This should have been ours. The Sixers should have been picking anywhere from 11th to 18th with the conveyed Miami pick. All that needed to happen was for the Heat to lean on their two All-Stars and get some sort of contribution from their bit players and they would have been a low-end playoff team in the East. Or at least better than the 20th best team in the league. It didn't happen.
Instead, Dwyane Wade played fewer than 65 games for the third time in four years. Luol Deng, meant to fill up at least some of the LeBron-sized hole at small forward, provided negative value on the defensive end (according to DBPM) for the second year in a row. Mario Chalmers, whose only real NBA skill was being a sharpshooter from 3-point land, shot all of 29.4% outside the arc. Josh McRoberts, recruited to bring shooting and playmaking from the 4 spot, played the 17th most minutes on the team-- which is to say, almost none. And worst of all (and scariest of all), Chris Bosh missed the second half of the season with a blood clot in his lung.
Even the discovery of Hassan Whiteside for peanuts and the trade for Goran Dragic without giving up anything of current value couldn't save the Heat's season. It all combined to rob the Sixers of a pick that looked like a gimme as late as March and certainly at the beginning of the season, while putting the Heat in a unique position as they decide whom to select at 10th overall.
Unlike the vast majority of lottery teams, the Heat have no glaring holes. Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh, and Whiteside combine to make a starting 5 that is as formidable as any in the NBA, on paper. The issues for the Heat are in their bench, where they relied on the pu pu platter of James Ennis, Henry Walker, and the rotting corpses of Udonis Haslem and Birdman Andersen. The combination of a starting 5 without any glaring holes and a bench without any strengths puts the Heat in a position where there shouldn't even be much of an argument over drafting for fit or drafting for potential. When every single backup position is manned by a below-average NBA player, fit becomes a complete non-issue.
That leaves me with a choice of two players, very different in their own right. In one corner, we have Myles Turner, the long center from Texas with a sweet stroke and supposed mobility concerns. In the other corner, we have Kelly Oubre, the athletic wing from Kansas with a sweet stroke who failed to live up to sky-high expectations in Lawrence. The pick was pretty easy for me. If you're drafting for potential, Oubre doesn't really compare to Turner. It seems unlikely, at this point, that Oubre will ever have the creation ability to step into a role as a primary facilitator on offense, limiting his upside to weakside drives and spot-up attempts from beyond the arc. Defensively, Oubre has potential, but doesn't project as an elite wing defender, and wings generally don't have the same impact as good defensive centers like Turner.
Turner, meanwhile, compares decently to some of the best post prospects of the last few years (all stats per 40 min).
As a rim protector, Turner's 4.7 blocks per 40 minutes as a freshman were better than Embiid and Towns, both of whom were considered two of the best defensive prospects in recent memory. He rebounded and scored at rates similar to his more highly rated brethren. Perhaps the area for which you can project Turner to be most elite in is shooting. While his 3-point FG% is underwhelming at 27.4%, his FT% is elite, regardless of position, and certainly for a center. Combined with a solid 42.7% conversion rate on 2-point jumpers, Turner has the profile of a player who will become an elite shooter for his position. In a modern NBA predicated on spacing and shooting, Turner may be the prototype for what teams ask out of their centers.
The big worry for Turner is that he beat up a cupcake schedule and underperformed when playing stronger competition. Per DraftExpress:
|Games||Pt/40||Reb/40||3Pt FG%||FG %||Blks/40|
|Vs. Top-50 D||11||13.4||11.3||13.60%||36.80%||4.4|
|Vs. Top-100 D||24||14.6||10.9||22.70%||38.00%||4.5|
This is a real concern, and one that has probably been the cause for Turner's drop from a Top 5 pick to late lottery. Picking at number 10, though, his potential outweighs his risk. The Heat should be aware of the pitfalls Turner presents, while also understanding that they won't find anyone else with his upside at 10th in the draft.
(GM Marc refuses to acknowledge the possibility of drafting Devin Booker here. GM Marc does not think Booker will be a rotation player, and, while the writers over at Hot Hot Heat may see Booker as the heir apparent to Dwyane Wade at the 2, GM Marc dismisses this premise entirely.)