Friday, June 25, 2010
Miami Aces Draft and Gets Bang For the Buck
When the season was drawing to a close I was among the group of people who preferred Toronto missing the playoffs in order to get a second rounder in addition to a future first rounder. A first rounder this year might have helped get rid of James Jones's salary, but my thinking was that in order to add young talent to the roster this year, the top of the second round was the place to be.
The day before the draft Miami traded DaeQuan Cook for the second pick of the second round. This got me even more excited about the draft, because this meant we were going to get some of the best talent that did not require a guaranteed contract and would thereby not count against the cap when the free agent period commenced.
I must admit that it was not all rosy for me as I was intrigued by the long term potential of Hassan Whiteside and Solomon Alabi and am not typically a fan of signing players with weight problems. So, of course, I was a bit disappointed with the selection of Texas center Dexter Pittman over the aforementioned centers. However, I do believe "Sexy Dexy" is more NBA ready and could make an impact on day one and solidify the post rotation. His physical play matches up with well with Boston and fills a need in a league severely lacks true bigs. The Heat wanted a back to the basket banger and after having already lost 100 lbs, they may have landed the best one. The reason I am sold on this pick is that he seems up for the challenge of playing for an organization that will place an emphasis on getting him into the best basketball shape possible.
Our second pick was PF Jarvis Varnado out of Mississippi State, who I had Miami picking with the 48th pick in my mock. I have a feeling Alonzo will get a tear in his eye when he watches this guy play. A center in college who projects as a power forward, Varnado makes Joel Anthony seem redundant. I do expect Miami to hold onto Joel's rights as long as possible and maybe even bring him back for the minimum if that discussion has already taken place, but Miami will not miss a beat in the shotblocking department thanks to this pick. ESPN analyst Skip Bayless had this to say about the player on Twitter "I could be wrong, but from what I saw on TV, JVarnado will be little better NBA player than Favors. Aminu. And Pat Riley stole him at 41?!".
Speaking of Bayless, here's what he said about the next pick "Heat also got DButler at 42 while clearing enough cap space to sign THREE max players. LeBron should go to Miami if wants to win title". In Da'Sean Butler the Heat gets the guy USA Today calls "the steal of the draft":
I likened the drafting of Da'Sean to the Bills drafting of Willis McGahee years ago and many agree that this player has what it takes to come back from his torn ACL and make Miami very proud for years to come. In looking at this video that JRod shared during the blog's draft party, I see a swingman that has a very good head on his shoulders and knows how to get to the right part of the floor to take the shot he wants. Take a look at how many game hitters he made, I don't think these plays happen by coincidence. We have a player that does not shy away from the big moment and that could be key to the team's long term success:
I believe Pat Riley is very happy with the results of his draft, saying "We feel like, contrary to what other people might think, we did draft three first-round picks in the second round". While I am going to disagree with Riley on principle, my analysis of the draft a month ago was that there was not much separating picks 15-45. Riley chose to make three picks in the 30-45 range and was rewarded with first round type of talent. It may sound like spin, but it was my sincere evaluation of the talent that was available this year... you may see just as many solid players come out of the top of the second round as you see in the bottom half of the first.
I encourage you guys to get excited and watch the return of our summer league team in two weeks. The summer league package is available at NBA.com for an Early Bird price of $11 and I will be certain to be watching it online if I am unable to make the trip to Las Vegas myself. The most exciting off-season in Heat history is upon us and stage 1 seems to have been a glowing success. In closing, I will leave you with more analysis of our draft by USAToday: