Miami Heat: Lotto Reaction and Where to Go

Miami fans were not expecting anything impressive coming from the lottery. In fact, there was no reason to be disappointed when they got their predicted 13th pick. Sure, Heat fans can moan how the Pels and the Griz were able to jump up higher, but thats not the worst thing. In fact, even when looking over Miami’s lottery, I still think they kind of wish the could have swapper places with the Celtics for the 14th pick. Why? Well, the worst part about having this pick is that they can’t it.

With the salary cap being set at $109 million for the 2019-2020 season, the $129.6 million the Heat are expected to pay is well above, and that is without them D Wade and Haslem retiring, putting them at 10 active players on their roster. A rookie drafted in the thirteenth pick is given a backloaded 4 year, roughly $12.1 million contract. This means the eleventh player will add an additional $2.2 million to their books, and this is before they will, more than likely, go up to a 13-15 man roster.

Talk about a rough situation.

However, they can easily trade out of a few of those contracts. Josh Richardson is viewed as the best value contract in the NBA right now, and Kelly Olynk’s contract is not heinous. A title contender would/could acquire those guys in a heartbeat if it meant getting them over the edge (lookin’ at you Blazers and Raptors). However, what would they get back in return? Josh is borderline untradeable since he is the best player on the Heat, but Kelly would probably net a low level pick and an expiring contract back.

…but why?

The Heat are in a great place to acquire either a wing shooter, athletic wing, or a big. Which would be great if that is what they needed. The Heat desperately need a point guard, since they had Justice Winslow and Josh Richardson splitting those reps whenever Goran Dragic was hurt or resting. A few mocks has them slated to get Romeo Langford, Nassir Little, or Kevin Porter, Jr. I only see one that could be a viable option to be a backup point guard, and I can guarantee it isn’t the one some fans want to hear. Since all three are 6’6″ , have to use athleticism and ball-handling skills as the metric. Nassir Little is the best via film, since he may be the most athletic out of the three. However, KPJ may have the biggest upside of the three, so that may be a push internally with the evaluation process the Heat have shown these past few years.

If the Heat were smart, they would try and leverage the 13th pick and a player or two to move up. While I am sure the Hawks will be looking to move up themselves, I would find it hard to believe that they would turn down Josh Richardson for the 8th or 10th pick. I don’t know if that’d be the right move for the organization, but it would wipe a lot of money off of their books, and I am sure a team like the Thunder would gladly take Olynk and give up a pick to do so. The Heat are in a great position to leverage some of their contracts for picks, so I hope they can do that and get out of the tax.

May be asking: what’s the worst case scenario for all us Heat fans out there in the world, Buck?

Easy. Y’all draft Bol Bol.

Enjoy that trash medical and the fact he’ll back up the biggest contract waste in the NBA.

Snubs Deserve Justice

So the All-Star lineups and captains were announced for the ASG, and they made complete sense. If you haven’t seen them, they are below…

EAST:
G – Kemba Walker
G – Kyrie Irving
F – Kawhi Leonard
F – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Cpt.
F – Joel Embiid

WEST:
G – Steph Curry
G – James Harden
F – LeBron James, Cpt.
F – Paul George
F – Kevin Durant

Now, in terms of talent and pedigree, I cannot argue with the starters. I can argue that the new rules of the ASG are crap, since it views the center position as unnecessary. With that thought, there are three snubs that come to mind, and all are in the West. Why not the East you may be asking? Well, outside of Blake Griffin, there are no other players (since Oladipo went down) that I consider great players, but Blake is not better than any of the starters for the East.

Before even going further, let’s remember how the new voting system is thanks to all of the Warriors’ bandwagon fans. After 2016, the voting was changed to reflect how Javale McGee and Zaza Pachulia almost made the ASG. To change this, they changed the voting to 50% fans, 25% player, and 25% media. What this means is that the fan votes were discounted due to the fact that idiots were voting for their team and not for the actual talent on the court. Therefore, as is the case for most things, and over-correction occurs. So read on Warriors “fans”, and see what you have caused to happen…

Finally moving on to the snubs, there are three players who’s qualifications, talent, and votes seem to have been either misplaced or not counted. The three players are Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic. I’ll address the Slovenian elephant in the room last, seeing as many of you are wondering why he is even on the list, but he plays an important part in all of this…

Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic not being All-Stars is a goddamn shame. There, I said it. First of all, this new change of 3 frontcourt players (which is how they are deciding to phrase it) is criminal. Center is the least valued position in the league, but second most important position on a team (behind point guard). Look at how the Warriors have been rumored to sign another center to their roster all season, and they already had five players that could play the position on the roster. FIVE! The Lakers center rotation was so bad that LeBron called in a favor to get Tyson Chandler for his team. Tyson played in seven games last year. You see where I am going with this? It is a travesty that they have to carry a defense, average over 60% from the field (which is considered average at the center position), and play over 30 minutes a game WHILE COVERING THE MOST DISTANCE RUN (by a player) IN A GAME. Think it’s easy to run from sideline to top of the key to sideline on defense, then run out to the offensive end where they have to set screens everywhere, roll after everyone, rebound, etc. Guess what happens if they score or don’t get the rebound? Run back and play defense of course! Pathetic media influencing something just to see more headline players than actually talented players be on the court.

Enough of that rant though, since this is more talking about the snubs that exist currently. I will not say that Anthony Davis, now, deserves to be in the starting lineup since he is currently injured. I also cannot say that Nikola Jokic deserved to make the team over Paul George. Paul is carrying the Thunder’s defense, and I have him as one of my dark horse MVP candidates. Same case could be made for Kevin Durant, who has carried the Warriors in Steph’s absence, even though I believe Jokic is more important to the Nuggest than Durant is to the Warriors. The issue I am seeing is that LeBron, who is injured and out for the forseeable future, is a starter over Jokic.

It is a tough battle to fight, and I know I may be one of the few in this corner, but Jokic has not only played better than LeBron, but he is not injured (knock on wood). I believe that LeBron is the best player in the NBA, don’t get me wrong. But this year, with him being injured? I mean, the Nuggets are the #1 seed in the West, and the Lakers are trying to stay in the playoffs currently. It’s purely a popularity vote, and no context of healthy or not is taken into account for this.

On the topic of popularity vote, this is where I begin to think this is purely a rigged system. For those of you that may not know, LeBron was one of the highest vote receivers in the NBA among the fans, placing at 1st in the West. The 2nd in the West was Luka Doncic. Not only is this the most votes received by a rookie, but he would have been a starter under the old system pre-2016. With almost 4.25 million votes, he would have been a starter with LeBron and Kevin Durant. Hell, if there was still centers, KD would have been on the bench STILL under the old system. However, when you look at the voting system, this is where you begin to see the bias rearing its ugly head.

Anthony Davis, while having less fans vote for him than Paul George, was ranked 3rd, 3rd, and 5th in all the categories, making his score across all three average out to 4. Paul was ranked 4th in all three, so a pretty easy average of 4. Luka, on the other hand was ranked 8th, 2nd, and 6th, which gave him a 4.5. Nikola Jokic was ranked 5th, 7th, and 5th, giving him an average ranking of 6. While obviously the NBA needs to fix it’s calculators at some point, the math makes no sense. With Anthony Davis being above Paul in 2/3 categories (which only account for 50% mind you), he gets shafted by the fans’ percentage to drop below Paul. Luka, on the other hand, is well and above the third highest fan vote receiver (which is KD) by over 1.1 million votes. However, this means nothing since he only received 2 media votes for the All-Star game, which paced him at 6th in that category. I mean, Steven Adams is on the list above Jokic in the fan vote, making Adams the 8th frontcourt player in the All-Star voting system.

If you could follow my points along, then you deserve my admiration, since I do not understand the math much myself. This all seems way to confusing to the average fan to call out, but trust me when I say that this voting system is meant to do that. I’ll dive more into the math on this to figure out the true weighting, since it seems that there is no accounting for the amount of votes at all, just the rank of them.