2019 NBA Draft Grade for the Miami Heat
13th Pick: Tyler Herro
The Heat surprised quite a few people by selecting Tyler Herro with the 13th pick in the draft. The guard out of the University of Kentucky spent time at both the shooting guard and point guard positions, though he projects to be a shooting guard at the NBA level. He was originally projected to be taken in the latter half of the draft, so seeing him taken in the lottery was a surprise.
Herro’s best skill for the Heat will be his shooting. Given his free throw percentage and his smooth, quick release, he projects to be an elite shooter. Shooting has been an issue for the Heat over the past few years, one that got worse with the departures of Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder. Herro should be able to come in and occupy the same role, albeit at a younger age and cheaper price.
One of the biggest concerns about Herro is his defense. While the effort is certainly there, he only has a 6’3” wingspan and limited athleticism. In addition, he’ll need to put on some weight in order to body NBA level players. With that said, the Heat are the kind of organization that always gets their players in the best shape. Playing under coach Spoelstra will also improve his defense. So long as the effort remains, he shouldn’t be a huge liability on defense.
Overall, Herro brings plenty to the table and is worthy of his pick. While it wasn’t the kind of pick that gambles on a high upside player, it did address a key team need. Should Herro develop into a 3-and-D player, he’ll fit in well alongside Miami’s other young players.
32nd Pick: Kezie Okpala
After some draft night trading, the Heat moved up to the 32nd pick and took KZ Okpala. The second-year forward out of Stanford had an impressive year where he improved across the board in both per-game and advanced stats. Considering he was originally projected to be a mid to late first-round pick, getting him with the 32nd pick could be considered a steal.
Okpala’s greatest strength is his athleticism and the potential to grow into a two-way player. He’s a transition nightmare with his long strides, his array of moves, and over-the-top finishing. As he develops, he should be able to bring those same skills into the half-court. With his large 6’9” frame, 7’2” wingspan, and freakish athleticism, he has the tools to develop into an elite defender that can guard larger wings.
He does, though, have a few areas of development. His jump shot improved tremendously from his freshman to sophomore year but needs to continue improving in order to be a threat at the NBA level. While he had all the tools, he never quite had the defensive impact expected. Like with Herro, he’ll improve on defense under coach Spoelstra.
Like Herro, this pick did a good job of addressing a team need and is a steal for where he was selected. For a second-round pick, Okpala has a pretty good upside and a high floor. He’ll be a good fit alongside Miami’s ever-improving young core.
Miami Heat Final Draft Grade
The Miami Heat didn’t make any big splashy gambles, but by no means had a bad draft. With Herro and Okpala, they’ve addressed two team needs with young cheap players. It also helps that these young players complete the young core of Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Bam Adebayo. Miami is steadily building a young supporting cast that should be appealing for a big-name free agent to come in and lead to contention.
Final Grade: B
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