| Lists |

Five Tricks Pat Riley Could Pull During the NBA Draft

Five Tricks Pat Riley Could Pull During the NBA Draft
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

This Thursday, the Miami Heat have an opportunity to add another face or two to that championship T-shirt you'll be buying this time next year. Anytime there's NBA wheeling and dealing, you should keep a close eye on Pat Riley. He's sneaky. He's convincing. He's handsome. And he's unpredictable.

That means when the 2017 NBA draft takes place tomorrow at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Heat, which holds the 14th overall selection in the first round, might not have to wait for 13 teams ahead of it to pick a player. Hell, Miami might not pick at all. Or it might pick four times. Or it might pick and then trade the player for an All-Star. Who knows with Riley at the helm?

Though it's impossible to predict the unpredictable, here are five reasonable surprises Riles could pull off during the NBA draft:

5. The Heat "trades" its first-round pick to the Indiana Pacers in a deal for Paul George.

The most shocking move that could come out of Thursday's NBA draft would be the Heat acquiring disgruntled Indiana All-Star Paul George. He has informed the Pacers he won't return to the team in 2018, so Indiana is definitely looking to shop him before it loses him for nothing. Riley, of course, has made a living off acquiring stars who have outgrown their current teams, so he will undoubtedly look into what a one-year rental of George would cost the Heat.

Does it make sense for the Heat to trade away a first-round pick and, say, Justise Winslow, for what could amount to 87 games of Paul George? No, but many observers believe the Heat could persuade George to buy, not rent, if he spent a full season in Miami. Either way, it would be shocking if the Heat was able to add a superstar like George out of nowhere this week.

Likelihood: As much as you want this to be a thing, it's probably not a thing.

4. The Heat drafts Gonzaga center Zach Collins.

What do you do when the rest of the NBA is winning games via a barrage of three-point baskets? You zig when they zag and collect another seven-foot center. That's what Miami would be doing if it spent its first-round pick on Collins.

It's hard to imagine a scenario where Hassan Whiteside and another lumbering seven-footer can coexist for more than a few stretches during a game, much less as a starting unit looking to take down the high-flying, fast-paced Golden State Warriors. Adding another tall tree to the Heat's front court would definitely be an outside-the-box way of taking down NBA juggernauts, but it would be a surprise if the Heat actually went that route.

Likelihood: Probably not gonna happen, but don't forget that time when Riley wanted to draft Chris Kaman instead of Dwyane Wade.

3. The Heat trades the 14th pick to Portland for the 20th and 25th picks.

The upcoming draft is said to be one of the deepest in recent memory, so if that's the case, wouldn't it make sense for the Heat to move down six slots and grab an extra pick? For Portland, that move might make sense as well. Portland has the 15th pick, in addition to the 20th and 25th, so it might make sense for the team to want back-to-back mid-first-rounders instead of all three. NBA teams are not like NFL teams: They get to keep only 15 men, so Portland might want to move up.

Likelihood: Not impossible, but it doesn't smell like a Riley move.

2. The Heat trades up to select a player in the Top 5.

One thing Miami just doesn't have is assets. Not the kind you can trade for a superstar. Not the kind that can trade up for a top pick. Not even the kind to cash in at the grocery store for money off Publix subs. The team has depleted its stash in the past decade to make all of its recent title runs happen. They've depleted their reserves with sign-and-trades for LeBron James and Chris Bosh and for constant draft-pick trades to surround the Big Three with players (or to get rid of some and their salaries), and they traded two first-round picks to the Phoenix Suns for Goran Dragic. The Heat is cashed out and won't be re-upped for quite some time.

All of that means the Heat isn't likely to have ammo to move up in the draft to select one of the more coveted players. Miami had its shot at that crop of guys when the team was 11-30 in the standings in the first half of last season, but a 30-11 second half means the Heat is stuck with the leftovers at number 14.

Likelihood: Not happening, but a boy can dream.
1. The Heat trades Goran Dragic or Hassan Whiteside to clear up cap space.

Hey, we've seen crazier shit happen. The truth of the matter is that the Miami Heat probably won't win any titles while Goran Dragic is on the roster. That's not a Dragic problem; it's a Golden State Warriors problem and a Cleveland Cavaliers problem. And probably a San Antonio Spurs problem. Also, a Boston Celtics problem. The thing is, the Heat is so far away from being toward the top of the NBA pack that it might make sense to trade away some guys and build for three years from now instead of building for right now.

Also, LeBron James is a free agent next offseason. Go ahead — doubt Pat Riley, and see what happens.

Likelihood: Well, LeBron James is a free agent next offseason.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.