Jackson said that Clarke is “one of about 10 players in the mix” for the Heat’s 13th overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft. For what it’s worth, Jackson said last week that Miami would prefer to draft a wing player in the draft, but would take a big if that’s who is the best available option.
Now, Clarke will probably be drafted somewhere around the Heat’s No. 13. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony currently has Clarke being drafted 14th overall to the Boston Celtics. The Ringer’s mock draft has him hearing his name called with the 11th pick.
Clarke is known for his defensive wit and skill, and that may be what has drawn Miami’s interest. According to The Ringer’s profile of him, he “plays his ass off. Makes the extra effort, attacks the offensive boards, dives for loose balls and hustles back in transition.” Looking at other players Miami has worked out, I’ve noted that Pat Riley may look to draft the next Udonis Haslem for his team. The longtime Heat power forward and all-time team leader in rebounds is contemplating retirement. Clarke could become that player for the next iteration of the Heat, provided he develops a 3-point shot.
But after drafting Bam Adebayo in 2017, should the Heat draft another big — especially in the new NBA? As I’ve mentioned before, the Heat’s apparent willingness to draft a power forward signals that Miami may look to trade James Johnson, who still has two years left on his deal. Could Riley possibly look to overhaul his perimeter player rotation via trades, and have young players like Adebayo, Derrick Jones Jr. and Clarke supporting that infusion of talent?
A new report says that the Heat will be active participants in trade discussions this year.
In the last three seasons, the Miami Heat have missed the playoffs twice. The one year Miami made the postseason, in 2018, the Philadelphia 76ers dispatched the Heat in five games.
It should come as no surprise that Pat Riley isn’t satisfied with those results. And according to a new Barry Jackson article in the Miami Herald, Riley will be active this summer in pursuing potential trades. Jackson said that an NBA official who has had conversations with Heat executives said that “everything is on the table.” No player is untouchable.
NEW: Some feedback from NBA people who have spoken to the Heat's front office this offseason, with regard to what Miami is trying to achieve this summer: https://t.co/yMwnI3nCfm
For my part, I hope Riley exercises caution in trades. As I’ve stated before, how good would Miami be if the Heat pulled off the trade for Jimmy Butler last October and gave up Adebayo and Josh Richardson for the 6-foot-8 former Marquette standout?
Now, Butler is far better than anyone currently wearing a Miami uniform. But he’s a couple notches below Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who were just battling in the Eastern Conference Finals. And without solid role players like Adebayo and Richardson around Butler, Miami would probably be no better than a middling playoff team in the East.
The Heat need a collection of young players to attract stars, not to simply trade them away.
And moreover, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reported that the Heat have scheduled a private workout with 6-foot-8 Kentucky forward PJ Washington. And the team also plans to bring in Kentucky guard Tyler Herro for a workout, he said.
NEW: A fresh 6-pack of Heat nuggets, including more draft visits schedule; plus Heat updates concerning Nassir Little, Romeo Langford, Dewan Hernandez, more: https://t.co/H2cNoXh6R0
Barry Jackson also reported that Simon and Heat general manager Andy Elisburg saw UNC swingman Nassir Little in a Las Vegas workout on Monday and that Little “remains in play” for the Heat’s first-round pick. Little and Porter Jr. would be my top picks for Miami’s selection. Both have the potential to become solid 3-and-D guys to complement Winslow, Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo.
Jones Jr. has great hands and timing, plus the elite speed to arrive at the rim before help defenders get there.
Richardson delivering the basketball to Waiters or Jones Jr. in a timely manner could be something he would excel at.
Regarding his attempt at isolation scoring last season, Richardson trailed far behind Kelly Olynyk (95% percentile) and Goran Dragic (92% percentile), who were in the top 10% of NBA iso men.
TEAMWORK ESSENTIAL FOR HEAT’S SUCCESS
Richardson thrives best in a team environment where he and his teammates work together in a coordinated fashion, rather than being the focus of attention, i.e. leading man.
Richardson at 26 years old this upcoming season, plus Winslow at 23, Jones Jr. and Bam Adebayo at 22, even Waiters at 27, are young enough to implement a pass and shoot game that catches defenses leaving a man open for an efficient look.
Richardson’s growth in spotting open men, not necessarily dribbling the ball up the court, has quietly improved with experience and will only get better as he reaches the prime of his playing days.
The point man may initiate an action, but Richardson has a knack for becoming the middlemen who sets up the eventual scorer.
”Our communication, scheme, switching, blitzing, our rotations, contesting shots, all those things have been growing here since the start of the playoffs,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “The other thing is there are some moments, like stretches -- we call them consecutive stops -- and there are some stretches where it’s darned hard to complete a pass against us. That wears into a team after a while when you’re up into them and you’re denying, and everybody is just that connected and playing that hard.”
The first word he used was communication, that is, having the mental skills at the next level trumps the physical traits (both are necessary though) at the professional level.
Number one picks like Andrew Wiggins have all the physical tools in world, but if they can’t communicate effectively on a NBA level they’ll go no further than their physical talents will ever take them.
Looking at how tall Raptors’ players are questions the concept of positionless basketball promoted by the Boston Celtics.
Raptors rotation by minutes played and height in the last game.
Perhaps Bam Adebayo could make the quantum leap to leader of the pack soon.
As for the June 20 NBA draft, finding a star NBA professional among the talented amateur hopefuls means going beyond video clips of teenagers to select a man who understands basketball at the world-class level.
Pat Riley could have some surprises in store in June and July, because the rise of the Raptors and Bucks emphasize the NBA has many elite athletes, but the playoffs separate the men from the boys.
“Athleticism and size for his primary position which is currently not PG. Mooney is small and not very quick or explosive. Techs help defense really covered for Mooney if he was ever beat off the bounce, so its hard to full evaluate whether he’d be a liability against a court full of elite athletes. He’d be a 6’3 wing 3 and D prospect. Although he is long -which obviously compensates to some degree- he is competing against the “mold” of super athletic 6’5+ guys with the same or greater wingspan.”
“As I said I think that he has enough athleticism, rare mental talent to be a great defender with the potential to become an elite pro shooter with NBA IQ. But Mooneys profile is not one that normally gets you drafted. I think he is a very unique player and that may scare off some GM’s, looking to trim down the list of targets.”
“The Red Raider guard turned heads in the Final Four when he lit up Michigan State for 22 points on 50% shooting. This was the game that he believed got him to this opportunity. “Even though I had a solid regular season at Tech, I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that performance in the Final Four,” Mooney stated.”
His off-court choices display his maturity and high character.
“Currently, Matt, along with a group of fellow draft hopefuls, is being trained by NBA trainer, Phil Beckner in Phoenix, Arizona. Beckner is best known to be Portland Trailblazer’s all-star guard Damian Lillard’s, main trainer. Mooney and the others have multiple workouts a day and learn firsthand what it takes from a training standpoint to make it to the league.”
Damian Lillard Working on The Shot with Trainer Phil Beckner - YouTube
“Over the years, Beckner prodded Lillard’s perfectionist tendencies by demanding what the two call “high-quality makes.” If Lillard’s shot hit the rim before going in or if his body mechanics were off, the shots wouldn’t count. During an average day early in his pro career, Lillard would sink 700 or more “high-quality” makes during twice-daily sessions.”
“Lillard has worked with Beckner for a decade, and he hired the former Boise State associate head coach last summer as his full-time adviser. Beckner tracks all of Lillard’s three-point attempts during the season, grading each on a numbered scale based on factors such as degree of difficulty, mechanics and the time/score situation.”
Lillard’s “logo-shots” came from a commitment to a well-defined purpose.
“In fact, Lillard’s shot was the culmination of 12 months of intense and purposeful work with Phil Beckner, his longtime player development trainer, and Ben Kenyon, the Blazers’ sports performance coach. The three men decided at the beginning of last summer that extending Lillard’s range was their offseason priority. The goals were simple: to give Lillard a weapon that could stretch opposing defenses past the breaking point, and to prepare Lillard’s mind, body and shooting stroke for a moment just like the closing seconds of Game 5.”
“Those situations are handled way before the time comes,” Lillard said. “In the summer, when you truly prepare yourself with training and conditioning. When you cheat yourself, you fail in those moments and crash. When you really put the time in, it always comes to light.”
Thomas falsely claimed Erik Spoelstra was a rookie coach when James first joined the Miami Heat.
Appearing on the Fox Sports program First Things First, Isiah Thomas said that the NBA has “failed” LeBron James because he never played for an established coach. He even falsely claimed that Erik Spoelstra was a rookie coach when James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010. In fact, Spoelstra’s first year as a head coach was the 2008-09 season.
"This is where the NBA and our league has truly failed LeBron James: every place he's gone, they've always given him either a first year coach or someone they were experimenting with. LeBron James has never had the benefit of Hall of Fame coaches." — @IsiahThomaspic.twitter.com/nhR1mHPpoe
The notion that James always played for a rookie coach or someone the franchise was “experimenting with” is just flat wrong. Then in his mid-60s, Pat Riley named Spoelstra as his hand-picked successor. Here’s part of what he said in Spoelstra’s April 2008 introductory press conference:
I believe Erik Spoelstra is one of the most talented young coaches to come around in a long time. This game is now about younger coaches who are technologically skilled, innovative and bring fresh new ideas. That’s what we feel we are getting with Erik Spoelstra. He’s a man that was born to coach.”
Does that sound like someone Riley is just “experimenting with?” When he was named as head coach of the Heat, Spoelstra had just completed his 13th season on the Miami staff. In no way does that situation resemble the Cleveland Cavaliers hiring David Blatt in June 2014, just weeks before James signed with the Cavaliers.
Riley said that he was never interested in coming back to coach (as he did in 2005, replacing Stan Van Gundy), and that he told James as much. In the midst of a March 2011 five-game losing streak, Riley responded to rumors of Spoelstra’s firing — “Write it off. Write it off. It’s the media being neurotic.”
Now, I have criticized Spoelstra’s decision-making in several recaps on this Web site. I’ve talked about how he’s a better defensive coach than offensive one. But every single NBA coach has made mistakes.
So could Miami have done better than two championships in four years than Spoelstra did? My bet is no. Spoelstra missed opportunities to counter Rick Carlisle’s moves in the 2011 NBA Finals — including insisting on starting Mike Bibby over Mario Chalmers and playing an injured Mike Miller over James Jones — but Miami lost that series because LeBron James didn’t play well. Chris Bosh averaged more points per game than James in that Finals. James couldn’t even post up J.J. Barea.
The Heat assistant coach will rejoin his alma mater as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines basketball team.
Juwan Howard is a Michigan legend. One of they key members of the famed “Fab Five”, Howard electrified audiences alongside Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson as a student. Now he’ll be rejoining his Alma Mater, but this time as head coach as reported by Miami Heat Beat. He’ll replace John Beilein who left the Wolverines last week to join the Cavaliers.
It’s no secret that Howard was ready for head coaching role, he’d interviewed for a few vacant NBA head coaching positions in recent years. Howard has been a beloved assistant coach by Heat players, and by all indications a key contributor in Miami’s player development. His absence will be felt immediately. Rumours say Udonis Haslem could be considered as a replacement, but it’s too early to tell.
Hopefully Juwan is able to bring some of the Heat Culture to the Michigan locker room.
The Heat met with some players who are projected to go later in the first round.
The Miami Heat met with some prospects at the NBA Draft Combine last week. And some of them — like Tennessee forward Grant Williams and Purdue point guard Carsen Edwards — are projected to go after the Heat’s 13th pick in the draft.
Does that mean the Heat are thinking of trading their pick and moving downward in the draft? First, let’s start with a couple players Miami met with.
The Ringer projects the 6-foot-8 Grant Williams to be drafted with the 17th overall pick, labeling him as a “high-IQ defender,” an “instinctual rebounder who boxes out” and someone who will “take a charge or dive for a loose ball.” Pat Riley may hope he can emerge as the prototypical glue guy for a championship team and provide the toughness that Udonis Haslem brought for so many years — but with a 3-point shot.
Grant Williams: 2019 March Madness highlights - YouTube
The Ringer projects Carsen Edwards going 27th. (Of note, the Brooklyn Nets have both the 17 and 27th overall picks — could the Heat trade the 13th pick for the 17th and 27th ones?) He is barely 6 feet tall, something that could make him a liability on defense. In an ideal world, he would become an instant offense guard off the bench with his shooting ability.
Highlights: Carsen Edwards Declares for 2019 NBA Draft | Purdue | B1G Basketball - YouTube
But in a not-ideal world? The Ringer actually compares Edwards to Shabazz Napier, whom Miami traded up in the 2014 NBA Draft to get. But Napier disappointed in his rookie season with the Heat, and Miami traded him after just one year.
Are Heat executives dissatisfied with the players in their range? Of course, Miami could simply be doing their due diligence, meeting with various players to see how players’ stock will rise and fall until draft night. The Heat don’t have a second-round pick in this June’s draft; Riley may want to see if he can trade into the second round for a player he likes. He did that for Mario Chalmers in 2008.
We never know who pans out in the NBA Draft — at least after the first few picks. Draymond Green was taken with the 35th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Heat had the 27th pick that year, coming off an NBA championship. Miami even brought in Greenfor a workout.