The Blue Route NBA Mock Draft: #13 – Miami Heat

With the thirteenth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat select…

Blue Route is bringing you draft coverage leading up to the NBA draft on June 20th, 2019. The Philadelphia 76ers are slated to select 24th pick in the draft. The NBA draft often sees movement, trades and drama, so to prepare you for various potential outcomes, the Blue Route will be giving you draft profiles for the all of the likely top picks, as well as our very own mock draft.

2019 NBA Mock Draft Results
  1. New Orleans Pelicans – Zion Williamson
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – Ja Morant
  3. New York Knicks – RJ Barrett
  4. Los Angeles Lakers – Jarrett Culver
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers – DeAndre Hunter
  6.  Phoenix Suns – Coby White 
  7. Chicago Bulls – Cam Reddish
  8. Atlanta Hawks – Sekou Doumbouya
  9. Washington Wizards – Bol Bol 
  10. Atlanta Hawks – Jaxson Hayes 
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  12. Charlotte Hornets – Darius Garland

Current State of the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat are currently in one of the worst spots possible — the world of mediocrity. They have a decent selection of quality NBA players such as Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Goran Dragic, and Bam Adebayo. There’s a lot to like on their roster in terms of talent. 

So what’s the issue? They are in cap space hell with their current salary. Pat Riley and the Miami Heat have been notorious for giving players very generous contracts over the past few seasons; and now it’s coming back to bite them. 

Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic both have massive player options — at $27 and $19 million respectively — that can clog up the Heat’s cap space for the next season. 

The Heat tried to remain competitive for Dwyane Wade’s farewell tour, but just missed the playoffs by a few games.

Ultimately the franchise ended up with the thirteenth pick in the draft and now find themselves at a crossroads. Do they try to compete to lure a potential free agent for next season, or do they try to rebuild and acquire a young talent in the next upcoming draft? 

Looking ahead into 2019 Free Agency

This team will ultimately be very limited in terms of what they can actually do in free agency, apart from signing minimum short term contracts. So we will simply skip ahead to the selection. 

The Selection – PJ Washington

PJ Washington is the perfect fit for what the Miami Heat are looking for. The franchise will eventually move on from Hassan Whiteside — either this season or the next — leaving them to build with young talent Bam Adebayo. 

Adebayo is a modern rim running center and is a great defensive anchor for the team. He does have a lack of shooting ability, which is where this selection will shine the most. 

Washington is coming off of a sophomore season at Kentucky where he shot a blistering 42% from three, on 2.2 attempts per game. He’s the perfect floor spacing four to put next to Bam Adebayo. 

Calling PJ Washington a stand still shooter would be an injustice. Washington has shown flashes of a developing post game, and can become a viable inside-outside threat for years to come. 

Washington is undersized at 6-foot-8. Typically speaking, most power forwards are usually 6-foot-9 to 6-foot-11 in size. While that can be a deterrent to some, he does make up for it with an impressive 7-foot-2.5 wingspan. 

The Heat’s biggest hole in their rotation can be found within the power forward position. Kelly Olynyk is much more suited at playing center due to athletic limitations, and James Johnson won’t improve, as he’s already 32. 

PJ Washington does need some refining to his game, but he’s far from a raw project. He can come in and provide quality minutes right now.

Rookie Prediction

PJ Washington would probably be best suited coming off the bench to start his career, playing around 15-20 minutes per game. 

Assuming Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside opt into their player options, it’s safe to assume PJ Washington would not be an offensive focal point for the Heat. 

I would expect PJ Washington to average around, give or take, 6 points per game, 2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists. 

PJ Washington can be the perfect piece to slide into their young core of developing talent. The Miami Heat should definitely take a long look at this up-and-coming stretch four. 

The upcoming season will be very important to the Miami Heat going forward. While they may not be the most competitive team, they will be performing for potential free agents. They can use this upcoming season to show that their young core can build the team into a contender. Putting PJ Washington with a successful young core can be the first building block to better times for the franchise.