Miami Heat

NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and the 5 Best Options for the Miami Heat

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2011

NBA Draft 2011: Nolan Smith and the 5 Best Options for the Miami Heat

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    MIAMI - JULY 09:  Head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) and President Pat Riley (R)  of the Miami Heat talk during a press conference after a welcome party for new teammates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in M
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    After losing in the NBA Finals Sunday night, the Miami Heat now have all eyes on the 2011 NBA Draft.

    Whether they want to add a consistent scorer at center or depth in the backcourt, Miami has a few holes to fill before next season rolls around.

    Without a first round pick, Miami will have to address these needs with one pick to kick off the second round.

    In a draft lacking a superstar and being termed as weak by some, the Heat may not be able to select an immediate contributor. However, with Miami's current talent, they can afford to take a chance on a project.

    Here are five players the Heat should be taking a look at with pick number 31:

Reggie Jackson, G, Boston College

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    MINNEAPOLIS - MARCH 20:  Reggie Jackson #0 of the Boston College Eagles attempts a shot against the USC Trojans during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on March 20, 2009 in Minneapolis,
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Reggie Jackson could provide depth in the Miami backcourt right away.

    Jackson can play both shooting guard and point guard. He was more of a scorer in college, but his point guard skills are there and can still be improved upon.

    At 6'3'', Jackson has the height and athleticism that will thrive in the more wide-open NBA style of play. He does struggle with his shot at times, but with some work, he could develop into a fine shooter at the next level.

    With Mike Bibby's expiring contract, look for Miami to address the backcourt through the draft.

    Jackson may be a project, but his upside is worth it. With the versatility to play either backcourt position, look for the Miami front office to be very high on the Boston College product.

Keith Benson, C, Oakland

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    TULSA, OK - MARCH 18:  Keith Benson #34 of the Oakland Golden Grizzlies goes up for a shot against Alexis Wangmene #20 of the Texas Longhorns during the second round game of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 18, 2011 in Tuls
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Keith Benson would give the Miami Heat the true center they desperately need.

    With an array of post moves and the ability to knock down the fifteen foot jumpshot, Benson could be a consistent offensive threat for Miami in the coming years.

    A lack of strength is a concern, but his rebounding and shot blocking ability have been proven to be above average.

    Benson does struggle with defense on the perimeter, but that issue can be fixed with some work.

    Bottom line: Benson could be a scorer down low for Miami. This would allow Bosh to move around more, and not force Miami to look to Joel Anthony for scoring.

Malcolm Lee, G, UCLA

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    TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19:  Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators attempts a shot against Malcolm Lee #3 of the UCLA Bruins during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Florid
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Malcolm Lee, like Reggie Jackson, has the versatility that could help Miami next season.

    A great defender, Lee is still developing his game on the offensive end.

    Standing at 6'5'', Lee is big for his position, and that could provide for even better defense at the next level.

    Lee never hit his full potential under Ben Howland at UCLA, but playing for a fast break offensive team could cover up his weak outside shot. He has the athleticism to get into the open court and create his own shot at the rim.

    If the Heat want a dynamite offensive player, Lee may not be their guy. But if the Heat want an excellent on-the-ball defender who still has some upside, they should take Lee.

Jeremy Tyler, C, Tokyo Apache

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    Jeremy Tyler is a project, but could be worth it to start the second round.

    A great athlete, Tyler decided to forgo college after high school. Instead, Tyler first went to play professional basketball in Israel, and then played in Japan this past season.

    Tyler averaged almost ten points per game while playing for the Tokyo Apache and appears to be on the rise in this years draft.

    While some view Tyler's decision to skip college to go overseas as immature, his talent is hard to deny.

    The Heat could use an athlete in the paint, especially a potential scoring threat.

    With the talent the Heat already have, they can afford to take a chance on a project in Jeremy Tyler, just in case it pays off.

Nolan Smith, G, Duke

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24:  Nolan Smith #2 of the Duke Blue Devils shoot the ball over Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anahe
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Nolan Smith will not wow you with flashy plays, but he is the consummate leader.

    Smith possesses an above average perimeter shot, and while he may not be able to take defenders off the dribble at the next level, he is smart enough to make it work.

    On the defensive end, Smith is a tireless worker who can be trusted to lock down his man.

    Smith is caught in between both guard positions. He has the mentality of a point guard, but the play making ability of a shooting guard.

    After losing in the NBA Finals, the Heat need winners. Nolan Smith is a winner after four great years at Duke, which includes one NCAA Championship in 2009.

    Smith would be a great teammate and could develop into a great leader on the right team.

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