The Miami Heat may not have originally had any picks in this year’s NBA draft, but the reigning league champions managed to make a late move and pick up Long Beach State standout, forward James Ennis.
On top of Ennis, Miami will also likely bring in a few undrafted free agents to training camp this fall.
It’s a long shot that any of these players would end up making the Heat’s roster, especially with Miami’s current financial situation and the impending chaos that is free agency 2014.
However, if any organization knows that undrafted free agents can wind up being diamonds in the rough, it’s Miami. South Florida native and former Florida Gator Udonis Haslem went undrafted in the 2002 NBA draft, but has had a fulfilling career in his hometown.
Haslem recently picked up his third ring with the Heat’s second title in as many years.
Chris Andersen, another fan favorite on Miami’s roster, was also undrafted when he failed to sign up for the NBA draft in 1999. Andersen was an integral piece in the Heat’s road to their second consecutive title this past season.
Getting back to now, these are a few names that would make sense for the Heat to give a shot in training camp this fall.
Michael Snaer, G, Florida State
Michael Snaer is a 6’5’’ shooting guard out of Florida State in Tallahassee. However, when I say Miami should take a chance with Snaer, I’m not necessarily thinking of him in the prototypical shooting guard role.
Snaer comes from an elite defensive program in Tallahassee, and it’s well known Miami views its defense as a cornerstone to its success as an organization. On top of that, Snaer’s game is built off his athleticism, which also fits perfectly into the Heat’s culture.
If those two qualities make Snaer sound like a quality fit for Miami, take into account that he creates most of his offense by catching and shooting from deep. This type of player is exactly what LeBron James and the Heat want in order to stretch the floor and play their style of small ball.
Oh, and whenever Snaer is discussed, you have to touch on his knack for coming up big in the clutch. The video below says it all.
Zeke Marshall, C, Akron
Clearly, the one weakness for Miami is found down low in the paint. As a team that makes its living off playing small, the Heat paid the price this year on the boards and defensively against teams with size on the block.
Zeke Marshall out of Akron, though yet to prove he has the ability to produce offensively at the level the NBA demands, does have the potential to be a presence down low, especially defensively.
Standing at 7’, Marshall has a 7’5’’ wingspan and has what scouts call “legit” center size.
Marshall averaged 13 points, five rebounds and nearly four blocks per game over his collegiate career, while shooting over 65 percent from the floor.
C.J. Leslie, F, North Carolina State
Why wouldn’t you invite C.J. Leslie to training camp?
This is a kid who just a few years ago was talked about as a sure-fire lottery pick. At 6’9’’, he has great length; he definitely has NBA athleticism and there’s no doubt the potential for stardom is there.
Leslie averaged 15 points, a little more than seven rebounds and roughly one assist per game this past season with the Wolfpack.
He might not (and probably won’t) ever be an all-star in this league, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to give him a shot.
And on Miami’s end, it’s no secret Shane Battier is pondering retirement in the near future, James Jones is likely on his last go around and Udonis Haslem won’t be around forever, either. In other words, there will be space open on Miami’s roster for forwards not too far down the road.
Leslie has the ability to bolster Miami’s presence on the boards, contribute on defense and fit into the Heat’s athletic offense.