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Pat Riley’s hyped assessment of Heat’s Draft Day selection

Heat, Pat Riley, Precious Achiuwa

For their 20th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat selected 6-foot-9 forward Precious Achiuwa. And team president Pat Riley couldn’t be any happier.

Riley spoke about Achiuwa, noting that the Memphis standout is exactly the type of player they were looking for. Per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Heat exec expressed his belief that Achiuwa fit the bill for the athletic big man they need to fortify their roster.

“I felt tonight that we did very well,” Riley shared, per Winderman. “We were looking for bigs like him that were quick, that were athletic, that could run, that could handle.”

Riley particularly noted their recent playoff run wherein they were pretty much the smaller team in every series. While a smaller and quicker team has its advantages, it became a liability for the Heat, especially when they faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

“In the playoffs, there was a time when size hurt us,” the Heat president added.

On scouting Achiuwa, Riley highlighted the 21-year-old’s athleticism and defensive ability, particularly his shot blocking, speed, length and vertical. Riley even went as far as calling Achiuwa “one of the most underrated players” in the 2020 draft class.

Since there’s a vast difference between college ball and the NBA, not all rookies can immediately make an impact. However, Riley isn’t a basketball icon for no season. He expects Achiuwa to be productive in his first year, emphasizing that he doesn’t think it’s too much to ask the young big man.

Achiuwa will be joining a Heat squad that’s expected to have another great year after making it to the 2020 NBA Finals. Headlined by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic, Achiuwa will join a championship-caliber team led by a masterful coach in Erik Spoelstra.

Time will only tell what type of role Achiuwa will play. Riley has some ideas, but he ultimately believes Spoelstra will make the right choice.

It’s easy to say that Achiuwa will be faced with a lot of pressure to make that transition from amateur to professional ball. But the Heat veterans are noted for taking good care of their rookies. Just look at Herro, whom they injected with all the confidence in the world.