Our final mock draft round-up is here!
IT’S DRAFT DAY!!!
The 2022 NBA Draft has arrived!!!
The Miami Heat will be selecting No. 27 overall, barring any draft-night trade either out of the draft or into the second-round. They will hopefully be adding to an already strong core that finished first in the Eastern Conference at 53-29 and came one game away from an NBA Finals berth.
As of right now, No. 27 overall will be their only pick, as there will be 58 picks instead of 60 this year due to Miami and the Milwaukee Bucks having to forfeit their 2022 second-round picks as a result of tampering.
For my first mock draft roundup, click here; for my second, click here. Once again, I sifted through several mock drafts to see who the experts project the Heat selecting, should they keep their pick. Though team evaluators will inevitably change their thoughts on nearly every player between now and 10 or so hours from now, so nothing is certain! Anything is on the table!
Without further ado, let’s jump into our third and final mock draft round-up!
Sam Vecenie, The Athletic: Bryce McGowens, G, Nebraska
McGowens’ value as a prospect is all about what he could be, not what he is yet. He was great to close the season at Nebraska, but he still didn’t shoot well despite solid mechanics. He’s skinny, but he tries to play a physical brand of basketball. He can create off the bounce at 6-foot-7. It might take some time for him early in his career as he works through his passing reads and gets stronger, but he’s an interesting upside flier for teams to take, given his size as a potential on-ball player. The Heat are as strong a developmental organization as any in the NBA, so getting their hands on a guy like McGowens could pay off down the road. His range is somewhere 20 to 40.
John Hollinger, The Athletic: Justin Lewis, F, Marquette
While I don’t expect the Heat to move this pick, it could end up in play in scenarios where Miami moves Duncan Robinson and multiple picks for a difference-maker. Miami can also trade its firsts in 2023 and 2027 as part of a package.
Without a player worthy of said package being available, the Heat probably go best player available and grab a big, strong wing they can groom as another switchable forward who can make an open shot. That’s the idea anyway; it’s pick 27, so who knows how it turns out.
Kyle Irving, Sporting News: Trevor Keels, G, Duke
The Heat’s need for a backup point guard became evident when Kyle Lowry went down during the playoffs. While Gabe Vincent did a strong job in his place, Miami could still use some help at the position. Keels is the type of strong and physical guard who could thrive in Heat Culture. He can defend multiple positions at a high level and he has a quick and powerful burst when he attacks the basket. Plus, Keels can knock it down from long range as he showed with some timely 3-point shots during Duke’s run to the Final Four. Keels is well worth a flier in the first round and Miami feels like a great fit.
Zach Braziller, New York Post: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame
The jump shot kept the former Notre Dame star out of the top 20. But there is so much else to like about him, from his speed with the ball in his hands to defensive potential and frequency of penetrating the paint.
Jonathan Givony, ESPN: Jaden Hardy, G, G-League Ignite
Few teams have been as successful drafting in the first round as the Heat have over the past few years. Hardy entered the year as a potential top-five pick and still has plenty of upside to tap into as a shot-making, instinctual scorer who is only 19. Adding more shooting alongside their stars should be an attractive proposition for the Heat, and Hardy has the type of scoring talent that could allow him to anchor a bench unit down the road if he continues to progress with his frame and decision-making.
Hardy struggled with his shot selection during G League play, but his raw talent is undeniable. Just 19 years old, he has great instincts on offense and has the ability to take players off the dribble, instead of settling for deep, step-back 3-pointers.
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated: Andrew Nembhard, G, Gonzaga
As of the last update on Monday, it felt like the Heat could trade this pick. Since then, it’s begun to sound more like they may wind up drafting a player here. In a thin point guard class, Nembhard is one of the more NBA-ready options available, as a poised playmaker who makes teammates better, and whose size should enable him to defend either backcourt spot in certain situations. He is one of the most experienced point guards in the class and should have a pathway as a long-term backup in the league if he continues to make strides as a shooter. He’d be a useful depth addition for the Heat, as they continue to find ways to stay near the top of the Eastern Conference.
Cody Taylor, The Rookie Wire: Christian Braun, G, Kansas
Braun recorded a 40-inch max vertical leap at the combine and enters the draft as one of the most athletic players. He established himself as a strong two-way player at Kansas and should bring that ability to the next level. He seems to fit into the Heat culture quite well and could find himself on South Beach soon.
Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer: Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee
The Heat could use another shot creator, especially with 36-year-old Kyle Lowry looking a beat slow in the postseason. Like Lowry, Kennedy is at his best shooting off the catch, but he can do more. Chandler is a bit undersized, but he grinds on defense, likely making him a good fit in Miami.
Sam Smith, NBA.com: Chandler
A small point guard, but so is Kyle Lowry. He’s more the pure point guard type and can make a shot. Everyone worries about small guys and defense, and sure, they are a defensive group. But he’ll compete, which is a culture thing.
Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation: Chandler
Zak Hanshew, Yahoo Sports: Dalen Terry, G, Arizona
Playing alongside Ben Mathurin at Arizona, Terry stood out as a jack-of-all-trades thanks to his ability to pass, rebound, score and defend. He’s not going to put up 20 a night, but he averaged 10/6/5 and 2.0 stocks per 36 while earning Pac-12 All-Defense honors. Terry shot better than 36% from three as well, so the upside as a 3-and-D wing who can facilitate is obvious. Miami loves players who get after it on defense, so this is a great fit.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports: Wendell Moore Jr, F, Duke
Moore seems like the type of player who can step into a championship-contending team and earn minutes right away. He has a ready-made role as a 3-and-D wing, with great length and basketball IQ. He reads passing lanes to pick up steals on defense, and is a smart cutter on offense. Moore was also in the 95th percentile in catch-and-shoot situations last season at Duke, according to Synergy, making him an ideal role player who can thrive next to stars.
Mike Randle, Fantasy Pros: Moore Jr.
The former five-star recruit was uncertain about staying in the draft but remained likely to first-round assurances. Moore led the Blue Devils in assists (4.4) and steals (1.) per game. He will have time to develop behind Miami’s guards and can make an impact even without scoring. Quick hands, a 7-foot wingspan, and the Duke pedigree make him a fit with the well-coached and defensive-minded Heat.
Vincent Frank, Sportsnaut: E.J. Liddell, F, Ohio State
Liddell made a name for himself late in the regular season and in the postseason for Ohio State. The Illinois native and 6-foot-7 wing averaged 19.4 points and 8.6 rebounds on 47% shooting in his final 16 games. He’s that shooter Miami needs.