What Heat’s early playoff exit has meant for Erik Spoelstra’s draft? prep and how he helps

What Heat’s early playoff exit has meant for Erik Spoelstra’s draft prep and how he helps

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For just the second time in the previous five years, there has been prolonged time this offseason for Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to research prospects ahead of the NBA Draft. With the Heat making three visits in the Eastern Conference finals and two appearances in the NBA Finals during the past five seasons, the Heat’s early first-round playoff exit this season has allowed Spoelstra some extra time to focus on this year’s draft.

NBA’s new exclusive negotiation window will begin soon. What it means for the Heat JUNE 14, 2024 11:35 AM “I figured I had three days to get up to speed on the draft last year,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat’s season ending on May 1 this year following last year’s run to the NBA Finals that saw the Heat playing up until June 12, 2023 last season.

“The eight weeks leading up to [this year’s draft], I think I’ll just be probably overconfused by overanalysis. I’ll remain out of the way. Now that I have more time, I’m definitely hazardous. I’ll remain out of the way of our scouting section. They do a fantastic job – Adam Simon and his colleagues — preparing for that draft.” The two-round NBA Draft will span two days this year (first round on June 26 and second round on June 27). The Heat is set to choose at No. 15 in the first round and No. 43 in the second round. Simon believes Spoelstra does a great job of listening to the Heat’s scouting staff and starting good talks around draft prospects of interest.

“I think the great thing about Spo is he’s going to listen to what our scouting department presents to him and he’ll challenge us to ask certain questions about these guys,” said Simon, who is the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. “We have good healthy discussions about what we’re seeing, what we’re thinking and how the player can help our squad.”

With the Heat having predraft workouts at Kaseya Center since the start of June, those discussions have been happening for weeks. Among the prospects who have either already worked out or are scheduled to work out for the Heat in Miami are Providence guard Devin Carter, Purdue center Zach Edey, G League Ignite forward Ron Holland, Indiana center Kel’el Ware, Southern Cal guard Isaiah Collier, Arizona forward Keshad Johnson and UConn guard Tristen Newton, according to league sources.

Carter, Edey, Holland, Ware and Collier are among the potential first-round alternatives for the Heat at selection No. 15, and Johnson and Newton are among the potential second-round options for the Heat at pick No. 43 “I think what Erik is good at is not necessarily trying to do our job, but just asking questions about these players and challenging us to hear what we think and what we say and why we’re recommending the players we are going to recommend,” Simon said. “You don’t know who you’re going to get until you’re on the board. Obviously, you have options to move up and trade out and you research everybody.”

Last year, Spoelstra didn’t shift his attention to draft preparation until mid-June only a few days before the Heat ended up picking Jaime Jaquez Jr. out of UCLA with the 18th overall choice. That’s the ideal scenario for Spoelstra, who would rather be coaching in the NBA Finals this week than thinking about potential draft possibilities. “If you’re still playing, I doubt any coach is going to spend time studying the draft,” Simon said. “Obviously, the main thing is about being part of a team. So the last several years, Erik coached till our season ended.

Then he circles back to us and we get him up to speed on the guys we’re interested in and we give him film, we give him the reports, we give him intel.” This year, that predraft process began a lot sooner for Spoelstra. “I literally wasn’t planning on these next two months looking like this,” Spoelstra said only days after the Heat’s season ended in early May. “So we have a much longer offseason.”

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