How Miami Came to Own 16 First Round Picks in 4 Drafts
Ben Simmons may be the best first round pick Miami has had, but he's just one of 8 in the past two years
I can't decide whether it's impressive that Miami has managed to trade for so many first round picks, or sad that so many GMs just keep giving them to him. It's honestly almost unbelievable how this has unfolded over the past 18 real-life months. Let's take a trip down memory lane and find out how Miami has found themselves in this enviable position.
Trade Deadline, 2018 (August 2016 IRL)
Yeah, we have to go this far back. Now, to be fair, at this time there were two deals made that are important for this article, but they aren't really part of Silo's first-round pick craze. Some of the picks he was acquiring around this time he used in other trades (for instance, he had the 2019 MIL 1st rounder, but traded that away to acquire Serge Ibaka). In any case, it's important to know how it all started.
Milwaukee was actually a playoff team this season, and so they decided that Kyle Lowry was the player they needed to help their playoff run (spoiler alert, he wasn't). Miami gladly sold him off, and received Joe Jackson and the 2020 MIL 1st. Then, in one of the most confusing trades I have ever seen in this league (seriously, go look at this monstrosity), Miami sent out Rudy Gay and got back the 2018 NYK 1st (Top 10 protected, this becomes important later) and the 2020 NYK 1st. DISCLAIMER: This trade was made prior to Stockton's arrival as NYK GM. This trade was made by, you can't make this shit up, "TrashCanMan."
Okay, I'm going to go on a short tangent here. This mess of a trade was clearly driven by MattyBriand as he wanted to acquire Blake Griffin. So he sends Kevin Love, filler, the 2018 NOP and 2019 NOP 1sts (the team that had JUST won the CSL Finals) to the Knicks, who sent Blake Griffin back to Indiana... okay I get that. Then, New York apparently decides that's not enough, and in a trade where they were clearly selling to Indiana, they flip-flop, and buy Rudy Gay from Miami, giving up two of their own picks to do so (they finished that season 33-49). Why not just send the NOP picks?! Or, you know, not acquire Rudy Gay?? Sigh...
Anyway, in a little over a week, Miami sent out Kyle Lowry (17.7 ppg, 6.8 apg, on 38% shooting in 32 games with Milwaukee and 2nd round exit) and Rudy Gay (21 ppg and 5 rpg for a team that finished 33-49), and received the 2020 MIL and 2020 NYK 1sts.
CSL Draft Night, 2019 (May 2017)
Karl-Anthony Towns or Kris Dunn, this was the question on everyone's mind before the draft began. Which of these talented youngsters would be the first pick of the draft? Well, this question wasn't on Miami's mind. Miami only had one pick in the 2019 draft, the 51st pick, which they used to select Jonathan Gibson, who's played all of 30 games in his CSL career. However, the real story of this draft for Miami happened on the eve of the draft, when perennial West contender Dallas came to them asking for a defensive big man. Serge Ibaka was sent to Dallas, and in exchange, Miami received the 2020 DEN 1st (traded to Dallas prior to my arrival there). This would be the 3rd 2020 1st round pick Miami stockpiled, which in addition to their own pick gave them 4 total first round picks.
Then another contender came calling, this time the New Orleans Pelicans, who were on their steady decline after winning the title a few seasons prior. They needed a point guard who wouldn't turn the ball over, and set their sights on Joe Jackson. The price for Jackson was the 2022 NOP 1st with top 20 protection.
Miami now has 4 2020 first round picks, 1 2021 first rounder, and 2 2022 first round picks.
2019-20 Regular Season (August 2017)
So now Miami has that taste of first round picks, and boy is it sweet. They want more. Luckily for them, there's a team out there that thinks Reggie Jackson is the answer at PG. A team that went 28-54 the year prior, and at the time of the trade, was sitting at 6-15. So sure, giving up their own first round pick was probably a smart decision right?
2022 MIN 1st (Top 5 Protected)
2022 MIN 2nd
Reggie Jackson (15 ppg, 1.7 A/TO ratio, 69% STOP, 44% shooting for the 23-59 Wolves)
2022 NOP 1st (Top 20 protected) - At time of trade, Pelicans were coming off a 58-24 season
Yeah... this trade didn't look good at the time and still kind of doesn't look good. Sure, the Pelicans are currently sitting at 10th in the West, but their pick being top 20 protected gives them quite the safety net, and AD is now back from injury. The Wolves pick is currently slated for the 5th pick (that protection sure looks nice then doesn't it? What's that? It's not protected anymore? sigh...).
Not much later, the OKC Thunder come calling, knowing that they need a defensive big man next to SJJ, who thinks he's a football player and comes off the court every time OKC is on defense. So they go after Gorgui Dieng, who is a fine defensive center actually. This trade isn't so bad, as OKC got lucky that Doug was bored with his team in Phoenix. OKC gave up their 2022 1st entirely unprotected for Dieng, who admittedly only played 18 games with them before being traded for Jordan McRae.
Then around the deadline, Memphis came calling, looking for defense (aren't they always?). They sent out Jamal Murray for Roy Devyn Marble and all the 2022 2nd round picks they can get. Murray isn't a pick, but he's important later. I want to say this trade was bad, but Murray was really unimpressive until getting playing time in Atlanta, and Andrei tends to prioritize fit over talent anyway. Whatever, Murray is important later, that's why I included this trade.
Miami has an insane draft as they finally are able to cash in on those picks they traded for all those paragraphs ago. They have the 1st overall pick from Milwaukee, thanks to the Kyle Lowry trade, their own pick at #2, the #8 pick from the Serge Ibaka trade, and the #16 pick from New York in the Rudy Gay trade. They select Ben Simmons (stud), Dragan Bender (yikes... Washington is very thankful for Milos), Daniel Hamilton, and Joshua Smith (looking like a very solid player).
Lesson here... don't trade future picks without protection. Looking at you Milwaukee, Ben Simmons could have been yours.
So now it's trade season for Miami (well... it's always trade season for them), and they are pick hunting. Who needs Jamal Murray and his 9.7 ppg on 44.8% eFG (yeah, effective FG%)? Oh, Minnesota, who only a few months prior traded for their PG in Reggie Jackson. This time they give up the protection on their 2022 1st, and give up their 2023 1st (Top 5 Protected... we'll see how long that lasts) to get Jamal Murray, who they manage to turn into Jakob Poeltl (solid work!). But now they are giving up their first round pick this year for sure (almost certainly going to be top 10 at the worst), and have also traded away next year's first.
Houston follows this up by sending Miami the DAL 2022 1st, and getting back four 2nd round picks. Sure, whatever. That Dallas pick is gonna be like 25th+, and Houston got like Jaron Blossomgame or Johnathan Motley or Edmond Sumner or idk some scrub from this trade, not going to try and make sense of the million trades Houston has made in the 2nd round over the past few seasons.
Oh yeah, and New Orleans sent their unprotected 2021 1st to Miami for the 2022 OKC and 2022 DAL 1sts they acquired not too long ago.
Miami wins the division, and yet still has the 8th pick in the draft from New York. In case you were wondering how Miami got the 2021 NYK 1st (I was... took me forever to figure it out), here's what happened. New York had sent two picks in that Rudy Gay trade, their 2020 1st unprotected, and their 2018 1st Top 10 protected. The 2018 pick was #9, so New York kept it, but they already sent away their 2019 1st prior to the pick falling under protection. The 2020 pick was already owned by Miami (and subsequently used to draft Joshua Smith), and so the next pick NYK had to give up was their 2021 first.
Good lord this whole situation is messy and ridiculous and Miami… wtf man?
So in the 2021 draft, Miami overdrafted Semi Ojeleye at #8, overdrafted Ding Yanyuhang at #13 (courtesy of New Orleans), drafted PJ Dozier at #15 (their own pick), traded the bust formerly known as Dragan Bender and got Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and the 2023 CLE 1st for their troubles.
2021-22 Regular Season
Honestly my brain is starting to hurt and these next few trades are too recent to review, so I'm just gonna list them.
The Indy Draymond trade debacle got Miami the 2022 TOR 1st and 2023 MEM 1st. Oh and they got Dennis Smith, the 11th pick of this most recent draft.
SAS hands them the 2022 GSW 1st on a silver platter for Hamilton.
Net Result (so far)
Basically, here's where Miami is at over the past few drafts:
Pick #1 from Milwaukee - Ben Simmons (still on roster)
Pick #2 - Dragan Bender (sent to Houston for pick 18 of 2021 draft and 2023 CLE 1st)
Pick #8 from Denver via Dallas - Daniel Hamilton (just traded for 2022 GSW 1st)
Pick #16 from New York - Joshua Smith (still on roster)
Pick #8 from New York - Semi Ojeleye (traded for Dennis Smith, 2022 TOR 1st, 2023 MEM 1st)
Pick #13 from New Orleans - Ding Yanyuhang (still on roster)
Pick #15 - PJ Dozier (still on roster)
Pick #18 from Houston - Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (still on roster)
MIN 1st - currently slated to be the 5th pick
GSW 1st - 15th pick
TOR 1st - 16th pick
MIA 1st - 23rd pick
MIN 1st - Top 5 protected, probably will be high lottery
MEM 1st - Unprotected, who knows but most likely somewhere between 12-20
CLE 1st - Top 20 protected, unlikely to fall in protection but this Cavs aren't looking the same this year
MIA 1st - Who knows
Here's what they've given up to get all these assets
Kyle Lowry - Did okay for Milwaukee, walked in FA
Rudy Gay - Did okay for New York for a few seasons, never got out of the first round
Serge Ibaka - Quality player for Dallas for a few seasons now
Joe Jackson - Still playing for NOP, in and out of starting lineup
Reggie Jackson - lol
Gorgui Dieng - Played 18 games for OKC, turned into Jordan McRae
Roy Devyn Marble - Always seemed to be liked more by other teams than the team he's actually on
Jamal Murray - Kind of cheating to put him here as they gave up RDM to acquire Murray, but worth mentioning. MIN turned him into Jakob Poeltl
A bunch of 2nd round picks
And that's seriously it! Some of these trades that they made were products of previous trades. For example, Semi Ojeleye was only on the Heat because of the Rudy Gay trade. They gave up the 2022 DAL 1st (acquired for 2nds) and 2022 OKC 1st (acquired for Gorgui Dieng) to get the 2021 NOP 1st. Daniel Hamilton was acquired in the Serge Ibaka trade, and turned into the 2022 GSW 1st. I know that this article has gotten kind of long-winded and I'm starting to ramble, so I'll just make my point now and call it a day:
Can we please all learn our lesson and stop trading Miami 1sts?