The Heat thought there was such little chance of Duke forward Justise Winslow falling to 10th in the NBA Draft that Pat Riley never even spoke to him in the preceding weeks, let alone worked him out.
So what created this stunning and serendipitous turn of events, Winslow somehow remaining on the board until the Heat snagged him?
The top five players drafted --- Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, Kristaps Porzingis and Mario Hezonga --- were all expected to be off the board before Miami’s pick. But then the pieces started falling in place for Miami.
Four key developments that ultimately maneuvered Winslow to the Heat:
### One reason Sacramento Kings executive Vlade Divac surprisingly selected Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein at No. 6 ahead of guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who many considered a top-five talent, was Mudiay's refusal to work out for the Kings in Sacramento.
“I heard a lot of good stuff about Mudiay,” Divac said. “He refused to come here and work out and I just felt I didn’t know him enough to make a very important decision, so I just stuck with something I know. [Cauley Stein] does everything: blocking shots, rebounding. Tall guy, very quick.”
### That left Mudiay on the board at No. 7 for Denver, which really liked Winslow but had Mudiay rated higher and considered trading up for him. Had Mudiay been gone, many expected Winslow would have been the pick.
### Detroit’s Stan Van Gundy, who had the eighth pick, became enamored with Arizona forward Stanley Johnson, who most had rated behind Winslow.
“I understand the comparison with Justise, but that was not the comparison for us,” Van Gundy told reporters. “The choice was not between those two at the end. Stanley has versatility and physicality and a chance to be a very, very good defender.”
Detroit media reported that Van Gundy had narrowed his choices to Johnson and Kentucky guard Devin Booker.
“Justise is a very good player and a great kid,” Van Gundy said. “But the main reason people ask that question [about selecting him] is because he’s from Duke and they won the national championship.I'm just being honest, it's not like people sat down and analyzed their games.
"But when the last game was played this year, Duke was playing, and Justise Winslow was in there, so there's a little bit of a bump from that. I'm not going to get into anything that would [criticize] Justise. We just thought Stanley was the best player on the board at that point.
"We loved his mentality," Van Gundy said of Johnson. "He's won everywhere. California, I was born there, it's a rather large state, and he won four straight state championships in high school. He didn't do that in some tiny, out-of-the-way state. It's an incredible thing.
"Then, he went into a team that returned four starters at Arizona, from a final-eight team, and ended up leading them in scoring. This guy's record of success is incredible, and we're really sold on the fact that this guy wants to be great, and is willing to put in the time and effort to be great."
### The Celtics wanted to jump the Heat to select Winslow at No. 9, but Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan surprisingly turned down a Boston offer that included as many as six draft picks, including four potential first-rounders, according to multiple reports.
Jordan became enchanted with Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, whom he selected ninth.
“Maybe we were going too hard at it,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said of his trade pursuit with Charlotte. “There was a time when I thought, ‘Whoa, this is getting a little out of control.’ We’re putting a lot of eggs in one young player’s basket. So I’m not frustrated. In the long run, maybe it’ll be the best.”
Hornets coach Steve Clifford said Charlotte also considered Winslow and Booker. Hornets GM Rich Cho said the Hornets simply had Kaminsky rated ahead of Winslow.
“I don’t want really want to talk about Justise,” Cho said. “We drafted Frank. We thought Frank was the best available player.”
Charlotte Observer columnist Tom Sorensen ripped the pick, saying “the decision is as puzzling as any the Hornets have made.”
And so the Heat was left to celebrate Winslow dropping to them at 10, something they never saw coming.
“When you’re picking 10 but you don’t think this kid is even going to be close to you… and he drops down, you get some palpitations,” Riley said.
Heat owner “Micky [Arison] and Nick [Arison] started singing the Duke fight song, whatever it is,” Riley cracked. “They’re pretty excited with all the connections they have with Duke and that whole program we have great respect for. We’re very fortunate he got to us.”
A few things were clear from Tennessee guard Josh Richardson’s conference call with reporters Friday, a night after the Heat selected him in the second round, 40th overall:
1) Richardson is very pleased Miami took him. “Incredibly excited. Miami’s a great program.”
He said his family and friends at his home during the draft “kind of started freaking out. It’s setting in now.”
2) He thinks a lot of his defense and with good reason; he was a defensive All-American last season.
“I just know the way the Miami Heat likes to play defense,” he said. “They like to guard and get into people, and I think I kind of fit that mold. Being able to learn from somebody like Dwyane Wade is huge. I think I can come in and give us some great defense and knock down some open shots.”
3) He believes he has improved his three-point shooting, evidenced by the fact that he shot 36 percent as a senior last season after shooting less than 25 percent on threes in his first two seasons.
The reason for his improvement?
“It was being in the gym every day,” he said. “I made tweaks. I think I can be a solid three-point shooter at the NBA level. I’m a way better shooter than I was in college. My form is different.”
At 6-6, Richardson said he also offers “great playmaking ability to get guys open shots. I make great decisions when I’m on the court.”
Tennessee needed him to play some point guard last season and that “showed my versatility, how good a ball-handler I can be,” he said.
He auditioned for the Heat in Miami on May 28 and met afterward for 30 minutes with Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra.
### The Heat has begun filling out a roster that will join Richardson, Winslow, James Ennis, Tyler Johnson and Shabazz Napier (health permitting) on the Heat’s Summer League teams in Orlando and Las Vegas. Among the players added by Miami on Friday:
1) Northern Iowa 6-8 forward Seth Tuttle, the Missouri Valley Conference’s Player of the Year last season. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.9 rebounds and shot 60.4 percent from the field overall and 43.2 percent on threes (19 for 44).
2) Michigan State 6-0 point guard Travis Trice, who led the Spartans in points (15.3) and assists (5.3) as a senior while shooting 39.7 percent overall and 36.9 on threes.
3) Davidson 6-4 guard Tyler Kalinoski, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year who averaged 16.7 points and shot 42.3 percent from three-point range (91-215).
### On ESPN.com, Chad Ford gave the Heat an A-plus. His assessment: “Winslow landing at No. 10 reminds me a lot of when Kawhi Leonard fell to the Spurs at No. 15 in 2011. Some things are meant to be for both player and team. Winslow is a perfect fit, as a player and a person, into the culture Pat Riley has built in Miami. He’s not only going to thrive there as a player, he’ll have a chance to win now surrounded by Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic.
“While Winslow isn’t the type of player that carries a team offensively, he’s the glue guy that makes everyone better, does all the little things and plays with toughness. He has a high basketball IQ and is relentless at working on his game and getting better. I think he could be a Leonard-type player someday.
“Richardson is a versatile, athletic guard who can play the 1 and 2. He was another draft sleeper for me. The Heat just seriously upgraded their wings.”