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What will Miami Heat do in 2019 NBA Draft?
The 2019 NBA Draft is Thursday. The Heat currently holds two picks, Nos. 13 and 44. What will the Heat decide to do with the selections? Here’s a look at all of our coverage leading up to the draft.
With the June 20 NBA Draft just days away, it’s time to take a closer look at the options the Heat will have with the No. 13 pick.
After taking a deep dive into the Heat’s guard options, the three-part draft preview continues. Here’s a look at the wing players who are expected to be selected in the Heat’s range in the first round …
Cam Reddish, F, Duke
Sekou Doumbouya, F, International
Nassir Little, F, North Carolina
Romeo Langford, F, Indiana
Keldon Johnson, F, Kentucky
WHAT TO KNOW
If the Heat wants to add a skilled wing player with its first-round selection, there should be intriguing options at No. 13.
The pipe dream scenario of Reddish falling to the Heat seems highly unlikely at this point, with nearly every mock draft projecting him as a top-10 pick. But Reddish, who arrived to Duke as a five-star prospect, didn’t quite live up to high expectations as he was overshadowed by RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson for most of this past season. Reddish averaged 13.5 points on 35.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting on threes to go with 3.7 rebounds in 36 games as a freshman. But on-court stats aside, Reddish has the size and length NBA teams are looking for in wing players. He measured at 6-8 and 208 pounds at last month’s Combine with an impressive 7-0.5 wingspan.
Doumbouya is also projected to be drafted before it’s the Heat’s turn to pick. But if the 18-year-old does slip to No. 13, he’s certainly an intriguing prospect with upside. The 6-9 forward averaged 7.8 points on 48.3 percent shooting from the field and 34.3 percent shooting on threes to go with 3.3 rebounds in 19 minutes during 27 games this season while playing professionally for Limoges CSP in France. Doumbouya is known as a prospect who comes with an offensive game that’s still very much a work in progress, but his length and athleticism have scouts fawning over his potential as a defender.
Little, Langford and Johnson are more realistic possibilities for the Heat’s first-round pick.
Little, who arrived to North Carolina as a five-star recruit and was the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect out of Orlando Christian Prep in 2018, averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from three-point range as a freshman. Those numbers are underwhelming relative to the expectations surrounding his game before the season began. But then consider Little played just 18.2 minutes per game in his one season at North Carolina, and some NBA teams could be projecting him to be much more than the player he was on the college level. With a 6-6, 224-pound frame and a 7-1 wingspan, Little definitely has the physical attributes of a star wing player. But can he turn into one?
Langford is another player who entered college with high expectations as a five-star prospect coming out of high school. He averaged 16.5 points on 44.8 percent shooting from the field and 27.2 percent shooting on threes to go with 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in his lone season at Indiana. Outside shooting was an issue for Langford, but it was later revealed that Langford, 19, played most of his freshman season with a torn ligament in his right thumb. How much did the injury to his shooting hand limit him? Langford’s ceiling hinges on whether he can become the shooter he feels he has the potential to be. Standing at 6-6 with a 6-11 wingspan, Langford has the size and athleticism to do almost everything else.
As for the 6-6, 216-pound Johnson, he averaged 13.5 points on 46.1 percent shooting from the field and 38.1 percent shooting on threes, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists as a freshman at Kentucky this past season. He was the defensive anchor for the Wildcats, and he’s projected to be a reliable defender on the NBA level, too. But what offensive player can Johnson turn into? A lot of that will depend on how his outside shot develops.
WHAT ARE OTHERS SAYING?
ESPN’s latest mock draft has Reddish and Doumbouya going before it’s the Heat’s turn to pick at No. 13, with Reddish to the Hawks at No. 8 and Doumbouya to the Wizards at No. 9.
The Heat isn’t expected to have a chance to take Reddish or Doumbouya unless it trades up, but Little, Langford and Johnson could realistically still be on the board at No. 13. ESPN’s mock draft projects Little to go to the Timberwolves at No. 11, Langford to the Pistons at No. 15 and Johnson to the Jazz at No. 23.
Of Little, Givony wrote: “The former top-five recruit saw his stock drop after an inconsistent freshman season, but he has appeared to have worked his way back into the lottery with a strong pre-draft process, particularly by showing better outside shooting potential.”
Givony believes “Langford will be one of the players under consideration for any teams in this range with needs at the guard/wing spots. The Indiana freshman played most of the season with a torn ligament in his shooting hand, but he displayed impressive glimpses of potential as a shot creator operating out of the pick-and-roll.”
Johnson’s strengths include “toughness, versatility and three-point shooting,” Givony wrote. Givony continues, “although his struggles creating offense off the dribble caused his stock to fall somewhat, Johnson won’t need to be much of a ball-handler on [the Jazz] in the short-term.”
BOTTOM LINE FOR HEAT
A dynamic two-way wing is near the top of the Heat’s wish list. So if the Heat believes any of these wing options have the potential to turn into that and they’re still available at No. 13, it could make the selection an easy one. Even with three young wings such as Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. on the roster, a wing prospect who has the potential to turn into a true No. 1 scoring option would certainly fit a need.