Former Lottery Picks Namechecked as Heat Trade Targets

DJ Augustin Rockets

Getty Houston Rockets guard DJ Augustin handles the ball during a game against the Phoenix Suns.

Don’t look now, Eastern Conference, but the Miami Heat are starting to resemble the team that made it to 2020 NBA Finals. After the shortest offseason in the history of major professional sports, injuries and COVID-19 conspired to keep them down last season, Erik Spoelstra and his crew have gotten back to squeezing the life out of their opponents on the regular.

As good as things have been during Miami’s 12-6 start, though, the team will still have its work cut out come playoff time. So it may behoove Heat president Pat Riley — who has never been afraid to deal — to consider a roster upgrade or two before the trade deadline.

As Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley sees it, the Heat could use an offensive-minded backup point guard, some support scoring/shooting and a bit more muscle in the pivot. Despite the team’s financial constraints, those are spots that Riley could probably address.

Here are the players that Buckley identified as targets to fill said roles — all of whom happen to be former lottery picks…

DJ Augustin

D. J. Augustin Comes Up Clutch For Orlando | Game 1D.J. Augustin connected on a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to lift the Orlando Magic to a 104-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Augustin led the Magic with a playoff career-high tying 25 points (9-13 FG, 4-5 3pt FG) along with 6 assists, while Evan Fournier tallied 16 points (7-18 FG) in the victory. Kawhi…2019-04-14T00:29:08Z

Kyle Lowry may be 35 years old, but his impact on the Heat has been palpably positive, even as his numbers have dipped from his All-Star form of a few years ago. When he’s off the floor, though, Tyler Herro has been forced to assume the ball-handling duties because Victor Oladipo is hurt and the Gabe Vincent show isn’t always pretty to watch.

Through 15 games this season, Vincent is averaging 3.9 points in 13.0 minutes per contest and posting an effective field goal percentage of just 45.6.

As such, Buckley has once again pitched Houston Rockets guard DJ Augustin as a depth option. And it’s not hard to see why. Now in his 14th year, Augustin isn’t the super-sub he once was, but he’s got the smarts, to be sure, and he is still a big-time threat from behind the arc, especially if you give him space.

Augustin has knocked down eight of his 15 three-point attempts that were wide open this season. And he’s at a respectable 37.5% from deep on the whole. He’s also a capable distributor, with a career assist percentage of 26.4 (Herro and Vincent are at 16.1% and 15.3%, respectively).

With Augustin on the court, Herro would be left to focus on what he does best, i.e. get buckets.

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Jeremy Lamb & Alex Len

Where scoring/shooting is concerned, Lamb was Buckley’s pick as a target. And while he’s no longer the guy who put up over 15 points per contest for the Hornets a few years back — and the torn left ACL, torn lateral meniscus, and lateral femoral condylar fracture he suffered in February of 2020 have combined to rob him of some finishing ability — the 29-year-old has been burning up the nets at a career-high rate.

Through 15 games, Lamb is making 42.2% of his three-point shots.

Lamb’s catch-and-shoot numbers have improved steadily in recent years. Nearly a third of his shot attempts in ’21-22 have been catch-and-shoot threes, which he’s knocking down at a 44.4% clip for the Pacers. He also continues to be solid from the mid-range. On shot attempts between 10 and 19 feet from the hoop, Lamb is 9-of-17 this season.

As for bringing in another bruiser, Buckley cited Alex Len as a possible pick-up.

Although the seven-foot center never made good on the potential that inspired the Suns to pick him fifth overall in 2013, he has proven himself as a player who can use his size to get rebounds, bully his way to a bucket occasionally and/or muddy up the game for opposing bigs.

This year, Len has converted on 85.7% of his shots within three feet of the basket. And his defensive rating of 103.1 is the top mark among Kings players with 100 or more minutes played.


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