24th pick via trade: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
The Miami Heat had only one of the 60 picks in Thursday’s NBA Draft, yet they walked away with one of the most NBA-ready guys available in Connecticut point guard, Shabazz Napier. En route to winning the 2014 National Championship at UConn, Napier showed off why he is one of the best players in the draft — the world’s best player and current Heat forward, LeBron James raved about Napier through Twitter several times.
Of course James would want the Heat to fill one of their needs with a guard that has tremendous leadership with a high basketball IQ, excellent decision-making and a killer instinct. But it’s not just his skills that made me give the Heat an A+ for drafting Napier. Instead, it’s based on the impact of Pat Riley moving in on the one man King James himself requested with the Heat’s only pick.
LeBron knows the rest of the NBA around him is getting better and if the Heat want to make a fourth-straight appearance in the NBA Finals, there would have to be upgrades, including the point guard position. By bring in Napier, the Heat immediately upgraded the backcourt with a guy who will be able to come in, produce points and help facilitate the show from day one. Not to mention, Napier is a very feisty defender as well, which is another thingabout him that James will love. The addition of Napier alone could be a huge factor in LeBron returning to Miami, so great job by the Heat on draft night.