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The Heat Must Develop Depth

By Jeff Briggs

Of all the NBA teams, the Miami Heat, holders of the second overall pick, have the most interesting options in tonight's draft. They can select Michael Beasley, whom most consider to be the clear number two pick in the draft; they can opt not to pick Beasley and take another player like OJ Mayo; or they can trade down with any number of teams and stockpile picks and players to build around their core of Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion.

As I've already expressed, picking OJ Mayo with the second pick would be a mistake. Burdened with the NBA's worst record in '08, one draft pick will not be enough to solve the Heat's lack of depth. They should instead look to trade the pick.

Rumors have circulated that the Heat have been in trade talks with the next three teams on the board: Minnesota, Seattle, and Memphis. Of these, the best trading partner may be Memphis, which desperately wants a legitimate PF to replace Pau Gasol. The Grizzles have two young PGs in Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry, as well as sharpshooter Mike Miller and the fifth pick in the draft. A plausible trade would give the Grizzlies the opportunity to take Beasley and send Miller, Lowry, and the #5 pick to Miami -- a combination of building-block role players and a potential star.

There are also rumors that Riley has soured on Beasley because of his lack of maturity. The Heat already have to deal with Marion's behavioral problems; they don't need the additional distraction of Beasley's immaturity. Riley, who has held secret workouts with OJ Mayo and Jerryd Bayless, might even prefer either of these players to Beasley. By trading down, he could address one problem (depth), avoid another (Beasley's behavior) and still get the player he wants.

While the Heat are just two years removed from being NBA champions and have two all-stars in Wade and Marion, they are still several pieces away from being a legitimate contender again. When they won the championship the team was built around Wade, Shaq, and a group of veteran players that played strong defense. Although a great scorer, Beasley can't fill Shaq's shoes and his ineptitude on the defensive end does not fit into Riley's scheme. Ultimately, the Heat lack the depth needed to make a serious run in the playoffs. If they have the option of trading their pick to improve their depth and still get the player they desire they should -- and will -- do it. Beasley is not the answer for the Heat, but they can use his high draft value to make a trade and improve their team beyond what Beasley could possibly do for them next season.

Heat Should Keep The Pick And Draft Beasley by Robbie Gillies


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