And then there’s that pesky Dwyane Wade situation. As the draft approaches, it’s a very real possibility that Wade will not re-sign with Miami, which would throw a monkey wrench into the team's big plans.
But Pat Riley is a man who must be trusted. Because he’s come through in the past and because, well, what choice do Heat fans have?
And that brings us to the draft. Who will the Heat take? Will that player make the Heat a contender again? How does Wade fit into all this?
Here’s your Miami Heat NBA Draft explainer to hopefully help you figure it all out:
When are the Heat picking?
The Heat is set to pick tenth.
Is that good?
Sure. It means it’ll get a shot at one of the ten best prospects available.
How does this affect the Dwyane Wade situation?
It might affect it in a couple of ways, and it might not affect it at all.
The Heat are reportedly trying to offer Chris Andersen and Mario Chalmers to teams to unload contracts and make space to give Wade what he wants. This has nothing to do with who they draft.
BUT! There are also rumors that the Heat may throw in the tenth pick to sweeten the deal.
Why can’t the Heat just give Wade what he wants?
Because he’s reportedly asking for more than the Heat can afford without taking a luxury-tax hit — which is a tax teams must pay if their payroll passes a certain limit.
Is Wade asking for gajlillions of dollars?
No. But the Heat would like to make him happy and give him a big contract while remaining competitive and having space on the payroll to sign other players.
All right. Back to the draft. Who is the Heat taking?
It’s tough to guess. But most think they want Frank Kaminsky out of Wisconsin.
Ah. He looks pretty good.
Yes, but the Charlotte Hornets just made a trade with the Portland Trailblazers that some say is a clear indication that they want Kaminsky too. They’re picking ahead of Miami. Still, while not a popular pick among fans, Kaminsky is a solid prospect who can hit from downtown — something the Heat sorely lacked last season.
So if Kaminsky is gone, where does that leave the Heat?
Again, the Heat could trade away the pick if someone takes a guy they're targeting, leaving players they're not in love with.
That would be a bummer. What if the Heat ends up with no Wade and no tenth pick?
This is highly unlikely. If the Heat trades the pick, it means it knows they know they're getting Wade back.
What about these reports that Miami wants to sign Monta Ellis from Dallas?
There are rumors the Heat likes him, but this seems to be a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency scenario with Wade. He would be a cheaper (and much lesser) replacement. But the Heat would probably also have to have someone like Luol Deng opt out of his contract to make that happen. This is highly unlikely.
It really feels like the Wade situation is complicating everything.
In a way, it is. Because the Heat for a long time has envisioned teaming its tenth pick with him, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, and Chris Bosh.
That’s a kick-ass five.
This is our concern, dude.
So if Kaminsky is gone, who else is there?
A lot of Heat fans like Stanley Johnson from Arizona.
He’s versatile, athletic, and has a lot of potential to be a playmaker. The ceiling is high with him. It’s quite possible this is the guy the Heat ends up with, given the way many think the draft will pan out.
Who would be a wildcard pick? Someone people might not see coming?
That wold be Kelly Oubre from Kansas. He’s tall (six-foot-six), long, and an incredible athlete. He can defend, he can shoot the three, and he has the kind of game the Heat loves. It wouldn't shock is if the Heat selected Oubre because he's an athletic freak
Interesting. Anyone else?
Yes. There's also Duke's Justise Winslow.
He's another type of athletic giant who the Heat could fall in love with. His game most resembles the Warriors' Draymond Green. Winslow is versatile like Green, is a ferocious defender like Green, and has a decent jump shot. Winslow can also finish at the rim. In other words, he has everything in a player Pat Riley covets: Size, defensive skills, and versatility. Like Oubre, we wouldn't be shocked the least bit if the Heat pulled the trigger on Justise.
Ok, but it comes down to it, who will the Heat take?
The Heat will take Devin Booker from Kentucky.
He isn’t as raw as Johnson and Oubre and can potentially be Wade’s replacement or heir. Booker can shoot the three, can defend, and has an all-around game the Heat likes. In other words, he’s ready to play right away. The Heat has no time to mess around with a rookie who isn’t NBA-ready right now. Plus, he’s from Kentucky, which is where Pat Riley went. So there’s that. Booker wouldn’t be the sexiest pick, but he just might be the right one.