Analyzing options projected for the Heat at No. 27 in Thursday’s NBA draft, with the cases for 10 who could be the one – The Mercury News
There is no definitive No. 27 on the Miami Heat draft board at FTX Arena.
Oh, there are players the team would like to see at their No. 27 spot, with some currently ranked higher by their projection, others possibly lower by others.
But, mostly, No. 27 is a waiting game even for the league’s wisest guys.
But that hasn’t stopped the forecasting.
So who’s No. 27? Or, more to the point, who might be No. 27 if the Heat keep the pick in Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclays Center? Several projections offer intriguing case studies.
So where some of the mock drafts have the Heat going, with our analysis on those prospects.
Kennedy Chandler, guard, Tennessee (No. 27 currently in mock drafts by The Athletic, The Ringer, Stadium, NBADraftNet).
At 5-11 1/2, an undersized point guard who makes up for a lack of size with his speed and explosiveness off the dribble.
In his lone season at Tennessee, the 19-year-old averaged 13.8 points on .383 3-point shooting. He is a willing passer, with twice as many assists as turnovers.
If able to add muscle to his frame, a Heat specialty, he could emerge at least as a quality NBA backup.
With two more years remaining on Kyle Lowry’s deal, this could wind up as a direction worth exploration.
Dalen Terry, guard, Arizona (ESPN, USA Today).
The 19-year-old sophomore is somewhat of a prototypical 3-and-D player who has showcased more of an aptitude for the defensive part of that equation than the 3-point shooting.
At 6-7 with a wingspan of 7 feet, Terry could prove capable of defending point guards through power forwards, therefore meshing with Erik Spoelstra’s preference for position-less lineups.
Tasked with playing point guard at times, he proved more effective as a true wing. While he knocked down .365 of his 3-pointers this past season, he did it on just under two attempts per game.
Reloading at the wing certainly could be a worthwhile Heat pursuit.
Jaylin Williams, forward, Arkansas (CBSSports).
A defensive-minded big, Williams attempted to mold his game towards a more modern style this past season at Arkansas, with the attributes of a backup center or rotational power forward.
The 6-10 sophomore moves fluidly in space, has good hands, and is just as good defending on-ball as he is as a helpside defender. Offensively, Williams’ bulk and ability to handle allows him to create his own space or take it into the chest of his defender.
Add a little bit more range to his shot and Williams could find a place in an NBA rotation.
Jaden Hardy, guard, G League (SB Nation, Basketball News).
At the start of the season, you would have seen Hardy somewhere in the lottery range in mock drafts, sometimes even in the Top 10.
The former five-star prospect took his talents to the G League Ignite team and struggled as a volume scorer against pro competition in his first year out of high school. During the G League Showcase, Hardy averaged 17.7 points, but did it on .351 from the field and .269 on 3-pointers.
At 6-5 with a 6-9 wingspan, he has the ideal frame for a shooting guard in today’s game, but he’ll need to figure out what exactly his speciality will be at the next level.
Could be an option if the Heat seek a flat-out bucket getter, perhaps if the anticipation is of moving Tyler Herro in a trade.
MarJon Beauchamp, forward, G League (Bleacher Report, Barstool Sports).
Beauchamp is one of the bigger projects in the first round, a versatile defender, standing at 6-6 with a 7-foot wingspan who brings exceptional athleticism.
Offensively, there’s a lot to be desired in terms of shooting, mechanics and creating his own space. Beauchamp knocked down just .242of his 3-pointers at G League Showcase and averaged as many assists per game as turnovers.
Beauchamp’s physical attributes and raw potential are intriguing, but there’s still a lot to fix within his game.
Such a move by the Heat would be with the long view in mind.
Kendall Brown, forward, Baylor (HoopsHype, NBA Draft Room).
If Brown falls to No. 27, the Heat might have found a diamond in the rough.
The 6-7 wing showed flashes last season of a player who can take over games with his 3-point shooting and ability to manufacture space for his own shot. Brown does a phenomenal job using his wide frame to create room inside and has a silky smooth jumper from mid-range and beyond the arc.
On the other end of the floor, Brown is more than capable of defending three through five with his 6-11 wingspan and an 8-foot-7 standing reach.
The issue with Brown is his motor. At times, he looks like a player who can get a bucket by any means necessary. Other times, he can wait for the offense to come his way. The Heat have had uneven results with such prospects.
Jake LaRavia, forward, Wake Forest (Sports Illustrated).
LaRavia presents an opportunity to add a wing with 6-foot-7 size who can do more than just knock down 3s in the corner.
While the Wake Forest product shot over 38% from 3 in two of his three seasons with the Demon Deacons, it was his passing and playmaking at times that stood out the most. He averaged just under four assists during his junior year at Wake Forest and has exceptional vision for a player on the wing.
This could be a Heat case of seeking a player with ready-now skills, should neither Victor Oladipo nor Caleb Martin return.
Blake Wesley, guard, Notre Dame (24/7 Sports).
Arriving at Notre Dame as a relatively unheralded recruit, Wesley popped onto the scene in South Bend as a volume scorer who used his length and athleticism to breeze by slower guards and finish over and around taller forwards and centers.
While the 6-foot-3 freshman had no issue getting buckets with the Fighting Irish, it wasn’t always in the most efficient manner. In 35 collegiate games, Wesley shot just .404 from the field and .303 from the arc. He also posted just 2.4 assists to 2.2 turnovers per game.
If Wesley wants to become an effective guard at the next level, he needs to play a little less recklessly and become more than just an iso scorer, an aspect where the Heat developmental program could assist.
E.J. Liddell, forward, Ohio State (Fox Sports).
When evaluating a prospect, the term “tweener” can be a bit worrisome. E.J. Liddell falls into the “tweener’ category, making it tough to project what exactly he is at the NBA level.
At Ohio State, he was a power forward/center who consistently knocked down between 35% and 40% of his 3-pointers and passed well from the top of the key and the two blocks. At 6-7, the 21-year-old sophomore will more than likely need to transform into more of a wing than the power role he played at Ohio State.
If Liddell maximizes his ability to knock down 3-pointers at a high clip, continues to dominate the offensive glass, and keeps improving as a passer, he potentially could more or less be what Grant Williams is for the Celtics.
A possible complement to Bam Adebayo?
Trevor Keels, guard, Duke (Sporting News).
Keels is a player that could have greatly benefited from another year of college, but clearly had the NBA on his mind from the minute he stepped on Duke’s campus.
A stout shooting guard at 6-4, 224 pounds who does a lot of things well, but isn’t great at anything specific, Keels averaged 11.5 points in his lone season with the Blue Devils, but did it on .419 from the field and .312 from beyond the arc.
With Keels, you get a strong, athletic combo guard who is way more comfortable scoring with the ball in his hands than he is spread out along the wing. He will have to either transform into a true point guard or become a much better 3-point shooter for his game to translate at the NBA level.
Then again, for the Heat, this is the type of risk-reward often found in the No. 27 range of the draft.
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