For a long time, Miami Heat head honcho Pat Riley has completely ignored the draft. He builds teams through free agency and trade, and he has done so to great success.
He doubled down on this two seasons ago when he flipped two first round draft picks for Goran Dragic, the point guard who was demanding to be traded away from the Phoenix Suns.
Over the last two years, Riley has watched this strategy completely blow up in his face. Despite the emergence of Hassan Whiteside, the Heat haven’t been able to make a significant playoff run.
Now, two crucial pieces of the team’s core — Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — are both gone, and they’ve been replaced by the likes of Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters.
Things don’t look good for Miami, so now Riley is looking to try something new, and turn to the draft by dealing Dragic.
‘We have a pick this year,’ he said. ‘I have intentions, if it’s possible, to try and get another pick.’
“Of course, two future first-round picks are tied up because of the acquisition of point guard Goran Dragic, which could leave Dragic dangled as the current resource put into play for another bite at June’s first round.
“In the expansive interview, Dragic’s name comes up only once, in relation to rounding out the Heat’s starting five in 2015, when Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still were with the team.
“‘We feel,’ Riley said before mentioning the draft, ‘that with Hassan, and with Justise and Tyler and Josh, and some of the new guys who we got this summer, four or five of those young guys can create a nucleus.'”
Riley explicitly states his desire to get another draft pick, then begins to discuss the future of the team without mentioning Dragic once.
It makes complete sense — Dragic is 30, and, frankly, has never proven to be worth the two picks the Heat gave up for him. There is no obvious path to contention during Dragic’s peak, so why not flip him to help you build.
The only issue: who is giving up a draft pick for Dragic at this point? Point guard is probably the most stacked position in the league, so most teams aren’t shopping.
Perhaps the Philadelphia 76ers — under the new leadership of the Colangelo family — will finally mortgage a bit of their future to get some competent guard play. I’m not sure if they’re willing to part with a first-rounder though.