With talk of Pat Riley possibly returning to the bench and the possible defection of Dwyane Wade this summer, Miami will be going through one of the toughest summers in its short history. Let’s take a look at who’s coming back and what the draft can offer the Heat.
Returning Players- Michael Beasley (PF); Daequan Cook (SG); Mario Chalmers (PG); James Jones (SF, Team Option); Dwyane Wade (SG, Player Option)
Team Payroll (5 Players, assuming Wade) – $24,281,339
Estimated Salary Cap – $56,000,000
Team Needs- Make sure to re-sign Wade; Big-man presence; Depth at all positions
Position Needs – PG, SF, PF, C
Picks – 1st Round (#18); 2nd Round (#41, 42, 48)
Analysis- Another team, another major free agent decision and a lot of cap room. Obviously, Miami’s Plan A is to re-sign Wade and add a running mate to go with him out of the top tier group. Barring that, they need to ensure that they at least get Wade signed to a long-term deal and surround him with an improved cast. Having 4 picks in this deep draft should help towards reaching that goal. In the first round, the #18 slot will give them a few different options to pursue. With the front-court needing some upgrading, it may be best to concentrate on those players for now. Luke Babbitt would be a great addition at this spot – a small-forward who has a big enough body to help Michael Beasley down low, but is also another scoring option for a team that needs it. There is a possibility that Devin Ebanks will also be available at this position and he also would be a good fit, an athletic wing who can provide options for the offense. The 2nd round picks can be used to create depth at the guard and forward position, or looking for a big man for the middle. If they want to go the big man route, they could get a shot at Art Parakhouski or Jarvis Varnado at the #41 slot. While offensive skills from their big man would be nice, they really need a rebounding/defensive presence and both of these players fit the bill. At their 2 remaining picks, they can look to add depth by securing SG Dominique Jones at the #41/#42 slot. While some think he is a first rounder, I am not as high on him, and see him as nothing more a nice spark off the bench, but doesn’t do anything well enough to play long minutes. Another good option would be a back-up point guard/potential replacement such as Armon Johnson. Again, their last pick could be used to pick up some more depth and can look to some of these players who may be available: Jerome Dyson, Mikhail Torrence, or in the front court, a player such as A.J. Ogilvie or Jerome Jordan. Last possibility – there is always the option of packaging the 2nd round picks to add another 1st round pick. With a team that needs so much, there really isn’t a wrong way to approach ths draft, and I am sure Pat Riley will add some good pieces here
Come back tomorrow for a look at Canada’s favorite team – The Toronto Raptors. Make sure to leave any questions or comments and I will address them.