Barry Jackson

Heat brings a Duke standout to team headquarters

Duke's Luke Kennard (5) and Derryck Thornton (12) celebrate the team's 74-73 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wed., Feb. 17, 2016.
Duke's Luke Kennard (5) and Derryck Thornton (12) celebrate the team's 74-73 victory over North Carolina in an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wed., Feb. 17, 2016. AP

Duke’s Luke Kennard, a sweet-shooting two-guard who has supposedly shot up some draft boards, will work out for the Heat in Miami on Wednesday, according to league sources.

Kennard, 6-6, averaged 19.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists last season as a sophomore at Duke. He shot 48.9 percent from the field and 43.8 percent on three-pointers (88 for 201).

Miami picks 14th, and some projections have him now going higher than that.

ESPN’s Chad Ford has him going 12th to Detroit.

“Kennard wowed NBA scouts and GMs at his pro day, putting on an epic 3-point display and showing more athleticism than scouts thought he had at Duke,” Ford said, noting the Lakers recorded him with a 38.5-inch max vertical at his workout.

“Kennard is getting interest as high as No. 8 to the Knicks,” Ford added. “He's a hot name to watch right now.”

One scout told me Kennard would be an ideal pick at 14 for the Heat; another raised questions about his athleticism and defense and thought he should go lower than 14. (More on this later.)

He can score in a variety of ways.

“All year long, he’s been their best player, and it hasn’t been close,” one Eastern Conference executive told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “(NBA-bound forward Jayson) Tatum took over in the last month, but for the first three months he wasn’t anywhere close to it.”

But a Western Conference scout told Aldridge: “He’s got deficiencies obviously at the defensive end. He’s going to really struggle. But he won’t, because he’s going to be a second-line guy. He can’t guard the starters, but he’s not (going to be) a starter.”

With Kennard, there would be position overlap at shooting guard with the Heat if Miami re-signs Dion Waiters and retains Wayne Ellington (whose $6.3 million contract doesn’t become guaranteed until July 7) as well as Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson (both are under contract).

Kennard, one of several players expected to work out for the Heat on Wednesday, isn’t equipped to play small forward on the defensive end, though he could play in a three-guard lineup with Waiters and Goran Dragic if Waiters guards the opposing team’s small forward, which he did multiple times last season.

Kennard won’t be the only Luke auditioning for the Heat on Wednesday; Vanderbilt center Luke Kornet told me he will be among other players working out for the Heat on Wednesday. We previously reported that Wake Forest power forward John Collins, projected for the Heat’s draft range or soon after, also will be in that workout.

This is the fourth of a bunch of blogs today. Please click here for Dolphins nuggets, including DeVante Parker’s reasons for why this could be a breakout season. Please click here for a Marlins sales update, including a prediction from commisioner Rob Manfred.

And please click here for UM notes, including news on a player transferring and Mark Richt addressing personnel issues. And please check back later for more. And finally, please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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