At 17-18 the Miami Heat have followed the script most forecasters predicted this past summer.
So far the starters have been gifted their roles by going through the motions with no competition for minutes and responded as expected due to having no fear of losing their entitled status.
Perhaps Dion Waiters, an unheralded prospect from the Skyforce, or the 2019 NBA draft selection might take off his kid gloves to shake up the current march to mediocrity.
Baring any lucky bounces among the lottery balls Miami is projected to have the 13th pick as of today.
Prospects rise and fall during the season, but some mock drafts have these players as potential picks who hopefully have the makings of a future NBA All-Star..
Draftsite: Sekou Doumboya – 18 year old, 6’9”, 209 lb small forward from France who could fill the need at the SF position, but has an unproven track record in facing elite competition.
“For those who aren’t familiar, Culver is a 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 skinny guard with legit B- to A- level skills across the board (dribbling including basic change of direction moves, ability to win off the dribble, passing, rebounding, individual defense, team defense, creating events, off the catch jump shot, off the dribble jump shot, decision making, etc…) with the exception of free throw shooting (often but not always very important) where his 70 percent or thereabouts mark is a firm C/C+, and without any elite NBA skill or ability for his current height. Which would of course change, the grades all being bumped up, if he does indeed end up 2 or 3 inches taller than he is now.”
“In midst of a big season for Gonzaga, Hachimura’s college production has caught up to his talent level, but there are still some legitimate questions at the NBA level, and a team will have to put a lot resources into helping him reach his potential.”
“He possesses an appealing mix of power and quickness, along with a skill set that includes face-up moves and dribble jumpers. His tools and athleticism are further ahead of his offense. Having shot 5-of-22 from three with only eight assists all season, Little isn’t an advanced shot-creator or shot-maker.”
Besides the youths above Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten have been on fire for the Skyforce over the last ten games: Robinson made 48 of his 93 point tries (52%), while Maten has converted 85 of his 139 overall attempts (61%) and 16 of 33 (48%) from deep.
None of the above are polished products, but gauging their mental toughness to overcome the challenges of a NBA career might be the most difficult job a scout has in deciding who to pick.
With the mid-point of the NBA season almost here, the coaches will soon discover which players on the Heat will be ready to carry on the championship tradition Dwyane Wade worked so hard to bring to Miami.