2024 NBA Draft: Should Heat look to pluck from G-League Ignite at 15?

Heat
The Heat have worked out forwards Ron Holland (pictured) and Tyler Smith ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft. (David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

We are less than 72 hours away from the 2024 NBA Draft! To our knowledge, the Miami Heat, who own the No. 15 and 43 picks in the draft, have publicly worked out over two dozen prospects leading up to the two-day event.

Based on conventional wisdom, nearly 10 of those prospects could be considered at No. 15, though two of them are from the G-League Ignite–Ron Holland and Tyler Smith–which the Heat have yet to invest in over the team’s four-year tenure. The Ignite, which will not continue beyond 2023-24 due to the NIL landscape and its lack of sustainable development, was an unmitigated disaster last season.

But should that prevent the Heat from investing in two high-upside G-League talents if they fell to No. 15? Let’s explore.

Case For Ron Holland:

Holland, who will turn 19-years-old on July 7, is the more polarizing prospect of the two players.

The 6-foot-8 wing was the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class that Isaiah Collier, Ja’Kobe Walter, Justin Edwards, Stephon Castle, Rob Dillingham and Jared McCain, among others, before turning pro. And was once regarded as a top prospect in this class.

But he’s slowly, but surely dropped down boards throughout the pre-draft process.

Holland is an elite-level athlete and one of the springiest wings in this class with a 30-inch standing vertical and a 38-inch max vertical. He’s a remarkable threat in transition and is very capable at getting the rim in the halfcourt with a solid handle and elite-level burst.

I thought Holland played bigger than his 197-pound frame suggested when getting downhill; if he got an angle on you or blew by you, have fun trying to stop the rest. I also thought he was good defensively at the point-of-attack with good dexterity, though he did tend to get bit on screens and play too high.

Two of Holland’s biggest fatal flaws were his shooting and decision-making. He shot just 23.7 percent from deep in 29 combined games and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line. Holland wasn’t consistent with his lower half or release and he didn’t always shoot in rhythm, which hurt him. He was also a poor decision-maker on ball at times, though he was an 18-year-old being one of the top creators against grown men in his first professional season. That could come with time.

In a Heat context, Holland wouldn’t help with Miami’s spacing troubles. But his sheer athleticism/fluidity, rim pressure and point-of-attack upside–three things it sorely lacks–makes him an intriguing prospect at No. 15 if he’s there for the taking.

Case For Tyler Smith:

Tyler Smith would fit a more positional need with the Heat in the frontcourt.

The 6-foot-10 big came off the bench behind Izan Almansa (who took his name out of the draft pool) throughout last season after spending two seasons with the Overtime Elite. He’s young and he’s got multiple seasons of professional basketball under his belt.

He’s got an intriguing blend of size and shooting; he shot 36.0 percent from deep on a combined 43 games with Ignite last year. He’s got a very smooth left-handed shooting stroke that looked very repeatable and on balance in his lower half.

Though Smith also was a reliable rim-runner and vertical spacer–which translated to him earning a 32-inch standing vert and a 38-inch max vert at the combine, similarly to Holland. He can pick-and-roll with fluid movements, but can also pick-and-pop. He flashed in-between touch in the post, even though that was not a very featured part of his game.

He’s got to build up his core strength; he’s thin and didn’t play through contact all that well, which could limit his role/impact on both ends of the floor at the start of his NBA career. But what better organization to help get you stronger than the Miami Heat? Did anyone see what they did to Nikola Jovic in just nine months?

He was a good shot-blocker, but was not a great defender with Ignite. With Miami, he could be hidden in zone, but there were times when he had mental lapses defensively–which could be improved with time.

There’s more that goes into selecting a player than just watching the film. That said, I think both Smith and Holland have very intriguing tools with differing skill sets that the Heat should consider.

Miami has yet to invest in a player from the G-League Ignite. A few notable prospects from the squad that were drafted over the last three seasons were Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, Dyson Daniels, MarJon Beauchamp, Jaden Hardy, Scoot Henderson and Leonard Miller–not all of which were in the Heat’s range.

There’s also an inherent risk with selecting players from an organization that hasn’t developed young players well. Though not all prospects are the same nor is all growth linear. The best organizations find talent more often than not at any point in the draft.

As I said when I went over the pros and cons of keeping the No. 15 pick, there could be some serious parody at the top of the draft, thus leading to prospects falling out of the top-5/10 that may have been viewed in that range. Holland has been mocked in that range way more than Smith has, but it’s unpredictable what will happen with both players–and, frankly, the Heat–as Wednesday’s first round approaches.

The organization will have a plan for whomever they pick, and this could be the year where they may strongly consider dipping into a pipeline they’ve had yet to pluck from.

***

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vagibugi

There could be some interesting players available.. half of Nets, for example.
Some interesting players there.
We could use players like Harris, Thompson, Randle, Middleton or Lopez too.

Last edited 16 days ago by vagibugi
swampshark

I have to admit that Zach Edey has really grown on me these past few weeks.
I’m starting to think that people may be overthinking things when it comes to Edey.
Afterall how many players in this draft that we know for sure will command double teams on the pro level?
The answer is zero with the lone exception of Zach Edey.
Edey is the only player in this draft that anyone can confidently say will command a double team on the nba level.
He is a 7-4 behemoth with a 7-11 wingspan that is a dominant scorer in the paint, a dominant offensive rebounder and an elite rim protector.
If the Heat were to draft Edey he would project to be one of the most dominant post scorers in Heat Franchise history.
Teams would automatically send doubles and even triples whenever he’s anywhere within 10 feet of the basket.
Also, imagine the headaches opposing coaches would have keeping this guy off the offensive glass.
They would constantly have to have 2-3 guys around him at all times around the basket to help keep him off.
That would lead to plenty of second chance points for Heat perimeter shooters.
Plus you know that he’s eventually going to develop a consistent 3 point shot because he’s determine to prove all the doubters wrong.

IMO you don’t not draft Zach Edey because he does not fit with Bam, you draft Edey and make Bam fit with him.
The right move would be to move 6-9 Bam from out of the post and force him to become a perimter threat to accomadate Edey’s post dominance.
We know the key to consistent winning in the nba is versatility, the ability to play big or small.
And we know the Heat are a good small ball team with Bam at center.
The question is what kind of big ball team could they become with 7-4 Edey at C, 6-9 Bam at PF and 6-10 Jovic at SF?

Last edited 17 days ago by swampshark
Reality Czech

Assuming both Carter and Topic are off the board, I actually like Ware for almost the same reasons. Not as big, but big. Has proven he can shoot the 3. Not as good a rim protector, but still good there and can block shots. More athletic/mobile than Edey. But, having said that, I’d be happy if they picked Edey. With Edey protecting the paint, Bam could play free safety and switch on an opposing center who comes away from the paint. My biggest concern with Edey is that guys his size have shown to be susceptible to stress fractures.

2qbn

I’m just hearing about a rumor that Heat want to move up to the 9th spot. If that is true, I think that has Edey written all over it since he probably would not make it passed a few of the teams from there to 15, specifically Portland. Riley might be looking for revenge on the Blazers lol

Probably Devin Carter due to Heat link, but Edey is the other.

Last edited 16 days ago by 2qbn
vagibugi

I m sceptic about such players. Every fast or skilled guard is one block away from having a mismatch against him on perimeter. Remember what did Luka to Gobert? He did a lot of that to other heavy centers. And he is not the only one.

Every good guard has an advantage against that type of center.

2qbn

Yeah I think the Heat are going guard or wing with both picks. If they go for a “big” it will be one who can move and shoot like a Ware. I can’t wait to find out.

swampshark

Yes quick guards will likely take advantage of Edey’s (lack of) mobility but is Edey really as slow and cumbersome as most people believe?

Draft combine official agility, speed, and power numbers:

Zach Edey
Lane agility time: 11.19 seconds
Shuttle run: 3.01 seconds
Three quarter sprint: 3.42 seconds
Standing vertical leap: 26″
Max vertical leap: 31.5″

Donovan Clingan
Lane agility time: 12.06 seconds
Shuttle run: 3.38 seconds
Three quarter sprint: 3.46 seconds
Standing vertical leap: 25.5″
Max vertical leap: 29″

Edey beat him in every category despite being two inches taller and weighing 17 pounds more. The lane agility and shuttle run weren’t even close. Zach legitimately had the fourth and sixth-best times in those tests out of all the centers. Consider his size, stamina, and durability and he’s a legitimate athletic freak.

Edey’s lane agility numbers were also better than Olynyk’s, Portis, Jarret Allen, John Collins, Naz Reid, Vucevic, Brook Lopez, Al Horford and more than a scond better than Gobert’s.
And Yes his agility numbers were even better than Bam’s.

So, while Edey is slow by nba guard standards he’s not at all slow by nba center’s standards.

Big_guy305

Knicks just got better smh, now they got the full Villanova squad. They just got mikal bridges. They traded away bogdonovic and 4 1st round picks with a swap. Idk if they will resign og now, but imagine they did sheesh. Knicks are the 2nd best team in east now, pat Riley gotta make something happen.

Big_guy305

Sorry I think it was 5 first round picks

ManilaHeat

Yep. Looks like they got better but have to see it in real time.

HHHFAN4Life

lol same was said about the Celtics last year am I right? Mia better not bring back the same team.

ManilaHeat

Yes. Same as Celts and they proved it. Right now no one knows how this (Knicks) will turn out still.

Reality Czech

Well, Knicks were already at a contender level, so they should be as good or better next season.

Big_guy305

I agree with you mostly, but I would like to see what they do with the center spot first. They won’t be able to bring hartenstein back, Mitchell is injury prone, and Randall isn’t a center. Knicks got the small ball down and overpaid for bridges if I’m being honest, and we both know that you gotta be able to play big ball too. But for now they’re the 2 best team in east. So there ceiling is ecf, if they get decent viable big, then maybe they can give them Boston a run for there money.

Reality Czech

Hey! Where ya been? 😀

ManilaHeat

Hibernated lol. Contemplating my status as a Heat fan 😜😂

Big_guy305

You not going anywhere yogi bear lol

Deadsori123

I believe that they will not have a hard time adjusting since most of them are Villanova teammates so there is no problem with chemistry.

oregoner

yeah Knicks are starting to look serious. We’ll see if they bring back their free agents, but if they do, they could be scary.

Reading between the lines, it’s also starting to look like the Hawks are going to swap Tre Young for Brandon Ingram. Depending on who they draft with the #1 pick, the Hawks might actually have a real basketball team next season.

The East is wide open next season. Boston is good, but they are old and lack depth. The 2-seed could be anyone. Let’s see what Riley has up his sleeve…

Reality Czech

Boston is not old. Except for Horford and Holiday, every other player is under 30. And Pritchard and Hauser had great series.

oregoner

Horford and Holiday are old, Porzingus is injury prone. That only leaves three good players on that team

Reality Czech

O, I know you said all year long how the Heat would beat Boston like they always did. That didn’t happen. They had the best record in the league by far. They went 16-3 in the playoffs. Discounting their accomplishment because players weren’t available on opponents, is no different to me than people discounting the Heat’s bubble year, or as some said last season, that our run to the finals was a fluke.
I only wanted 2 things in the NBA playoffs this season – for Denver and Boston to lose. Unfortunately, I didn’t get my wish. But I give Boston the credit they deserve. They earned the championship. And they’ll be ONE of the favorites to repeat.

oregoner

i’m not taking anything away from Boston. I even penciled them into a 1-seed and said that they battle in the East is for 2nd. All that said, they’re not the LeBron/Wade Heatles. They are a good team, but they’re definitely beatable.

Reality Czech

Well, let’s remember that 2 teams did beat that great Heat team. But I agree with you. I can think of at least 3-4 teams that could beat Boston. Denver, Lakers (if healthy), Wolves, Knicks.

SunManFromDogBone

OKC too after they get through trading and drafting.

2qbn

I agree with this. If Boston is derailed it’s because Porzingis is hurt and time is catching up with Horford. That would leave them pretty vulnerable. If they all stay healthy they can repeat or at minimum make ECF.

Big_guy305

Maybe after Boston and knicks then the east is wide open. Bucks are old with terrible defense, pacers are still young, with an even worse defense, and a coach that still makes rookie mistakes. Orlando doesn’t have enough shooting, cavs won’t be able to hold on to all four of Mitchell, Mobley,Allen, and garland. Philly has injury prone embiid and missing a consistent 3rd star. Also you already know that we’re missing some stuff as well. So 3 to 8 is open for everyone, just gotta make moves.

2qbn

Yes. I would be okay drafting this guy since Spo and Co would turn this dude in to a player.

heat for life

That game last night was as good as any sports game ive seen a while.Time for Mickeys team to make some splashes in the off season.

2qbn

3 hour heart attack, but we survived. It was awesome and such a great team to root for.

heat for life

Do u think jimmy butler would have played last night?lol

Big_guy305

Last match of a game 7…. ofcourse!

Big_guy305

Florida panthers are CHAMPIONS!

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