The Miami Heat plan on bringing in roughly 30 players for private workouts leading up to next month’s NBA Draft and one player who says he’s already on the list is former Florida State guard Dwayne Bacon.
Bacon, 21, is projected to be taken by the Denver Nuggets with the 49th pick according to NBA Draft Express.com. The Heat do not own a second round pick, but could trade cash or a player to acquire one if it feels Bacon or any other player is worth it.
A former McDonald’s All-American, Bacon led the Seminoles in scoring with 17.2 points per game and averaged 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals as a sophomore.
Bacon, whose body fat was measured at just 7.9 percent this week in Chicago, is an intriguing option for Miami because of his size, length and versatility as a shooting guard. He has a wingspan of 6-feet, 10-inches (tied for seventh-longest among all guards at the combine) and a 36 1/2-inch vertical leap. He’s also got the widest hands (10 inches) among guards.
“I think once I get to the NBA I’m going to be better – a lot better than I was in college,” Bacon said. “I feel like the game is more open, has more space to do what you want to do and I feel like I'm a player who can do that type of thing.
“I think I’ll play the two and three mostly. But I feel like at Florida State I played a lot of positions. So, it don’t matter [where they put me]. I definitely have a developed body that’s ready [for the NBA] right away. I’ve just got to go in and learn. Once I get with a team, once a team picks me and I learn and I’m working hard, I think I’ll fit in fine.”
Bacon shot 45.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range last season for the Seminoles. He acknowledges it’s an area he still has to grow.
“I have to take it upon myself,” Bacon said. “It’s all work. You just have to have that state of mind that you’ve got to work everyday and I’m definitely willing to do that.”
The Heat obviously already have a boatload of shooting guards on the roster with Tyler Johnson, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder, and there’s strong interest in bringing Dion Waiters back. But Bacon could ultimately present a relatively cheap, solid option to help replace one of those guys down the road – especially after some seasoning in the D-League.
As it stands, Waiters could potentially price himself out of Miami this summer in a market not exactly brimming with shooting guard talent. Plus, Johnson’s contract jumps from $6 million next season to roughly $19 million in 2018-19 and the Heat could eventually look to move that salary off the roster.
Richardson, while still cheap next season, can hit free agency in 2018-19. And while the Heat own a $6.2 million team option it can renew on Ellington for next season and has until July 7 to do so, team president Pat Riley could opt to use that money elsewhere in free agency. McGruder, who is line to make less than $2 million over the next two seasons, is the only cheap option whose future looks guaranteed to be with Miami beyond next season.
So, the Heat could still very much add another shooting guard to this roster. Bacon, a defensive-minded player who played all over the court at FSU, fits the Heat mold sort of the way Okaro White does. Only, Bacon is more skilled offensively.
“I think they’re a great developing team,” Bacon said of the Heat. “I feel like Pat Riley is an outstanding guy. I feel like he really puts a lot into that program and has guys that want to win and work.”
Bacon said he’s already interviewed at the combine with Portland, Indiana, Oklahoma City and New Orleans and had three more interviews lined up Friday with other teams.