The carrot was dangled all night as the 2014 NBA Draft wore on and the Miami Heat didn’t let up in their relentless effort to move up and take their top target, UConn point guard Shabazz Napier. The Heat wanted a new, exciting point guard to entice the Big Three to stay in South Beach and accomplished their mission by sending their No. 26 and No. 55 picks this year along with a future second-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets.
LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are all expected to stay with the Heat and that’s not news following the Napier pick. However, Pat Riley and the Heat’s brass are making sure their trio of stars knows they are doing everything they can to make sure the team returns for a fifth straight NBA Finals trip next year.
Napier is a solid point guard and the fact he will join a team like the Heat makes him even better as a day-one starter. He has great court vision, underrated passing skills and superb passing ability. Those are all things the Heat need from their point guard and those are traits that used to define Mario Chalmers until he fell off the face of the Earth in this year’s playoffs.
Now LeBron and company have a capable young point guard whose NBA learning curve will be bent shorter with so many veteran stars around him. He should be a top-20 point guard by midseason after finding his rhythm early in Miami’s brutally-fast-paced offense, in which he’ll thrive. Expect Napier to be playing point guard for the 2014-15 Eastern Conference Champions in his rookie season.