Miami Heat: 5 options for pick No. 13 in 2019 NBA Draft

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1. Talen Horton-Tucker

Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker is one of the youngest players in the draft, as he won’t turn 19 until Nov. 25. This past season, he averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game on 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 30.8 percent from 3.

Potential is the main selling point for Horton-Tucker. He showed the ability to create his own shots and make plays for teammates, just at an inconsistent basis. His efficiency was poor (also shooting an abysmal 62.5 percent from the free throw line), which is partly due to his shot selection. He took a lot of deep 3s despite not being an elite shooter.

Horton-Tucker also drove into the lane without much rhythm. He looked to shoot almost always. Coaching him up could help him understand how to locate shooters on the perimeter. It could also help him take better shots. He was able to get to the hoop in college against inferior athletes, but as he becomes the inferior athlete, he’ll have to learn how to use his body to get position and use his long arms to his advantage.

At 6’4″, Horton-Tucker is about average size for a guard, but his 7’1″ wingspan makes up for it. He could be able to contribute on defense if he locks in mentally and learns well. He has good lateral quickness, as well as a quick leaping ability, which he could use to become a sound rebounder for a guard. That ludicrous wingspan will come in handy here, too.

Ultimately, Horton-Tucker’s main selling point is also his biggest flaw: his game is extremely raw. He has the makings of a versatile scorer, but he hasn’t put it all together yet. His efficiency was bad, but he showed confidence and creativity going to the basket. He has the frame to be a good defender, but wasn’t locking anyone down in college. The puzzle pieces are there for him to put together; time will tell if he’s successful or not.

Like the previously mentioned Bol Bol, Horton-Tucker is a boom-or-bust prospect. If he booms, Miami could have a very productive scorer, ample playmaker and versatile defender. If he busts, he might ride the bench for a long time. It’s a tricky situation, but this is where Miami is as a franchise.

The Heat don’t have a bona fide face of the franchise because they couldn’t get any star free agents and didn’t do as well as they could have in the draft. They overpaid for their role players and are now stuck with them. Devin Booker was taken after Justise Winslow and John Collins was taken after Bam Adebayo. Although Winslow and Adebayo are nice players, Booker and Collins seem like future stars.

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The Heat will continue treading in the middle of the NBA unless they find a star to build around. Drafting an older, more established prospect will give them a better chance to get a solid player, but it won’t move the needle toward a championship that much. Taking Horton-Tucker is a risk Miami should consider taking. The Heat are in no place to worry about low floors when there are high ceilings that could be reached.