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But at least one person who spoke out was not at all appalled by the comparison. That’d be Cheap Dwyane Wade Jersey himself.
“He can be better,” Wade posted on Twitter last week. “America, here is your number 1 pick!”
Very well could happen.
He can be better. America here is your number 1 pick! Ayo @VicOladipo we’re all built from the same cloth 💪🏾 That Tom Crean cloth! https://t.co/ZTXg9VpZU7
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 30, 2020
We’ll find out Wednesday night when the NBA Draft commences at 8 p.m. from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Conn. This year’s draft will be conducted virtually, thanks to the unrelenting coronavirus pandemic.
But while there will be no stage walk or hug from commissioner Adam Silver for Edwards, most NBA draft analysts expect Edwards to be the first player off the board. The Minnesota Timberwolves are holding that selection. If not, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound guard from Southwest Atlanta is expected to be, at the very least, a lottery pick.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be a red-letter day for Edwards and his family. But No. 1? Now that would very big deal.
Even the great Wade had to wait to No. 5.
“I don’t really care about stuff like that,” Edwards said of the prospect of being the first player drafted. “Whatever team’s willing to take the chance on me, I’m just ready to go in and give it my all.”
The Miami Heat has some offensive woes to address
As presently constituted, the Miami Heat are certainly capable of defending its Eastern Conference crown and making another run to the NBA Finals. Who it faces should it get there is another story.
The Los Angeles Lakers were a cut above Miami when the two teams last met in October and the gap grew wider over the offseason when it added two sixth man of the year candidates and Marc Gasol to an already stacked roster.
Across town, the LA Clippers possess an equally imposing roster with two superstars and a very talented supporting cast.
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The task of identifying the Heat’s shortcoming as a legitimate championship contender is quite easier than would be to address it.
Whereas Miami ranks eighth in the league in team defense, it currently stands 22nd on offense.
Comparatively, the defending champion Lakers are 5th on defense and offense.
It has become a regularity when the Heat play that it will go through scoring droughts. Is the answer James Harden?
From a talent standpoint, without question Harden would immediately elevate the Heat’s overall offensive efficiency.
No single player in the league has been as devastating a scorer as Harden since, arguably, Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles in 2013.
There are two problems with adding him, though.
Any package Miami would send to Houston would need to include both rookie sensation Cheap Tyler Herro Jersey and Cheap Duncan Robinson Jersey, the second most efficient 3-point shooter in the league.
Now, would a lineup featuring Cheap Jimmy Butler Jersey James Harden, and Bam Adebayo be enough to unseat the Lakers? Possibly, but it would require Miami to mortgage its foreseeable future as a result. That’s a pretty big gamble.
The second problem is the fit with Harden and the Heat seems less than ideal.
Harden is accustomed to having the ball in his hands for a majority of the shot clock, whereas Miami relies on a heavy amount of ball movement to initiate its offense.
Off the court, his reputation precedes him as a “man of the evening” who has been known to attend a strip club or two. With a burgeoning nightlife like the one South Beach has to offer, could you imagine the level of distraction the Beard would become almost immediately?
People care to make light of the whole “Heat Culture” tagline that was somewhat forced down the national audience’s throat last season in the playoffs, but if there was one thing learned from the pairing of Jimmy Butler-Miami a few summers ago, it is very much a real thing.
It takes a workhorse to thrive in the Pat Riley system.
For every Cheap Alonzo Mourning Jersey, there is a Cheap Hassan Whiteside Jersey or Cheap Jamal Mashburn Jersey who is perfectly content approaching the season in cruise control. Harden seems to fall more comfortably under that second classification of a player.
The easy solution to Miami’s offensive woes would be for Jimmy Butler to distinguish himself as a consistent and dominant go-to scorer. For whatever reason, that hasn’t been the case.
Butler will have his moments, as he did in the NBA Finals, where he can completely take over a game and elicit the type of memories that transformed South Beach once upon a time to Wade county. The following game, however, he falls back into the type of second banana role more befitting of what Philadelphia and Minnesota featured him as during his stops there.
Butler’s current scoring average to date this season is 13.8, leaving him roughly tied with Cheap Goran Dragic Jersey as the second-best option on offense to leading scorer Cheap Bam Adebayo Jersey at 18.6.
Miami has a decision to make.
With an equal blend of exceptional young and veteran talent, will the franchise maintain an eye for the future or trade-off its young assets for a player along the lines of Victor Oladipo and really swing for the championship fences?
For now, it appears unlikely the Heat will be able to have its cake and eat it too.
And, if there is one thing everyone knows about team president Pat Riley, it’s that the word patience is not in his vocabulary. It was a fork in the road moment when Miami first learned it lost Cheap LeBron James Jersey back in 2014 and Riley was left to pick up the pieces.
It was a fork in the road moment in 2001 when the team had just traded Jamal Mashburn and PJ Brown for Cheap Eddie Jones Jersey and Anthony Mason before getting sucker-punched with the news that team centerpiece Alonzo Mourning had suddenly been diagnosed with a rare life-threatening kidney disease.
NEXT: NBA: 5 way-too-early Most Improved Player candidates for 2021
Yet again, we have reached another fork in the road moment. What will Pat Riley do?
Edwards going first would be an especially big deal to the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs have never had a men’s basketball player go No. 1 in the draft. Even Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins – the “Human Highlight Film” — went third to the Utah Jazz, who promptly traded him to the Hawks.
While Georgia basketball doesn’t have the greatest of track records when it comes to on-court success, the Bulldogs have held their own over the years with the draft. They’ve had seven first-rounders, including four top-10 picks topped by Wilkins’ selection in 1982. Georgia’s other first-rounders include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (No. 8 in 2013), Jarvis Hayes (10, 2003), Willie Anderson (10, 1998),Cheap Alec Kessler Jersey (12, 1990), Vern Fleming (18, 1984) and Jumaine Jones (27, 1999).
“He wants to be number one and I want him to be number one,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said. “But at the end of the day, the thing I want for Anthony Edwards is to be in the right environment, where he has a head coach that’s going to invest in him in a big way. … My hope (is) he gets a coaching staff that’s going to spend time with him.”
Hawks want to win, not rebuild
Edwards going No. 1 would make him first Atlanta citizen to do that since Dwight Howard in 2004. He’d also be just the third Georgian to receive that distinction, joining Kwame Brown of Brunswick in 2001.
What else does it mean? Zion Williamson, the top pick of the 2019 draft, signed a four-year contract reportedly worth $44.4 million. The No. 10 selection of last year’s draft, Kevin Porter, inked a $10 million deal. So, Wednesday will be a life-changing moment regardless of draft position.
Whatever that happens to be, it will represent a blessing not only to Edwards, but also to his sister, Antoinette, and brother, Antoine. They raised Edwards after their mother, Yvette Edwards, and grandmother, Shirley Edwards, died from separate illnesses in the same year not long after Anthony Edwards entered high school.
“I just want to show them that I’m a great kid off the court,” Edwards said of the NBA. “I’m always smiling, always happy, and I’m just a good spirit. … I’m ready to go and I’ll just be happy with wherever I fall.”
As usual, there was a pretty good debate raging in the days leading into Wednesday’s draft if, in fact, Edwards should be No. 1. There is sentiment that perhaps it should be James Wiseman of Memphis or LaMelo Ball of California, among others.
Meanwhile, Edwards said he worked out only for Minnesota, Golden State and Charlotte. Those happen to be the teams selecting one, two and three, pending potential trades.