draft that Napier was high on the team's list.

"I fell more in love with him the closer you got to the pick," he said. "It just came together. You just sort of zero in on somebody. It's very difficult when everybody knows you're zeroing in on someone. We're very fortunate to have drafted Shabazz. We feel very excited about him and what he can be."

Napier put up 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists for Connecticut last year, helped his team win the national championship, and was named the Final Four's "most outstanding player" after this year's NCAA Tournament. He also won a championship in '11. Sounds like a future Heatles member to us.

"For one of the best players in the world to be intrigued by my talent is something so special to me," Napier said about LeBron. "One of the best players, if not the best player, is recognizing my [talent]. I appreciate it."

Unfortunately, Mario Chalmers may not.

See, that's the other thing. Because Chalmers is a free agent (and because Cole is locked in at a reasonable $2.15 million next year alongside Napier's rookie deal), it appears the best player in the entire NBA will be yelled at elsewhere next year. We'll see.

But perhaps the best part of the last night was ESPN's Bill Simmons whining on the air, distraught that he'll have to come to South Beach for the finals again next year and creating a magnificent Vine for all:

OK, we take it back. The best part of the night was this:


You can follow Ryan Cortes on Twitter.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >