Miami Heat

Mailbag: Should Heat take the ‘best player available’ approach in this year’s draft?

The Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.

If you weren’t able to ask one this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang). You can also email me at achiang@miamiherald.com.

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@HeatHomer3: The Heat usually go best player available in the draft, but do they try to round out the young core by drafting a certain position this summer instead?

Anthony Chiang: Because of the uncertainty surrounding the Heat’s roster, I think the “best player available” approach is still the way to go in this year’s draft. There are so many contracts coming off the books in the next few years that Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow are the only two Heat players currently under contract for the 2021-22 season. The Heat can make the other member of its young core, Bam Adebayo, a restricted free agent for 2021-22 with a qualifying offer.

But the one position I would be surprised to see the Heat draft this year is center. It’s already challenging enough for Erik Spoelstra to find enough minutes at the center position for Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk and Adebayo. The Heat has Olynyk and Adebayo under contract for the next two seasons, and Whiteside (if he chooses to opt in to his $27.1 million player option for next season) is under contract for one more season before becoming a free agent in 2020.

The Heat will learn its position in the draft in the May 14 NBA Draft lottery. Miami is more than likely to pick 13th, but could move down to 14th in the unlikely event Sacramento breaks into the top four in the lottery. The Heat also has a 1 percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in the lottery and a 4.7 percent chance of securing a top-four pick.

William: They got to find a home for Justise Winslow in terms of a position. He has talent and played well filling in for Goran Dragic. Perhaps that’s the spot for him. I got to believe it’s a real challenge to be productive when you’re not sure where you’re going play on a given night. When he’s had a consistent role he blossomed.

Anthony: When it comes to Winslow, I don’t think it’s about the position. It’s more about the role. Winslow wants to play with the ball in his hands and he’s proven he can thrive in that role. Whether it’s as a point guard, shooting guard or point forward, it’s about playing with the ball in his hands. It’s clear Winslow is much more effective when he’s helping to facilitate the offense rather than just standing in the corner as a spot-up shooter. And the Heat knows that, too.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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