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LeBron James happy Heat traded for Shabazz Napier

Jun 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Pat Riley said late Thursday night in Miami — after his Heat had traded up to get UConn point guard Shabazz Napier in the draft — that he went after Napier because he liked Napier’s game. Because he’s competitive and a “winner.”

It had nothing to do with the fact LeBron James wanted Napier.

Nope. Not one bit. Why would you even think that?

Still, LeBron was pretty pumped about the selection.

Nobody thinks Napier is the answer to Miami’s roster issues, certainly not Riley or Lebron. Fixing Miami starts with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade opting out and taking less money. They have until Monday to make that announcement.

But in the short term, the Heat just a guy who looks like he should be a good backup point guard. That’s a start.

And by the way, LeBron likes him.

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  1. haaaaasoooooo - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    So they drafted a under sized pg who’s not a great distributor, because he’s a “competitor”? Awesome pick. I’m sure he will be a great backup. It’s always been said Mugsy Bogues was a great competitor too.

    • denverhoopdreams - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:58 AM

      As of when is 6’0″ undersized for a PG. It’s like, the bottom of the average. Once you drop below that, they’re undersized. Really, 6′-6’4″ is average, and then when you get into the project guys like Exum and MCW at 6’6″ that’s when you’re wondering why these guys aren’t playing SG (I.e. Westbrook) when they can’t distribute well.

      Just my .02.

      • denverhoopdreams - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM

        And wasn’t Mugsy like… 5’4″ That’s a 8 inch differential. Not even comparable.

      • heat256 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Isn’t Chris Paul 6’0″ or 6’1″ at most?

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      who cares that he’s undersized…

      he ONLY shot .411% against college competition in 4 yrs… CAREER .411% in college.

      NBA caliber players will punish him if that’s all he could do against college dude’s…

      Bron is gonna be SORRY…

      • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Shabazz Napier is a great, great PG and player that been groomed by Calhoun and Ollie, NBA ready off bench and 3pt gm is deadly. Kid led his team in REBOUNDS fyi, pts, assists, steals …. keep talking about his hieght. smh stuuupid

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      How is 6″1 an undersized PG?? That’s like your prototypical PG size.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

      They didn’t want a great distributor at PG. They needed more of offensive threat – a three point shooter – and defender – which is what Shabazz is.

    • kenyante - Jun 27, 2014 at 5:54 PM

      Allen Iverson was barely (maybe not even) 6’0″ and was one of the most dominant players in his prime.

  2. turnmymicup - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Weather the pick was based off LeBron liking him or not its still a good move. Napier is one of the few point guards in this draft you can plug in a system and contribute immediately. Scouts don’t like him but oh well. Say he already reached his ceiling. I think he will improve and become a problem for opposing teams.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      he BETTER improve as he ONLY shot .411% in 4 yrs of college ball…

      ya know, like against college players…

      those college players held him to 41% for his career…

      NBA caliber competition is gonna eat him up…

      he can’t find the bottom of the basket…

      • ss3walkman - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:40 AM

        Thank you for telling us his percentage not once, but twice

      • bhinrichs9 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        Told us his stats not once, not twice, not thre…ok just twice. Yes I know used, but fitting.

      • reesesteel23 - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        This is like the 7th or 8th time actually lol.

  3. djlexluger - Jun 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    He’s better than the guards they have on their roster now.

    • balsagna - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      That’s more of an indictment of the current PGs on the Heat roster than anything positive about Napier.

    • packergator - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:36 AM

      Well, the starting guards anyway; I don’t know that you can say that Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole are of starter quality.

    • campcouch - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:53 AM

      Chalmers and Cole are starters on a team with Wade,James and Bosh,nowhere else. There’s not much of a load placed on them to run the offense. I’m sure Napier will thrive with those three on the court,but I’m not sure another PG is what they needed.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      No kidding. He really is.

  4. silkyjohnson937 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    That’s nice to know but we’ve all just been waiting to see if he’s pooped yet today? If you could check on that and let us know a.s.a.p. that’d be great.

  5. balsagna - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    I think the intriguing question is whether the Heat actually had Napier ranked this high or that Lebron James is now their General Manager. This, to me, shows how serious the thought that Lebron could leave Miami is real. Why else would Pat Riley do everything he can to appease Lebron James, in any way possible, unless the threat was real.

    • blueintown - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:22 AM

      That’s ridiculous. LeBron James is not the general manager of the Miami Heat. As it stands, Dwyane Wade is the general manager of the Miami Heat.

      • balsagna - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:28 AM

        While humorous, I find it funny how much credit Pat Riley gets for orchestrating the coup that brought the Big 3 to Miami. It is funny because, much like this draft, he didn’t do anything. The big 3 wanted to play together, Miami is a great place to live financially and aesthetically, and Wade didn’t want to leave. Riley essentially figured out the contract situation. Lebron James just made a pick for the Heat. That’s hilarious….and we talk about the instability of other organizations.

      • packergator - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:34 AM

        An emotional, reactionary choice by Lebron (let’s be real here) based on his frustration about having no true PG. I’d question how much they’ll get out of Napier this next year. How much of a distributor is he, really?

      • kinggw - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        The Heat don’t need a distributor. I guess you haven’t seen a Heat game in the past four years, but their point guards aren’t asked to be distributors. They are asked to hit open threes and play good D, those are things Napier does well.

        Napier is more than just some guy Lebron wanted, he actually fits with what the Heat want to do. Riley likes winners. He likes college seniors even more, but keep creating narratives that make it seem like the Heat made this pick out of desperation.

    • kinggw - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      I think you are looking too deeply into this. The Heat needed to get younger. Chalmers probably won’t be resigned and Cole is being used for trade bait. They needed point guard depth and if it only cost you a couple of second round picks to pick a guy you need and someone your biggest star wants, it’s a no brainer.

  6. bucrightoff - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    If Coboclo is the “Brazillian Durant”, who is the “Brazillian LeBron”?

  7. packergator - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    Just like with fans, never let a player make your draft choice for you. I’ll admit it’s a hard call for the GM when your future HoF and best player who just opted out of his contract wants that guy.

    • papichulo55 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      So, you would ‘go by the book’ as the GM of the Heat, and disregard the opinions of the best player of his generation? It wouldn’t take long for that book of yours to be boxed up with the rest of your things and shipped to your house!

      • seansull83 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        Yes if it meant getting a center. Sorry but they don’t have a center, and bosh isn’t the answer. The Heat need a big man to get under the basket, throws some bows and rebound. Doesn’t have to score but needs to be a pain in the paint, like a Steve Adams, or DJ. This pick solves nothing, if the Heat looked for a big, I would actually be scared. They’ll probably look for a big that is on its last leg that no one wants and pay him nothing to ride the bench ala Greg Oden.

  8. jzone954 - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:32 AM

    He’s a stud pg who has won at the college level and is a perfect for for Miami.

    • balsagna - Jun 27, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Like any sport, players can be excellent in college and not have the necessary tools to do the same in the pros. Success in college doesn’t mean much of anything realistically, everyone drafted has had success up to this point in their careers.

    • asimonetti88 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Are you referring to Mario Chalmers or Shabazz Napier?

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      He’s a STUD that only shot .411% for his 4 yr college career…

      college competition held him to 41% over 4 yrs…

      NBA talent will eat him alive…

      • leeeeroyjenkins - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        We heard you the seventh time

      • antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        But he also shot .405 from three last year – I think that is going to factor more at the next level on Miami than his FG percentage from two. 25.5 PER. .591 TS%. .517 eFG%. His TS%, eFG% and WS are all greater than Marcus Smart’s, who went 6th. His PER and WS are better than Andrew Wiggins.

  9. patfic5 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I just hope he can eat now.

  10. jzone954 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    Had the Knicks made this selection we would be reading “the god Phil Jackson the god jackson bully!” Like we read after every draft pick the Knicks yesterday

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      context my man…

      The Heat have just been to four straight Finals, winning two… this pick did NOT help the Heat…

      Had Phil picked this dude, or ANYONE, it would help the bottom feeding Knicks…

      context is very important…

  11. jzone954 - Jun 27, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Miami targeted what they needed and that was depth at the pg, what’s the big deal? We needed a true point guard and we drafted one , should progress in the NBA and get better no?

    • seansull83 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      They need a center not a 3rd pg. Unless you know the inner workings of Miami’s front office they have 2 PGA if I’m not mistaken.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Chalmers is an unrestricted free agent. They only have Norris Cole at the moment.

  12. scoochpooch - Jun 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    Shabazz Napier = Miles Simon.
    ESPN refuses to admit this.

  13. montrealknowledge - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I hate the Heat, but this is a good fit… Been thing that since early April… He won’t have to do anything except not turn the ball over. If LBJ would have kept his mouth shut, they probably would have gotten him for free…. But now MJ was able to milk a few picks from Miami.. Jordan knows a little bit about star players getting what they want.

  14. 00maltliquor - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    Napier is going to make a lot of you guys look stupid.

    • seansull83 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      In 2 years he might, but he isn’t the guy that wins number 3 in Miami. This guy isn’t going to fix the center issue. Do you know what drive and dish pg hate, a center that take no crap in the paint. Look how Steve Adams bothered some of the Spurs rotations. That dude is a jerk, and that what Miami needs, a no nonsense center.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        They have a guard issue. They wouldn’t really need a no nonsense center if their guards could prevent penetration.

        It would also help defensively if LeBron wasn’t the only defender they have who can intimidate an elite point guard. In other words, it would’ve helped Miami a lot if James didn’t have to guard Tony Parker and could focus on Kawhi Leonard. I don’t know if Napier is that guy, but maybe he is – he is supposed to be a good defender.

      • seansull83 - Jun 27, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Guards would have easier time defending if the paint was locked up. I guess it’s hard to choose when both positions are horrid, but I would want a center. I think it has more impact on the overall game, a good defending pg will stopa few issues, a lights out center will plug up a lot more holes. Kids young, but so was Niris Cole 2 years ago, and it has bore any fruit.

  15. 00maltliquor - Jun 27, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Is there anything else you would like for us to do, your majesty?
    -Pat Riley

  16. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Collusion. I’ll crack up if LeBron leaves anyway, after Riles went out of his way to appease him by drafting Bazzy (who should have gone higher than this).

  17. jzone954 - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:52 PM

    @seamsull. They have one pg on Norris Cole , rio is a FA. Norris is probably being dangled out there for trade bait. That’s why reports are Miami trying to make a deal for Kyle Lowry happen.

  18. antistratfordian - Jun 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Miami probably won the draft with this pick – it was basically like drafting Napier and LeBron.

    • jkirby317 - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:56 PM

      Won the draft with a backup point guard? Uh oh… Bro Bron Bron must have given you some inside information.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 28, 2014 at 1:22 AM

      Hey, antistrat, I know you’re a huge Miami/LeBron fan and honestly so am I… but I’ve been trying to tell you that LeBron slipped on D last year and I just didn’t have some stats to back it up. Well, I can’t believe I didn’t know this before but Dean Oliver created a system for rating each player in the NBA individually based on how many points they gave up per possession defensively. If you search LeBron at basketball-reference and look under the advanced section you’ll see Ortg and Drtg.

      This year LeBron rated 105 defensively, worst rating of his career. His previous 3 seasons with Miami he finished at 102, 97, and 101… excellent numbers. This year he looked a little more average. Now offensively he rated 121 which is astronomically great… so I’m not trying to besmirch my man, LBJ. Just saying I noticed a decline this year and I hope it isn’t indicative of LeBron aging or losing athleticism or stamina.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:14 AM

        This is pretty funny. So you are this new to offensive and defensive rating? You think I haven’t been aware of these statistics for years and that I am not constantly aware of them now? It is among a group of statistics that I am always monitoring during the season.

        But there is one thing people new to these metrics need to get through their heads: There isn’t a defensive statistic that can tell us how well a player defends. This is a very well known issue in the stat community. There is no reliable defensive stat because good defense doesn’t always generate a number that someone can track.

        The basic problem with Drtg is that it’s “heavily influenced by the team’s defensive efficiency.” It assumes “that all teammates are equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as assuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

        As a consequence, big men will have the best defensive ratings, and a “corollary to this is that excellent perimeter defenders who don’t steal the ball a lot — for instance, Joe Dumars or Doug Christie — are underrated defensively by DRtg, and are prone to look only as good as their team’s overall defense performs.”

        And it also overrates perimeter defenders who gamble for steals and play in front of good defensive bigs.

        But LeBron is not a gambler – he doesn’t gamble for steals, he plays position. And he doesn’t play in front of a Roy Hibbert or a Marc Gasol. LeBron’s defense was elite. The Heat’s team defense did slip. We saw it in the NBA Finals when James was superb on Parker (and even Duncan) but Miami’s guards couldn’t keep any Spurs guard in front of them.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:16 AM

        This is pretty funny. So you are this new to offensive and defensive rating? You think I haven’t been aware of these statistics for years and that I am not constantly aware of them now? It is among a group of statistics that I am always monitoring during the season.

        But there is one thing people new to these metrics need to get through their heads: There isn’t a defensive statistic that can tell us how well a player defends. This is a very well known issue in the stat community. There is no reliable defensive stat because good defense doesn’t always generate a number that someone can track.

        The basic problem with Drtg is that it’s “heavily influenced by the team’s defensive efficiency.” It assumes “that all teammates are equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as assuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

        As a consequence, big men will have the best defensive ratings, and a “corollary to this is that excellent perimeter defenders who don’t steal the ball a lot — for instance, Joe Dumars or Doug Christie — are underrated defensively by DRtg, and are prone to look only as good as their team’s overall defense performs.”

        And it also overrates perimeter defenders who gamble for steals and play in front of good defensive bigs.

        But LBJ is not a gambler – he doesn’t gamble for steals, he plays position. And he doesn’t play in front of a Hibbert or a M.Gasol. Bron’s defense was as great as ever. But the Heat’s team defense DID slip. We saw it in the NBA Finals when James was superb on Parker (and even Duncan) but Miami’s guards couldn’t keep any Spurs guard in front of them.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:17 AM

        This is pretty funny. So you are this new to offensive and defensive rating? You think I haven’t been aware of these statistics for years and that I am not constantly aware of them now? It is among a group of statistics that I am always monitoring during the season. I live on Basketball-Reference.

        But there is one thing people new to these metrics need to get through their heads: There isn’t a defensive statistic that can tell us how well a player defends. This is a very well known issue in the stat community. There is no reliable defensive stat because good defense doesn’t always generate a number that someone can track.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:19 AM

        The issue with Drtg is that it is based on estimates and it’s also “heavily influenced by the team’s defensive efficiency.”

        It assumes “that all teammates are equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as assuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

        As a consequence, big men will have the best defensive ratings, and a “corollary to this is that excellent perimeter defenders who don’t steal the ball a lot — for instance, Dumars or Christie — are underrated defensively by DRtg, and are prone to look only as good as their team’s overall defense performs.”

        And it also overrates perimeter defenders who gamble for steals and play in front of good defensive bigs.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:20 AM

        The issue with Drtg is that it is based on estimates and it’s also “heavily influenced by the team’s defensive efficiency.”

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:20 AM

        …It assumes “that all teammates are equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as assuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

        As a consequence, big men will have the best defensive ratings, and a “corollary to this is that excellent perimeter defenders who don’t steal the ball a lot — for instance, Dumars or Christie — are underrated defensively by DRtg, and are prone to look only as good as their team’s overall defense performs.”

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:21 AM

        It makes the assumption that everyone on the team is “equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as assuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

      • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:23 AM

        It as sumes “that all teammates are equally good at forcing non-steal turnovers and non-block misses, as well as a ssuming that all teammates face the same number of total possessions per minute.”

        So, as a consequence, big men will have the best defensive ratings, and a “corollary to this is that excellent perimeter defenders who don’t steal the ball a lot — for instance, Joe Dumars or Doug Christie — are underrated defensively by DRtg, and are prone to look only as good as their team’s overall defense performs.”

        And it also overrates perimeter defenders who gamble for steals and play in front of good defensive bigs.

        But LBJ is not a gambler – he doesn’t gamble for steals, he plays position. And he doesn’t play in front of a Hibbert or a M.Gasol. Bron’s defense was as great as ever. But the Heat’s team defense did slip. We saw it in the NBA Finals when James was superb on Parker (and even Duncan) but Miami’s guards couldn’t keep any Spurs guard in front of them.

  19. haaaaasoooooo - Jun 27, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    If the Heat retained Lebron, then YES, it was the best draft pick. But if they meet the spurs again, Pops will find a way to exploit shabazz on pick and rolls. He will end up defending Diaw 4 ft from the hoop, and that’s no fun for a short guy. And I’m a Miami fan! And I actually believe shabazz is a better pg than Chalmers. But what they need is youth, rebounding, and outside shooting, in that order. (And that’s not counting the number one priority, resign Lebron).

  20. deezesoprano - Jun 28, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    I really think the heat should have kept Hairston…….Hes ready to score at the nba level and he has a great shot. Id run Cole, Wade,Hairston,bron bron, and bosh. They are still the kings of small ball…..napier will have problems against a chris paul and westbrook. As much as i hate miami tho, either 1 of the rookies fit the heat nicely. I just prefer hairston cuz he looks like he has killer instinct in him lol

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