The Miami Heat might be picking late in the first round (No. 26) of the 2014 NBA draft, but with this draft considered to be the deepest one in years, Pat Riley and Co. should still be able to get an impact player.
That's certainly great news for the Heat, as these NBA Finals have shown this team could really use some young, fresh faces on the floor next season.
We're going to take an in-depth look at three realistic options for Miami, breaking down each player's strengths and weaknesses and why they would be a success with the Heat.
Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut, 6'1", 180 lbs
There is no better option for Miami at No. 26 than Shabazz Napier.
First of all, the Heat would be wise to address the point guard position this offseason, considering free-agent-to-be Mario Chalmers' and Norris Cole's poor play throughout the postseason.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Napier's skill set is a great fit on this Miami team.
Napier is an elite three-point shooter, as he knocked down 40.5 percent of his attempts beyond the arc this past year. That's a crucial ability to have on the Heat, as they prefer to space the floor by surrounding LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with three shooters.
But Shabazz's offensive game goes beyond the outside shot. With his fantastic handles, Napier is able to find room and get his own shot whenever he wants. He averaged 18.0 points per game his senior year.
Although Napier is turnover-prone (2.9 per game last year), he still can create for others and is a capable distributor (4.9 APG). With his ability to get to the rim and the shooters who would be around him in Miami, he could be deadly in drive-and-kick situations.
Napier brings plenty of energy on the other end of the floor, routinely making life difficult for opposing ball-handlers and coming up with steals (1.8 SPG in 2013-14).
Additionally, Napier has all the intangibles a team could want from its point guard: He's tough, a great leader and someone who has routinely stepped up in important moments. With every single year of this era in Heat basketball being "championship or bust," grabbing the heart and soul of the 2014 NCAA champion makes a lot of sense.
There are real concerns about Napier's lack of top-tier athleticism and his sometimes ball-dominant ways. However, the positive aspects of his game far outweigh the negatives, and he represents a fantastic selection for Miami.
Cleanthony Early, F, Wichita State, 6'8", 219 lbs
With Cleanthony Early, the Heat would be getting a heck of an offensive weapon.
Early was one of the best scorers in college basketball this season, averaging 16.4 points on 48.4 percent shooting from the floor. While the former Shocker does plenty of his damage at the rim, he's also developed into an effective three-point shooter (37.5 3P% in 2013-14), which, as we've talked about, is very important on this Heat team.
Speaking of Miami's offensive characteristics, it is a squad that's at its most dangerous when it's in transition. An elite athlete, Early would make the Heat even more formidable when out on the break.
While it might be too kind to give Early the "big-game performer" label primarily because of one game, it's worth noting how dominant he was in his final college contest against a Kentucky squad full of NBA-caliber players. Early was the best player on the floor during the third-round NCAA tournament matchup, scoring 31 points (12-of-17 from the field, 4-of-6 from three) and grabbing seven rebounds.
Early's a bit of a tweener, but that's not such a bad thing on this Heat team. With Miami's non-traditional offense, the 23-year-old could be a contributor at both forward spots. Although, it's certainly fair to wonder how effective he will be guarding NBA-level power forwards, given his frame.
Still, with many of Miami's forwards aging and nearing retirement, an explosive athlete and floor-spacer like Early is needed.
Mitch McGary, C, Michigan, 6'10", 255 lbs
Mitch McGary projects as a high-energy player, someone who's going to run the court well and be helpful in transition, yet also willing to get physical and do the dirty work.
McGary's biggest skill might just come on the boards, where he grabbed 12.9 rebounds per 40 minutes in college. With Miami finishing dead last in team rebounds for two straight seasons, McGary's prowess on the glass would be a welcome addition.
On the offensive end, McGary can contribute in a number of different ways: He excels in pick-and-roll situations, cuts to the basket and putbacks after rebounds. In his short time at Michigan, he averaged 7.8 points and shot 58.8 percent from the floor.
Defensively, McGary didn't prove to be a great rim protector in college. However, his quickness could make him an asset in Miami's aggressive defensive scheme.
McGary may be viewed as a bit of a risk, as he played just 967 minutes in college due to an injury-plagued sophomore season. But given the skills he displayed in that short time, he's worth the gamble for Miami at No. 26.
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