Miami Heat

What will the Heat do in Thursday’s NBA Draft? There are more questions than answers.

Spoelstra: “This season without question would be the growth of our young players”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday April 12, 2019 in Miami.
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Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra talks to the media during the season-ending press conference at the AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday April 12, 2019 in Miami.

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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.

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The Heat entered the offseason with no cap space, but plenty of questions.

A few of those questions will be answered during Thursday’s NBA Draft, a two-round event that begins at 7:30 p.m. The Heat holds the 13th overall selection, with Miami’s turn to pick expected to come at around 8:35 p.m.

The Heat also has the No. 44 pick in the draft, acquiring the second-round selection from the Hawks on Wednesday in exchange for a conditional 2024 second-round pick and cash considerations.

Will the Heat trade its picks, attaching them to a multiyear contract in a deal to offload salary?

Will the Heat find a way to trade for an earlier selection in the first round to take a prospect who would otherwise be off the board at No. 13?

Does the Heat believe it can get the prospect it wants in the 20s, trading the 13th selection for a later pick in the first round?

If the Heat chooses to make a pick at No. 13, there are also questions that come attached to that decision. Is it as simple as picking the best player available who comes with the most upside regardless of position and perceived risk or will the selection be made to fill a specific need?

If the Heat decides to keep the 13th selection, the pick will very likely be one of the 23 draft prospects expected to be in attendance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Green-room invitees are determined by conversations with team executives following combines and pre-draft workouts. Here are the 22 players who are expected to be in the green room for the draft — in alphabetical order: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech guard), R.J. Barrett (Duke forward), Goga Bitadze (Georgian center), Bol Bol (Oregon center), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga forward), Nic Claxton (Georgia center), Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech guard), Sekou Doumbouya (Guinean forward), Darius Garland (Vanderbilt guard), Jaxson Hayes (Texas center), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga forward), Tyler Herro (Kentucky guard), De’Andre Hunter (Virginia forward), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky forward), Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State center), Romeo Langford (Indiana forward), Nassir Little (North Carolina forward), Ja Morant (Murray State guard), Kevin Porter Jr. (Southern Cal guard), Cam Reddish (Duke forward), P.J. Washington (Kentucky forward), Coby White (North Carolina guard) and Zion Williamson (Duke forward).

Of this group of 23 prospects, Williamson, Morant, Barrett, Garland, Culver, Hunter, White and Reddish are expected to be off the board before the Heat’s pick at No. 13.

“I think it’s deeper than what people say,” Heat president Pat Riley said earlier this offseason of this year’s draft. “… I’ve seen 30 players that are very good players. We’re at No. 13. I do think we would get something that would be equivalent to who we have on our team right now, Bam [Adebayo] and Justise [Winslow] and Josh [Richardson] and Derrick Jones Jr. There are going to be players that I think in that area will help us.”

Aside from the mystery surrounding the Heat’s first-round selection, the other question involving Miami will come in the second round. Before Wednesday’s trade into the second round, the Heat didn’t have a second-round pick until 2022 because of previous trades.

The Heat’s last second-round pick came in 2015, when it took Josh Richardson at No. 40. Players whom the Heat has landed in the second round in the past include James Ennis at No. 50 in 2013, Justin Hamilton at No. 45 in 2012, Dexter Pittman at No. 32 in 2010, Mario Chalmers at No. 34 in 2008, and Rasual Butler at No. 53 in 2002.

Another factor to keep in mind: While the Heat is allowed to trade its 2019 first-round pick, it’s not allowed to deal its 2020 or 2022 first-round picks because its 2021 first-round selection was already dealt as part of the 2015 Goran Dragic trade. The NBA doesn’t allow teams to be without consecutive future first-round picks.

The draft is just the start of an important month for the Heat and the rest of the NBA, with free-agent negotiations allowed to begin on June 30. Miami currently has no cap space to spend.

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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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