Top Ten Draft Picks in Miami Heat History

After a couple magical years, this past Miami Heat season was a bit of a bummer. Too many injuries and missed games led to the Heat getting clobbered by the eventual champion Boston Celtics.

But the great thing about sports is there’s always next year. With the NBA Draft coming up June 26 and 27, we thought we’d take a look back at the ten best Miami Heat draft picks in team history.

10. Caron Butler #10 pick in 2002

I was tempted to already have Jaime Jaquez on the list, but let’s make sure he’s with the Heat for more than one season before he cracks the top ten. Instead let’s start with Caron Butler who was on the Heat for a grand total of two seasons before getting traded in a package for Shaquille O’Neal. In his short time with the Heat, Caron made the all-rookie team and brought the Heat back to the playoffs, before making a couple all-star teams with Washington.

9. Josh Richardson #40 pick in 2015

Second round picks are supposed to be just happy to make the team, but Josh Richardson kept getting better and better in his four first seasons with the Heat. In 2019 he even led the team in scoring while taking on the toughest defensive perimeter assignment. He eventually got traded for Jimmy Butler, but got a return engagement to the Heat this past season before an injury cut his and the Heat season short.

8. Grant Long #33 pick in 1989

In the franchise’s very first draft the Heat found themselves a keeper in the second round with power forward Grant Long. A grizzled rebounder, and hard nosed defender with a consistent mid range shot, Long lasted six seasons with the Heat. You still see his name in the Heat record books in the top ten in franchise history in games played, rebounds, and steals.

7. Mario Chalmers #34 pick in 2008

When Super Mario was selected, nobody in Miami cared. Everyone instead was psyched about #2 overall pick Michael Beasley to see how he would mesh with Dwyane Wade. But right from opening tip-off Chalmers made his mark, starting all 82 games in his rookie season. For seven and a half seasons, Chalmers was a Heat mainstay, winning two championships as the team’s starting point guard.   He’s still in the top five for most games, assists, and steals in Heat history.

6. Steve Smith #5 pick in 1991

Though he only played three seasons for the Heat before stupidly being traded for Kevin Willis, Smitty made a major impact. In the three seasons before Smith was drafted, the Heat had never won more than 24 games. Smith’s fast break offense and clutch late game shooting took the Heat immediately to the playoffs. If he would have stayed in Miami, he would have definitely made an all-star team as he eventually did with the Atlanta Hawks.

5. Tyler Herro #13 pick in 2019

A lot of people are tough on boy wonder, but it would take quite an argument to kick Tyler Herro out of the top five of best all time Miami Heat draft picks. In five seasons Herro has already won a sixth man of the year award, averaged over 20 points a game in three straight seasons, and made a handful of game winning shots.

4. Rony Seikaly #9 pick in 1988

The Spin Doctor was the very first draft pick in Miami Heat history and went beyond all expectations. He earned the NBA Most Improved Player Award in his second season, is in the franchise top ten for most games played, rebounds grabbed and points scored. Most amazingly DJ Rony Seikaly once grabbed 34 rebounds in a single game in 1993. No NBA player has accomplished that feat since.

3. Glen Rice #4 pick in 1989

G Money never did make an all-star team with the Heat, nor win a championship (both accolades would come later). Over six Miami seasons the sweet shooting small forward averaged over twenty points a game, took the Heat to the playoffs and scored the third most points in franchise history. Any old school Heat fan can tell you exactly where they were when Glen Rice scored a then-franchise high 56 points against Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando Magic.

2. Bam Adebeyo #14 pick in 2017

It seems a little early in his career for Bam already to be this high on a list of best ever Miami Heat draft picks, but take a look at the franchise career leaders in just about any stat and Bam is already in the top ten. Adebayo has played the fifth most games in Heat history, grabbed the fifth most rebounds, scored the fifth most points, and dished the seventh most assists. Nothing is given in life of in sports, but I’m willing to bet Bam will climb higher into the record books and add to his three all-star appearances and clutch playoff moments.

1. Dwyane Wade #5 pick in 2003

As though there were any other option. Not only is Wade the only Heat draft pick to make 13 all-star teams, lead the league in scoring and get a Finals MVP, he’s also the only player in Heat history to have a sculpture made of him to stand outside the arena. Here’s hoping in 2044, this year’s Heat draft pick is successful enough to get his own statue.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits the Jitney blog. He is the author of the novels Yo-Yo & The End of the Century.