Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LeBron Suitors Chasing Shabazz Napier

LeBron's suitors--including the Miami Heat--should all be taking a good look at Shabazz Napier in the upcoming draft after LeBron's tweet about Napier being the best point guard in the draft:

LeBron has been very complimentary of Napier since the tournament and this is certainly not the first time he has publicly sung his praise. For a team looking to sign LeBron in the next few weeks, adding Napier could be a strong move. It would be a particularly strong move for Miami, who sorely lacks strong PG play with the disappearing act that was Mario Chalmers against the Spurs. I'd love to keep Norris Cole, and would be really upset to see him go; but, if that's what it takes to keep LeBron happy, then Miami should do it. There is almost no way that Napier falls to the 26 spot, so Riley is aggressively trying to move up to a pick in the late teens. Unfortunately, Miami has no assets besides Cole and a 2017 first round pick to flip into a higher pick in this draft. We'll see what Riley can pull off, though. He certainly fits the bill of the type of player that Riley targets in drafts (when he targets anyone at all rather than just flipping the pick for veteran free agents): a multi-year veteran college player who has developed his skills, overcome adversity, and had a taste of championship success. Napier is exactly that kind of guy. He isn't the uber-athletic point guard that would be great on the Heat, and struggles with on-ball perimeter defense; yet, scouts seem confident that he can develop better defensive habits just like Chris Bosh did when he came to the Heat.

Still, I don't want to see Cole go, but it's a small price to pay to lure LeBron back to Miami and set the tone for Wade and Bosh's opt-out decisions and probable pay cuts. I think I might prefer them to flip the 26th pick for Iman Shumpert if that deal is even on the table; something tells me Phil Jackson isn't going to do Riley any favors. It's a Cole World out there...