Miami Heat

Romeo Langford could be an option for Heat, as long as shooting isn’t too much an issue

Romeo Langford compares himself to Bradley Beal at NBA Scouting Combine

Indiana Hoosiers shooting guard Romeo Langford could be an option for the Miami Heat at No. 13 in the 2019 NBA draft. The guard is trying to prove the poor shooting in his lone season with the Hoosiers was just an aberration.
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Indiana Hoosiers shooting guard Romeo Langford could be an option for the Miami Heat at No. 13 in the 2019 NBA draft. The guard is trying to prove the poor shooting in his lone season with the Hoosiers was just an aberration.

The Indiana Hoosiers never expected to Romeo Langford to quite be a deadeye shooter from long range. Even when he was one of the most touted prospects to come out of Indiana in history, Langford thrived on offense with his ability to slash and score inside.

Still, even the most pessimistic prognosticators probably wouldn’t have pegged Langford as just a 27.2-percent shooter from long range, which is what he was last season at Indiana, so it made a little bit of sense when the shooting guard revealed he played most of his freshman season with a torn ligament in his right thumb. In the extremely small sample size before injuring his shooting hand, Langford shot slightly better at 30 percent from the arc.

“I don’t want to use my thumb as an excuse for the way I shot, but it did bother me a lot and affected me in a huge way when it came to my shooting,” Langford said. “But my form still needs a couple of things to tweak here and there, but I can still shoot the ball, there’s no if, ands or buts about that.”

The ceiling for the 19-year-old, who could be an option for the Miami Heat at No. 13, hinges on whether he can become the shooter he feels he has the potential to be. He’ll get to show that part of his game off soon when he gets the cast off his right thumb following surgery earlier this year. While he’s in Chicago for the NBA Draft Combine, he’s taking meeting with teams as a chance to erase another question mark.

“The main thing I wanted guys to realize is how much passion I have for the game, how much love I have for the game, even though it may not seems like that, the way I carry myself,” Langford said. “Just because I don’t show too much emotion out on the court on the outside, it doesn’t mean I don’t love the game, which I truly do love.”

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The fit

The Heat’s roster has enough holes not to just have one clear-cut need in this draft. If there’s one biggest area of need, though, it might be wing scoring. Langford could fit the ball.

Although he struggled from long range in Bloomington, Langford still shot 44.8 percent from the field because of how effective he was at getting to the rim and how efficient he was when he got there. The guard shot 53 percent once he got inside the arc and attempted nearly 10 shots per game from two-point range.

“I’m a scorer,” Langford said, “and I felt like I’ve showed that many times throughout my career, whether in high school or college.”

Another focus of his in his one college season was to prove himself as a defender. Coach Archie Miller, Langford said, challenged him to be one of the best two-way players in the Big Ten Conference and let him guard some of the league’s top wing players all season.

Langford measured in at 6-foot-4 1/2 without shoes and his 6-11 wingspan was the second longest measured among guards at Quest Multisport. He has the physical tools to guard guards and small forwards if he can refine some of his defensive technique.

“Going in, one thing coach wanted me to do was be one of the best two-way players,” Langford said, “and I feel like I improved a lot on the defensive side.”

The projection

Langford is one of the most popular projections for Miami at No. 13. A five-star prospect coming out of high school, Langford has been viewed as a lottery pick since he was at New Albany High School in Indiana and he still could be one despite some of the obvious deficiencies in his game.

Most mock drafts still project Langford somewhere between 10-15. ESPN is one which projects him to the Heat at No. 13, while The Ringer and Sports Illustrated both have him going No. 15 to the Detroit Pistons. Bleacher Report, however, has Langford going quite a bit earlier to the Atlanta Hawks at No. 10. For now, he seems like a very real possibility for where the Heat is picking, but he’ll have a chance to elevate his stock in the next month if he proves his one season of poor shooting with the Hoosiers was just an aberration.

As a senior in New Albany, Langford shot 36 percent from three-point range, so there are reasons to think he can improve. Just how much confidence he instills in teams could determine whether he’s still around when Miami picks in June.

“That’s just the confidence I have in myself and of the things I’m capable of doing,” Langford said. “I know I can shoot the ball. I know I didn’t shoot it well last year, but I know how well I still can be able to shoot, and be that next level.”