What Heat’s early playoff exit has meant for Erik Spoelstra’s draft prep and how he helps – Football News

What Heat’s early playoff exit has meant for Erik Spoelstra’s draft prep and how he helps

For just the second time in the last five years, there has been extended time this offseason for Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to study prospects ahead of the NBA Draft.

With the Heat making three appearances in the Eastern Conference finals and two appearances in the NBA Finals during the past five seasons, the Heat’s early first-round playoff exit this season has given Spoelstra some extra time to focus on this year’s draft.

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“I figured I had three days to get up to speed on the draft last year,” Spoelstra said, with the Heat’s season ending on May 1 this year following last year’s run to the NBA Finals that had the Heat playing up until June 12, 2023 last season. “The eight weeks leading up to [this year’s draft], I think I’ll just be probably overconfused by overanalysis. I’ll stay out of the way. Now that I have more time, I’m probably dangerous. I’ll stay out of the way of our scouting department. They do an exceptional job — Adam Simon and his staff — preparing for that draft.”

The two-round NBA Draft will span two days this year (first round on June 26 and second round on June 27). The Heat is slotted to pick at No. 15 in the first round and No. 43 in the second round.

Simon believes Spoelstra does an exceptional job of listening to the Heat’s scouting department and sparking productive conversations regarding draft prospects of interest.

“I think the great thing about Spo is he’s going to listen to what our scouting department presents to him and he’ll challenge us to ask certain questions about these guys,” said Simon, who is the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager. “We have good healthy discussions about what we’re seeing, what we’re thinking and how the player can help our squad.”

With the Heat hosting predraft workouts at Kaseya Center since the start of June, those discussions have been happening for weeks.

Among the prospects who have either already worked out or are scheduled to work out for the Heat in Miami are Providence guard Devin Carter, Purdue center Zach Edey, G League Ignite forward Ron Holland, Indiana center Kel’el Ware, Southern Cal guard Isaiah Collier, Arizona forward Keshad Johnson and UConn guard Tristen Newton, according to league sources. Carter, Edey, Holland, Ware and Collier are among the potential first-round options for the Heat at pick No. 15, and Johnson and Newton are among the potential second-round options for the Heat at pick No. 43

“I think what Erik is good at is not necessarily trying to do our job, but just asking questions about these players and challenging us to hear what we think and what we say and why we’re recommending the players we are going to recommend,” Simon said. “You don’t know who you’re going to get until you’re on the board. Obviously, you have opportunities to trade up and trade out and you study everybody.”

Last year, Spoelstra didn’t shift his attention to draft preparation until mid-June just a few days before the Heat ended up selecting Jaime Jaquez Jr. out of UCLA with the 18th overall pick. That’s the ideal scenario for Spoelstra, who would rather be coaching in the NBA Finals this week than thinking about different draft possibilities.

“If you’re still playing, I doubt any coach is going to spend time studying the draft,” Simon said. “Obviously, the main thing is about being part of a team. So the last couple years, Erik coached until our season ended. Then he circles back to us and we get him up to speed on the players we’re interested in and we give him film, we give him the reports, we give him intel.”

This year, that predraft process began a lot earlier for Spoelstra.

“I literally wasn’t planning on these next two months looking like this,” Spoelstra said just days after the Heat’s season ended in early May. “So we have a much longer offseason.”

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