The Heat entered the NBA Draft without a selection but picked up 6-7 swingman James Ennis from the Hawks in a late-night trade.
The Hawks selected Ennis with a second-round pick (50th overall) before trading him to Miami for a future second rounder. Ennis played two seasons at Long Beach State, averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
On a night when the Heat wasn’t in the spotlight, Miami forward Shane Battier, moonlighting as a sideline reporter for ESPN, interviewed draftees throughout the program, including University of Miami guard Shane Larkin, who was taken 18th overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Larkin was expected to be traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
A week earlier, Battier was the unexpected star of Game 7 of the NBA Finals, making 6 of 8 three-pointers in the Heat’s victory against the San Antonio Spurs.
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Battier parlayed that performance into a gig with ESPN, potentially Battier’s future employer after he retires.
Battier said he expects the 2013-14 season to be his last.
If Thursday was a tryout for Battier, he passed the test. Among his best one-liners of the night:
• Battier told Shabazz Muhammad “better late than never” after the UCLA swingman showed up to the draft at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center about 10 picks too late. Muhammad was drafted 14th overall by the Utah Jazz. The Jazz later traded him to the Timberwolves.
• After the New Orleans Pelicans drafted Nerlens Noel of Kentucky sixth overall, Battier quipped, “a block party is coming to the French Quarter.” But the block party dissolved quickly. Minutes after the Pelicans drafted Noel, they traded him to Philadelphia for guard Jrue Holiday and a future first-round pick.
Noel’s trade for Holiday was one of several surprises.
Noel was expected to go first overall by many but that honor went to Anthony Bennett, a 6-7, 239-pound power forward from UNLV who now joins the ongoing rebuilding project in Cleveland.
Bennett is the first Canadian to be taken No. 1 overall.
Another exciting twist: Tim Hardaway Jr., son of former Heat star Tim Hardaway, went to the Knicks.
“I thought he’d get booed just based on tradition,” joked ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas after Hardaway Jr. walked up to shake outgoing commissioner David Stern’s hand.
Outgoing commissioner David Stern, announcing first-round draft picks for the final time, had fun with the audience, goading them to boo before every pick.
“We’ve had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect,” Stern said.
Film director and Knicks fan Spike Lee had the quote of the night, reminded everyone that while the Heat didn’t have a draft pick, it was still on everyone’s mind.
“There cannot be a three-peat,” Lee said. “Somebody has got to do something about that.”