The value of living in the moment is not to consider drafting for need. For almost all of the Pat Riley era, that has made the process relatively clear for its Scouting crews.
This year may be an exception.
If PJ Tucker gives up his Heat player option for next season and moves to free agency, there will not be a single power forward on the roster.
Not with the Bomb Adebayo cast in the center. With Omar Yurtseven yet to show the ability to play power forward. And not until Jimmy Butler signs on to play positionally, in the approach of a short ball.
So a four at number 27 in Thursday’s NBA draft?
“We have talks between now and the draft. And you can weigh it based on need,” said Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations.
But the prospect of heat handing out such a role to a newborn is no more than when the team drafted University of Memphis power forward Precious Achiuwa in 2020 amid a similar power vacuum. , , Only to trade it after 10 months.
So, yes, it can again be as mundane as trying out the best player available, even if it means leaving the box unchecked after selection at Barclays Center.
Simon said, “I think it’s the same thing where you don’t want to sit a year from now and say we drafted a player we needed and passed a player we thought was a better fit.” There was talent, just because we needed a position.”
Sometimes there’s a way to fit in the best available talent, as Dwayne Wade did in his 2003 shift at point guard. And sometimes drafting on a need basis leaves you short, as was the case with Shabaz Napier in 2014.
In 2017, with Hasan Whiteside also on the roster, the Heat drafted Adebayo. The move produced a best-available-player win.
Similarly, the Heat didn’t allow Josh Richardson or Justice Winslow (or even Dion Vetters) to stand in the way of Tyler Harrow’s selection in the first round of 2019. Another score with the best-available approach.
“I see it many times where you can fill in with free agency,” Simon said of addressing offseason situational needs. “I think when you’re in the draft, you’re trying to find someone that you can develop into a player because you’ve had him on contract for a few years or more. .
“So I’m always trying to find the best talent. It’s pretty hard to put them in order, you know, from 27 to 60, or 58 this year.”
So the board will go to the FTX Arena, which is the final rating of Simon and his staff followed by final workouts, interviews, video sessions, analytical breakdowns, internal debates.
At the top of the draft, the Heat could have gone both ways, with Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero all projected as elite candidates rising to power.
at number 27? Not so simple, a stage of the draft where the wing can air by spreading its wings extensively.
“Of course I’m trying to give an overall board and I look at it that way,” said Simon, the safest, and arguably most practical, three words of any draft evaluator, “the best player available. “
It worked with Adabio, Hero and, Wade and Karen Butler back in the day.
And again, not so much with Winslow, Achiuwa or even second-rounder KZ Okpala, whose rights were acquired at the expense of three future second-round selections.
“It’s not the exact science of drafting,” Simon said. “We’ve had a lot of success with what we like, and those that have moved on, whether they’re a business or not, you expect the best. Obviously we want them to hit, Otherwise you tell us how we missed the pick.
“So even if they go ahead, we’re all looking forward to pick the best player at that point in time. In the end, sometimes it’s situational, whether that player fits into your team or maybe doesn’t get the opportunity to play. And then maybe there’s another team that has a better position, or vice versa. Sometimes you don’t get the best of a player until they have another team or another contract.