MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat entered Thursday night’s NBA Draft as observers after trading away their picks over multiple years to assemble the Big Three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
But by the end of the night, the Heat walked out with a prospect who dominated the Big West Conference last year. The Heat traded into the second-round and acquired the draft rights to 6’7” small forward James Ennis of Long Beach State.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, Ennis was the Big West Player of the Year after averaging 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 49.1 percent overall and 35.7 percent on three-point shots.
“We were happy to get into the draft. We feel that James Ennis, with his size and athleticism, has a huge upside and someone we hope can develop into a high-quality NBA player,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement, via the Herald.
Ennis is expected to join Heat player Jarvis Varnado in Orlando and Las Vegas for the NBA’s summer league games.
The Heat hasn’t made a first-round selection since Norris Cole two years ago. Miami still owes more first-round picks for the LeBron and Bosh deals. Miami is still owed a first-round pick from the Philadelphia 76ers, but it’s lottery protected for the next two years, after which it will become two second-round picks.
The Heat is all in for next season with the Big Three returning. However, after that is anyone’s guess as LeBron can opt out of his contract on July 1, 2014 and become an unrestricted free agent.