SLAMonline Mock Draft: Avery Bradley, No. 18
The Heat are on the clock and under the gun.
by Sam Guelil
The Miami Heat played their first season in the NBA as an expansion franchise starting in 1988. After 22 seasons, seven Division titles, and one NBA World Championship later, this is arguably their biggest off-season in franchise history.
Priority numero uno is to clearly resign Dwyane Wade. The second item on Team President Pat Riley’s agenda is to add another superstar caliber player to play along-side DWade. It sounds like either Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, or Carlos Boozer are the main candidates for this role in South Beach. OK, so let’s say they sign one of these power forwards. That automatically will bring up so many other questions. What do you do with Michael Beasley? Do you play him at the small forward spot? Do you trade him? Can you trade him? Does he come off the bench? How will he react if he comes off the bench? I’ve always said that Beasley is an immense talent, but there are obviously so many questions whenever his name is mentioned. I’ll also say this; if Beasley can find a way to put it all together, then that could be another superstar caliber player on the roster.
Only Beasley and Daequan Cook are locked up financially for ’10-11. James Jones and Mario Chalmers both have team options for next year and of course Wade is expected to opt-out of his player option. So with really only two players committed to the roster, the Heat need players, players, and more players.
Riley has always said that the Draft is third on his list when it comes to improving his franchise behind free agency and trades. But right now we’re not talking too much about those first two; it’s all about the Draft baby!
I’ll be honest with you guys, I love the NBA Draft. For me, this is the best day of the year. I look forward to this day more than I do the Super Bowl, New Years, Christmas, even my birthday. Is that sad…maybe? But am I passionate, enthusiastic, and ready for June 24, 2010…You know I am.
The general consensus is that this is a deep draft, and I concur. There are a few players with superstar potential, many guys that could be really good rotational contributors, and of course dudes with “upside” and “potential” that will eventually get some GM’s fired.
Let’s talk about the Heat draft for 2010. Miami has picks number 18, 41, 42, and 48. So what do they do with all these picks? I wouldn’t be surprised if they packaged some to move up, maybe even with Beasley. One thing we know about Pat Riley is that he doesn’t mess around and isn’t afraid to make moves. A lot of the guys that Miami has recently brought in for workouts will be picked before they choose at 18. Maybe that’s a sign or them just doing their due diligence if someone should slide. Like the late great John Wooden said, “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”
I’m not big on drafting by need. The Blazers needed a center in the 1984 NBA Draft. They passed on Michael Jordan and took Sam Bowie. We all know how that worked out. I believe that you should always take the best available player. It just so happens that both are available in the same guy…
And with the 18th pick in the 2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Miami Heat select…
Avery Bradley from University of Texas.
Bradley came in to college with a lot of hype. He was ranked as the No. 1 player and the National Player of the Year by ESPN. He also consistently ranked at the top of his class by all the other major scouting services. He was a McDonald’s, Jordan, and First-Team Parade Magazine All-American. In the McDonald’s game he had 15 points and 6 rebounds. He also won the slam dunk contest at that game. In the Jordan Classic he had 14 points. Bradley was also a member of the USA Junior Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. In that game versus the World Select Team he had 21 points in 29 minutes. He played his senior season at the basketball factory that is Findlay Prep. During that year he led his team to a perfect 33-0 record on their way to winning the mythical national high school championship. That year he averaged 19.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 2.9 steals per game.
After one year at The University of Texas he was inconsistent at times. He averaged just 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. The Longhorns had a really strange, and by their standards, down year. They were really marred by injuries. But what Bradley did do in college was what he’s done exceptionally well his whole life, shoot and play great defense.
At the NBA Pre-Draft Combine he measured in at 6-3 ¼ in shoes. That is the only height that matters because I’ve yet to see anyone in the NBA play without shoes. He weighed in at 180 pounds, but with his frame he will definitely add muscle to it. His wingspan is crazy at 6-7 ¼ and the 37.5-inch vertical is off the charts.
Bradley is an incredible athlete to say the least. He is explosive in the open court. He uses his athleticism to create separation in tight spaces Bradley also has a deadly mid-range game, and in a league running pick-and-rolls every other possession, these are reasons to believe why he can make it as a point guard. With one of the best looking jumpers in all the land, Bradley is good as a spot up shooter, but even better off the bounce with his Richard Hamilton-like in between game. He has a high release and outstanding elevation on his shot which could enable him to play off the ball in certain situations.
Avery Bradley’s true calling card, however, is his defense. If for some strange reason he can’t make it offensively in the League, which I doubt, he’s going to have a long career because of his defense. Bradley shadows guys tremendously when his man doesn’t have the ball. You can tell that this is a kid that really enjoys and takes pride in his defense. He’s even more fun to watch when he is on the ball. He is in every sense of the word a pest. His long arms, intensity, and great lateral quickness make it almost impossible to get by him. Bradley has shown some leadership qualities at times and reports have always been that he is a good teammate.
Scouts and GM’s vary in opinion on Bradley. He obviously needs to work on some things. Some of the knocks on him is that he looks for his own shot to much as opposed to setting up his teammates. That’s something that he’ll need to improve on as he tries to walk that fine line of being aggressive and creating. I have a feeling that if he knows he has a DWade on his team, giving up the rock shouldn’t be a problem. He isn’t the strongest kid in the world, which is why he has trouble finishing at the rim in traffic.
Although Bradley isn’t your prototypical point guard, he is a very good basketball player that can really defend and shoot…which are the two most important things in the game. If you can do one of these two you’ll always have a spot somewhere, Bradley can do both very well. He can possibly be like a Russell Westbrook type of point guard, just with a better jumper. I believe his game translates better to the NBA then it does to the college game. If he can just control the game, doesn’t turn it over, makes the right play, and gets DWade the ball, he’ll be just fine.
This was and wasn’t a tough pick to make. I honestly don’t think he’ll be here at 18. But he’s probably the best player on the board. I also really liked Eric Bledsoe, Craig Brackins, and Jordan Crawford. The Heat may be able to get either Brackins or Crawford with pick No. 41. Also, keep an eye on Lance Stephenson, Stanley Robinson, Willie Warren, Dominique Jones, and Tiny Gallon as potential second round picks. I never considered any of the project centers. Even though the Heat staff is outstanding in developing big guys, the franchise is not going to be in wait and see mode. Riley is aggressive and will want to bring in guys that can have an immediate impact.
The Boston Celtics are now on the clock…
|2010 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Washington||John Wall||16||Minnesota||Damion James|
|2||Philadelphia||Evan Turner||17||Chicago||James Anderson|
|3||New Jersey||Derrick Favors||18||Miami||Avery Bradley|
|5||Sacramento||Greg Monroe||20||San Antonio|
|6||Golden State||Wesley Johnson||21||OKC|
|8||L.A. Clippers||Al-Farouq Aminu||23||Minnesota|
|11||New Orleans||Gordon Hayward||26||OKC|
|12||Memphis||Luke Babbitt||27||New Jersey|