Yes, it’s true that a couple of months ago I correctly predicted the Dolphins would select Missouri defensive end Charles Harris with the 22nd overall pick of the first round in the NFL Draft. I mention this mostly because my opportunities to brag about being bull’s-eye right are so rare, they mustn’t be squandered. But I also mention this because what led me to be right on the Dolphins -- a strong feeling on what direction Miami would go with its No. 1 pick -- also steers my prediction for what the Heat will do with the 14th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
With the Dolphins I thought “defense.”
With the Heat I’m thinking “big.”
Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra know the biggest hole on their roster and in their lineup remains the one left by Chris Bosh’s erasure due to blood clots. The Heat’s greatest position need is a power forward as a frontcourt complement center Hassan Whiteside, and Miami should have a chance to get a good one the way this draft looks to shake out.
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As a hedge I must note that a marksman such as Duke guard Luke Kennard will tempt and is a possibility for the Heat, but our premonition stays strong with a big.
Miami I believe would grab Gonzaga center Zach Collins quicker than you can say “the Heat is on the clock” if he falls to 14, but I don’t see Zach from ‘Zaga escaping the top 10.
UCLA power forward T.J. Leaf would get a long look from Miami but he might be a bit of a reach at 14th.
Miami also could have an intriguing decision with Duke power forward Harry Giles likely to be available to them, but his history of knee injuries makes him an awfuly big risk to absorb. (I’d take him if the medical charts are unequivocally positive, but -- after dealing for two-plus seasons with the Bosh medical drama -- I doubt the Heat will chance a first-round pick who requires a note from his doctor).
So. Time for the drumroll, please. With the 14th pick in the NBA Draft the Miami Heat select:
Wake Forest power forward John Collins.
Call him the BAC, the Best Available Collins after ‘Zaga’s Zach.
Unlike most top prospects the 6-10 John Collins played beyond his freshman season and it helped him hugely. Few players in college basketball improved more as a sophomore. Collins averaghed 19.2 points on 62 percent shooting and also averaged 9.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this past season. From Cardinal Newman High in West Palm Beach, Collins also led the entire NCAA in player efficiency rating at 35.93, and excelled in his pro workouts.
Nation-leading efficiency at a need position. Sounds logical to me.