Where Are Miami Heat's Top Draft Picks from Past 5 Years Now?
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The Miami Heat's free-agency success in recent years almost makes you forget they've actually drafted talent in the past few seasons. Newsflash: They drafted a guy who might be the most frustrating big-time college prospect in recent memory and a pair of young guards who quickly became assets on a two-time championship squad.
It's crazy to look back and see how far (or not that far) Miami's draft picks have come, and while LeBron James' infamous "Decision" brought Miami from rebuild mode to contender overnight, people forget that, for a time, Miami was supposed to be rejuvenated by a very talented freshman from Kansas State University.
B-Easy isn't the only draft prospect, however, but he's among our "Where are they now?" list of Miami Heat draft picks that should be accounted for.
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The sports media always love to talk about this angle after championship games—the one rookie who happened to be on the title-winning squad after just one season.
Well, let's use that same cliche when we talk about Norris Cole, one of Miami's top draft picks in recent years. After some draft night drama, Cole ended up in a Heat uniform playing alongside two of the greatest wing players in the game's history fresh out of college.
Oh yeah, and he had the terrible misfortune of getting drafted by a team that plays in a city that's 80 degrees 10 months out of year with picturesque beaches. Man, what a tough predicament.
During his rookie season, Cole averaged 6.8 points and 2.0 assists. Yeah, hardly anything impressive, but not bad for a rookie on a team that already had a solid backup point guard (don't worry, he's on this list too) and Dwyane Tyrone Wade.
At this point, Cole is still far, far away from being a floor general. He's still that guy who brings the ball up, dribbles around for a couple seconds before dishing the ball off, but he's a phenomenal floormate for Wade and LeBron James.
Cole is athletic, not Vince Carter in his prime athletic, not even Eric Bledsoe athletic, but he's terrific running baseline to baseline in transition and he's savvy enough to deliver precise passes to a streaking LBJ for highlight-type dunks.
He's a nifty mid-range shooter, and he's not bad from beyond the arc, especially recently when he shot 35.7 percent just this past season.
Norris is also a tough-minded defender who isn't afraid of contact, and while he's sometimes a little overeager to attempt soft layups in traffic, you have to admire his mindset to never back down on either side of the floor.
In decades to come, Cole might be lost in the legend of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as far as Heat championships are concerned, but the young man has come to play time and time again.
The Heat essentially got the perfect teammate to pair with any of their top-tier personnel, and he's without question one of the Heat's best picks in recent memory.
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Mario Chalmers will probably go down as that cool role player guy that didn't do anything at a masterful level, but it was his mindset combined with the few things he brings to the table that made him a standout player.
Super Mario, as he is affectionately known by some fans, arrived in Miami along with another high-profile draft pick, and he along with said high-profile draft pick were expected to usher in a new era for the Heat. During his rookie year, Heat fans got acclimated to what he was capable of doing.
Immediately, Mario proved to be multi-talented rookie. His talents included his penchant for exceptional "gamesmanship", his ability to play the passing lanes and poke his way to steals and knocking down open three-pointers. He's not a phenomenal floor general by any means, but with guys like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, he was never expected to assume that role.
He's great off cuts, and at this point in his career, he's developed a nice little floater that rattles its way in from time to time if he has a lane. He isn't an incredible defender, but he, like Norris Cole, is the perfect auxiliary player on a team like the Heat.
He doesn't need to the ball in his hands to make an impact and he's a nice running mate for Miami's bigger wings in transition.
Don't leave him open though—Mario's three-point percentage last season hovered at a solid 40.9 percent, and while at times he can get cold, his ability to hit shots in rhythm from atop the key in transition can be devastating.
With a pairing of Chalmers and Cole, Miami has one of the best one-two punches in the league as far as their point guard spot is concerned, and hopefully for the 305's sake, Super Mario will remain a fixture for years to come.
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In recent years, there have been two famous Dexters that happened to be residents of the great city of Miami.
Dexter Morgan, a fictional character on a not so family friendly TV show, and Dexter Pittman, a basketball player of Miami Heat semi-fame.
Add Dexter (no, not the more famous one) to the list of Miami Heat projects that never panned out.
Pittman was a little-risk, little-reward type of asset. He came out of college overweight, and it was his NBA-capable body and size that attracted suitors at the next level, Miami in particular. The Heat have had trouble in recent years acquiring dependable size, so when the opportunity to select Pittman presented itself, it was s no surprise that Miami took a shot.
Pittman proved to be relatively useless, however.
He never developed much of an offensive game, and aside from his rebounding ability, he lacked the hands needed to be a solid player from the jump. Even at this point in his career, he's still extremely raw.
You can bet he really misses his days as a highly-paid courtside observer, and you can also bet not too many people from Miami miss him all that much.
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While his reputation around the league is relatively low-key, Jarvis Varnado has the potential to be a promising draft prospect for Miami; he's one of the more recent ones, as well.
Varnado is essentially a younger, cheaper version of Joel Anthony. The aforementioned Anthony is very limited offensively, but he's a hustler, a shot-blocker and understands his role—in essence, he's a solid role player you'd expect to have on any squad at this level.
Jarvis, like Anthony, possesses a lot of the same abilities, but so far he hasn't be able to prove his worth in the league. His stats might as well be nonexistent—well, for the NBA at least.
In the D-League, however, Varnado has established himself as a 14.5 points per game, 9.9 rebounds per game guy with 3.4 blocks thrown in.
So clearly the Joel Anthony parallel is there, but it remains to be seen if he'll ever get enough PT to be worth anything more than a prospect you keep stashed in the D-League.
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Without question, there hasn't been a more talented and more disappointing prospect drafted by the Miami Heat in the past five years than Michael Beasley.
A native of the great state of Maryland, Mr. Beasley came out of Kansas State University as an offensive monster. He could shoot jumpers with either hand, finish at the rim with either hand, snatch boards, shoot up close and from afar and was athletic.
His incredible talent and skill explains how he averaged 26.2 points per game with 12.4 boards as a freshman at KSU.
Leading up to the draft, there were murmurs about him being shorter than anticipated and questions of character, the latter of which has led to depressingly tough times off the court for Michael.
Around the time of the 2008 NBA draft, some scouts actually had Beasley as the No. 1 pick, but as we all know, Derrick Rose was picked first overall by the Chicago Bulls and Mike B was selected second by the Miami Heat.
Before he played a single game of ball for the Heat, Beasley, along with fellow rookie Mario Chalmers, were already getting into trouble.
Prior to the 2008-09 season, Beasley was expected to help a horrifically bad Miami Heat squad turn things around after a season spent with the likes of Blake Ahearn, Luke Jackson and Chris Quinn. He was expected to form an athletic trio that included D Wade, Shawn Marion and himself, but it never quite panned out that way.
Beasley and Wade never meshed, and Beasley wasn't a phenomenal passer, so it was either score or miss with every trip.
There were flashes of greatness here and there, but for every 20 and 10 game there were those nights he couldn't do anything on either end. Defensively, he was an extreme liability, and his inability to break out talent-wise caused great frustration with fans expecting him to make an instant impact.
After the Heat dealt with Beasley for two seasons, he was shipped away to Minnesota prior to LBJ's inaugural campaign with Miami.
Beasley then signed a contract with the Phoenix Suns, his current squad. Looking back on Beasley's time with Miami, it's apparent he has still failed to find his niche at the next level. Without question, Beasley might be one of the greatest talents the game has ever seen in recent memory but flat out cannot figure it out.
He currently averages 10.1 points and nearly four boards for the Suns, hardly what you'd expect from a second overall draft pick in his fifth year. But hey, busts happen.
Whether he'll ever get past his demons remains to be seen, but there are still some fans from Miami that occasionally ponder on what could've been had he panned out long-term for the Heat.