Kevin Porter Jr.: ‘A lot of people say I’m one of most talented in the draft’
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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 No. 13 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, there are different directions the Heat can go.
The Heat could go with the best available prospect regardless of position, it could go with a positional need by drafting a guard or wing, it could go the safe route and take a player who has a high floor but low ceiling or it could even trade the pick.
But if the Heat keeps the selection, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas pointed to several players Miami should consider at No. 13. During a conference call Monday, Bilas listed Gonzaga forwards Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, Kentucky forward P.J. Washington, Oregon center Bol Bol, Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Indiana wing Romeo Langford as some of the prospects who should interest the Heat.
Also, Bilas said he would go for the best available player.
“I always look at the draft as the ability to not only make your team better, but to obtain assets,” he said. “If you’ve got a player that you think is the best available player, he might not necessarily be drafted to help your team. It could be to help your team by having a draftable asset and a tradable asset.”
Bilas called Hachimura “a player who could wind up being there that I think would be the best player.” ESPN’s latest mock draft has Hachimura, who averaged 19.7 points on 59.1 percent shooting from the field and 41.7 percent shooting on threes to go with 6.5 rebounds, going one spot ahead of the Heat at No. 12 to the Hornets.
Clarke, who spent four years at Gonzaga and averaged 16.9 points on 68.7 percent shooting from the field and 4-of-15 shooting on threes, 8.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks as a redshirt junior this past season, is projected to be taken by the Hawks at No. 17 in ESPN’s mock draft.
“Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga is another guy who could be there,” Bilas said. “He’s a super-athletic versatile defender that can rebound and block shots and can guard positions one through four. Not a guy that is going to really play on the perimeter or facing the basket all that much like Hachimura does, but he’s very, very gifted athletically.”
The player who Bilas ranks as the 13th-best draft prospect, though, is Washington. And ESPN’s mock draft has Washington going to the Heat at No. 13.
“He’s a 6-9 forward that can step away and knock down a perimeter shot, he’s a good athlete,” Bilas said of Washington, who averaged 15.2 points on 52.2 percent shooting from the field and 42.3 percent (33 of 78) shooting on threes and 7.5 rebounds as a sophomore this past season. “He’s a solid prospect.
“Do I see him being an All-Star in the NBA? Probably not. But do I see him being a starter in the league? I do. I think he’s got the opportunity to play for a long, long time.”
Bilas called Bol a prospect who could be drafted in the Heat’s range who “is kind of mysterious.” The 7-2 Bol played just nine games as a freshman at Oregon before sustaining a season-ending left foot injury in December.
Bol, the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, averaged 21 points on 56.1 percent shooting from the field and 52 percent shooting on threes to go with 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks before he was injured. ESPN’s mock draft has Bol slipping to the Celtics at No. 20.
“He has long arms, he has a 7-7 wingspan, he can step away and shoot it, a good shot-blocker, a guy who’s very, very skilled with the ball and checks every box on versatility,” Bilas said. “When you look at his highlights, ‘You’re going, man, he can do everything.’ The question is, does he do it consistently over a 48-minute game? That’s the question. How’s he going to come back from injury?”
Of Langford and Alexander-Walker, Bilas said: “They’re two players I would consider there [at No. 13] that are both really good guards. Alexander-Walker is the better shooter of the two, and Langford is better getting to the rim and better off the dribble and a little bit more explosive athletically.”
▪ When asked about Southern California guard Kevin Porter Jr., Bilas described him as “super athletic and gifted.” Porter, who averaged 9.5 points on 47.1 percent shooting and four rebounds in 21 games as a freshman this past season, is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward prospect.
With a 6-6, 212-pound frame, Porter is projected by some to turn into a dynamic offensive player because of his athleticism and shot-making skills. But there are off-court concerns, as he was suspended at USC in the middle of the season for “conduct issues.”
“He’s just an outstanding scorer,” Bilas said. “He’s got a good release on his shot, tons of confidence. He just can toy with defenders on the college level and when he’s engaged, he can really play. He’s not a great decision maker, that’s got to improve. And I think he’s got to become more consistent — more consistent in every way, both on and off the floor. I think if an NBA team satisfies itself that the issues that he had — he was suspended last year for a time — that they were youth related and thinks he can overcome, it’s not a big deal. That’s one thing where I can have my opinion on it, but I don’t have to draft them. They do.”