Heat fans go wild for a draft pick! Just kidding.
Heat fans go wild for a draft pick! Just kidding.
Photo by George Martinez

Miami Heat Couldn't Out-Tank 76ers but Still Held on to Top-Ten Draft Pick

We're number ten — in the reverse standings! Last night the Miami Heat played one of the weirdest games in basketball history, a game that would have made James Naismith regret ever inventing the sport if he would have risen from the dead and purchased a ticket to the 76ers-Heat game. In addition, he would have also been confused as to why some baskets counted as three. 

Last night was very confusing for any basketball fan. At stake: the Miami Heat's first-round draft pick. The Heat could lose it — by winning the game. And the 76ers, by losing, could snatch the pick away. The Heat, in the end, won the game, but the team also looks to have kept its draft pick by the end of the night. Confused yet?

In the epic tankathon, the Heat trotted out a starting lineup of Goran Zoran Dragic, Henry Walker, James Ennis, Tyler Johnson, and Michael Beasley. The Heat's tank hand was mad strong, but it was no match for the tanking ninjas that are the Philadelphia 76ers. The Heat used six players last night — SIX. All but Dragic played the entire 48-minute game, running what amounts to a half-marathon each, but it was still not enough to overcome the 76ers' amazing knack for consistent sucking.

The Heat pulled out a 105-101 win, but in the end the win did not cost Miami any ping-pong balls in the draft. Why? Because the Brooklyn Nets also won in Orlando, thus leaving the Heat all alone as the tenth-worst team in the NBA.

The Heat now has a better than 90 percent chance of keeping its top-ten pick in next year's draft and a slightly better than 1 percent chance to land the top pick. 

This, of course, is all so sad to even be excited about. The Heat clinching a lottery pick for the first time since 2008 is not what Heat fans are used to cheering about. With Dwyane Wade's career winding down, 2014-15 very much feels like a lost year. The upside of this disaster of a season is that the team now has the opportunity to add a solid young rotation player to a team that should come back whole next season.

Chris Bosh is expected to be cleared for action by September, giving him a few weeks to get back into NBA shape. Luol Deng is likely to pick up a $10 million player option for next season and could possibly fit in much better on a team that relies on his offense far less than it did this season. Goran Dragic has stated numerous times he'd like to return to the Heat long-term. The most likely winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award this season, Hassan Whiteside was the surprise star of the NBA this year and is under contract next season. Josh McRoberts, one of the main pickups last offseason, is already nearly 100 percent healthy and will provide much-needed shooting skills next year.

It seems the Heat will not be your average-looking post-lottery-pick team in 2015-16. Thank God, because this year was unbearable to watch. 

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