‘I’m still chasing another championship,’ says Pat Riley
A six-pack of Heat notes on a Monday:
▪ The Heat began a series of pre-draft visits and workouts at AmericanAirlines on Monday by hosting Gonzaga forward Brandon Clarke, according to a league source.
Clarke is one of about 10 players in the mix for Miami with the 13th overall pick. He averaged 16.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and shot 68.7 percent from the field last season.
Most of his shots were in the basket area; he shot 4 for 15 on threes. He would be considered a safe pick among options at 13.
Heat forward Kelly Olynyk, who also attended Gonzaga, took a photo with Clarke inside the Heat’s locker-room (the photo was taken on Monday, according to a source) and posted it in Instagram with the words: “Ran into a young Zag. Yute, good luck with the process family.”
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, in his latest mock draft released Monday, has Miami taking Kentucky power forward PJ Washington at 13, and Clarke going 14th to Boston.
Clarke “will turn 23 prior to his first NBA game, and he was one of the most productive players in college basketball this past season, meaning he should be ready to step in and help right away,” Givony said. “He also has some untapped upside left thanks to his freakish athleticism and budding shooting ability, and he doesn’t need any plays called for him, making him a strong match for the existing pieces already in place.”
Givony, in that mock draft, says of Miami: “With Bam Adebayo likely being suited to seeing significant minutes at the center position, it’s difficult to point to another long-term option at the power forward spot that the team can build around, which could make a player in Washington’s mold make sense. Washington has the length to defend multiple positions on the interior, he can stretch the floor from the perimeter and he brings plenty of long-term upside. His toughness and versatility will fit well on any team.”
▪ That mock draft also has Southern California guard Kevin Porter Jr. slipping all the way to 22nd and Oregon center Bol Bol falling to 20th.
Of Porter, Givony said: “Porter will start getting looks as high as the late lottery, but the question marks about his approach to the game appear to have taken a toll on his draft stock. At this stage of the draft, the rewards likely outweigh the risks, as Porter can become another creator on the perimeter who can shoulder some scoring load. Porter has the size and versatility to slot into a variety of lineup configurations.”
The Heat has invited Texas center Jaxson Hayes for a workout and visit at AmericanAirlines Arena but at this point, he has no plans to work out for Miami, according to a league source.
NBA.com suggests it’s unlikely Hayes falls that far and Givony has him going to 10th to Atlanta.
Drew Packham of NBA.com said “one player who is seeing some stabilization is Jaxson Hayes. Previously, the big man was all over the board, but now there’s a near consensus that he’ll wind up with the Hawks. Eight of the 10 mock drafts see Atlanta grabbing him at No. 10.”
Hayes averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks last season.
▪ The Heat also summoned Cal State Fullerton guard Kyle Allman Jr. to AmericanAirlines Arena workout early this week, as first reported by the Orange County Register’s James Williams.
Allman, 6-5, averaged 17.5 points last season, shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from the line.
▪ Two Heat executives last week scouted an agent-organized workout for 7-6 UCF center Tacko Fall, who averaged 11.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks last season and had 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks in the narrow Round of 32 NCAA Tournament loss to Duke….
The Heat has shown some interest in Georgia Southern guard Tookie Brown – the Sun Belt’s Player of the Year last season –as a possible summer addition. He averaged 17.3 points last season but is only 5-11.
▪ The Heat has had guard Charles Cooke stick around South Florida and has invited him to informal workouts. He remains in play for Miami’s summer program.
Cooke, who went undrafted out of Dayton in 2017, appeared in 15 games for New Orleans in 2017-18 and had a 10-day contract with the Heat last season. He averaged 14.4 points on 46.4 percent shooting last season for the Heat’s G-League team in South Dakota.
▪ Quick stuff: The Heat gave Duncan Robinson a $250,000 guarantee and Yante Maten a $100,000 guarantee in their two-year contracts, with additional guarantee trigger dates for both… Givony says the Suns are dangling the sixth overall pick in exchange for a veteran point guard, though it’s somewhat difficult to envision Phoenix pursuing Goran Dragic again after he pushed to be traded years ago… The Heat will hold a June 20 draft party, with Alonzo Mourning and Glen Rice among those in attendance. Cost is $1, with details on heat.com.