Amid parade of prospects, Heat workouts not necessarily a tell regarding NBA draft plans

MIAMI – The workouts again are stealth, or at least as close as a team can come amid social media and agents with agendas.

So, yes, there already are voluminous lists of players the Miami Heat have worked out ahead of their potential selections in next week’s NBA draft, at the moment holding picks Nos. 15 and 43.

But for those who choose to ferret, there also comes a warning from Adam Simon, the Heat’s vice president of basketball operations and assistant general manager, who oversees the team’s draft.

So how influential in the ultimate decision are these workouts that have had players parading through Kaseya Center?

“I think it’s a very small percentage,” Simon said this week. “If you put your weight into just a workout, you could easily be putting too much weight into thinking that those are the player’s ultimate strengths or ultimate weaknesses.”

While the workouts are basketball, they in almost no way resemble NBA basketball.

By rule, they can’t.

“We’re not playing five-on-five,” Simon said. “It’s a three-on-three. And sometimes it’s two-on-two. And sometimes it’s one-on-none.”

Yet as much as teams downplay the workouts, they are part of an unceasing grind leading to draft night, which this year for the first time actually will be draft nights, with the first round next Wednesday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the second round next Thursday in New York at ESPN’s studios.

So for as much as is made about the workouts, Simon said the true advantage is the facetime, something beyond the speed-dating setting of the interviews at last month’s draft combine in Chicago.

“It helps us feel good about getting to know the player,” Simon said. “We spend time with the player, that he’s here. We see him in different capacities and different abilities to take in instruction.

“And it’s like everything else – it’s the combine, it’s the pro day, it’s the workout – I don’t think you put too much into it.”

Because of COVID exceptions for additional seasons and because of NIL money luring players back to campus, Simon said the sample size of game tape on some prospects is considerably greater than previous years.

But, Simon said, there also is the human nature of living in the moment, and getting to take in such moments such as lights-out shooting performances or players arriving with skill sets exceeding what was shown on tape.

“I’d be lying to say that a player that comes in and works out and does some things really well might not help you with your decision making,” Simon said. “We’re making decisions on what we see. And if you see a player do some things in a workout, that might separate that player from another player that you’re trying to make a decision on. So it certainly could help.”

All while viewing with ample perspective, including the perspective of Dwyane Wade struggling in his Heat 2003 tryout and then going on to become the most iconic player in the franchise’s 36 seasons.

So, yes, the names are out there of those linked to Heat workouts, but whether included on the list or otherwise, making the list does not necessarily mean making the grade.

“You’re going to make a decision where to rank a player,” Simon said, “whether the player worked out here or not.”

NBA draft prospects listed as having Heat workouts according to the workout tracker at HoopsHype.com and other outlets:

Kenan Blackshear, Nevada, SG

Adem Bona, UCLA, C

Carlton Carrington, Pittsburgh, SG

Devin Carter, Providence, SG

Isaiah Collier, USC, PG

Pacome Dadiet, Ratiopharm Ulm, SG

Mohamed Diarra, North Carolina St. C

Marcus Domask, Illinois, SG

Zach Edey, Purdue, C

Jesse Edwards, West Virginia, C

Boogie Ellis, USC, PG

Quinn Ellis, Trento, PG

Tristan Enaruna, Cleveland St., SF

Joseph Girard III, Clemson, PG

Sam Griffin, Wyoming, PG

Ron Holland, G League Ignite, SF

Shane Hunter, Nova Southeastern, PF

Keshad Johnson, Arizona, PF

Dillon Jones, Weber St., SF

Yves Missi, Baylor, C

Tristen Newton, UConn, PG

Noah Penda, JA Vichy, SF

Zyon Pullin, Florida, PG

Tyler Smith, G League Ignite, PF

Jaylon Tyson, California, SF

Kel’el Ware, Indiana, C

Jaylin Williams, Auburn, PF