The Miami Heat just finished an impressive season in which they fell just shy of the 2022 NBA Finals. The Heat earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference by securing a record of 53-29. They built off this momentum and, led by Jimmy Butler, took the Boston Celtics to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a successful year overall, however, the Heat still fell just short of the championship expectations they have for themselves.
The Heat have some major questions to answer this offseason. While the heroic effort from Jimmy Butler was amazing to watch, it likely isn't a sustainable way to win. There also are other flaws on the roster that need to be corrected before the team can take a leap. The future of Duncan Robinson and a few other players is unclear after not making the playoff rotation cut.
Regardless, the Heat must turn their attention to the offseason and find areas to improve. One notable avenue is through the NBA Draft. Miami currently holds the 27th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. The Heat forfeited their second-round pick as punishment by the NBA for the tampering that landed them Kyle Lowry last offseason.
Regardless, there are several noteworthy players at the end of the first round who could help the Heat. As the draft inches closer, here are the twp biggest needs Miami should look to target.
*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*
Heat's 2 biggest 2022 NBA Draft needs
2. Versatile Defender
At the end of the day, defense must remain the identity of the Miami Heat. Impressive perimeter defense becomes increasingly important throughout the postseason, Miami can get better in this area even when considering how strong the team defense already is. Jimmy Butler is a more than capable defender, but it is difficult to ask him to carry the load on both sides of the ball. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are each offensive weapons but lack greatly on the defensive end. Both guys saw reduced roles in the playoffs as a result of this.
Adding another versatile wing to the roster would be very beneficial to the Heat. There are several noteworthy candidates to fit this role at the end of the first round. MarJon Beauchamp, Jalen Williams, and Dalen Terry are three notable names to watch. Each of these guys are switchable wings with over 7-foot wingspans. They all seem a perfect fit for the “Heat Culture” that Miami preaches as well. Adding another impressive defender to the Miami roster would set them up for greater postseason success and take some of the load off of Jimmy Butler.
1. Point Guard of the Future
There is a growing concern about how much more Kyle Lowry has left in the tank. It was clear he did not look at all like himself this postseason. Lowry missed eight of the Heat's 18 postseason games this year. In the 10 games he was able to play, it was obvious he was far from 100%. While some of this had to do with his lingering hamstring injury, he lacked the explosion and pop that is necessary for his game. Even though he has two years and just shy of $60 million remaining on his contract, the time to begin looking for a Kyle Lowry replacement is now.
Using a late first-round pick on a potential point guard of the future would be an excellent use of Miami's selection. Lowry is also a perfect veteran for a young guard to learn from. Adding a long-term player and giving him time to develop would set the Heat up well for once Lowry truly has nothing left in the tank. The Heat still hope Lowry can bounce back next season after having an offseason to get healthy and into better shape.
While there aren't as many guard targets as wings at this stage in the draft, there are still some appealing names. Kennedy Chandler, Ryan Rollins, and Blake Wesley are three guys the Heat should be sure to do their homework on. Miami should also be sure to evaluate the two-way abilities of these players, especially considering Tyler Herro's desire to take a starting role.
While the Heat are certainly deadset on contending for a title, taking a player with a more long-term outlook is still a solid move. With Jimmy Butler at 32 years old and Kyle Lowry at 36, the window to win is not set to be open for too much longer. It may not be the slam dunk move to take a young guard several years away from contributing, but it may be necessary. Finding the floor general to lead the next generation of the Heat roster should be looked at as a success.