The Miami Herald Heat mailbag is here to answer your questions.
Ajith: Realistically speaking, what’s the best the Heat can do at No. 13? It’s not a top-10 pick, so is expecting a bench contributor setting the bar too low?
Anthony Chiang: Yes, that’s a low standard. Though, some believe low expectations are the key to happiness, so I get it. But considering Karl Malone (1985), Kobe Bryant (1996), Devin Booker (2015) and Donovan Mitchell (2017) were drafted at No. 13, expecting the Heat to come away from the June 20 NBA Draft with an eventual NBA starter at No. 13 isn’t crazy. And there are a bunch of players who weren’t even taken in the lottery who turned out to be All-Stars — Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Steve Nash are just a few who fall under that category. Of course, there have also been players selected 13th who haven’t enjoyed long and productive NBA careers. But you can say that about almost every slot in the draft. It’s on the Heat to make sure it doesn’t swing and miss at No. 13 this year.
With all that being said, this isn’t thought of as a particularly deep draft class. But there are some high-upside prospects who are expected to be taken in the Heat’s range. Sekou Doumbouya, Nassir Little, Rui Hachimura, Bol Bol and Kevin Porter Jr. are a few.
Remember, the Heat drafted Bam Adebayo at No. 14 in 2017. He ended this past season as Miami’s starting center, and he could be the starting center moving forward. Finding a player who will eventually be good enough to be a quality NBA starter is a reasonable goal for the Heat at No. 13 this year.
Zach: Do you think Udonis Haslem will return to the Heat as a player next season? I think he will have some type of role with the team, maybe as an assistant coach next season.
Anthony: I agree with you, Udonis Haslem will likely have some type of role in the Heat organization next season. What that role will be remains unanswered. Haslem is still unsure whether he will return for his 17th NBA season or retire, but he’s working to remain in top shape in case he does decide to continue his playing career. With the Heat already more than $20 million over the projected $109 million salary cap for 2019-20, the expectation is Haslem would play another season at a veteran minimum salary, which is $2.6 million, if he returns.