The next generation will be unveiled shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, when Commissioner Adam Silver (COVID allowing), begins to greet the league’s next wave in the first round of the NBA draft.
For the Heat, it well could be little more than a prelude to the June 30 start of free agency, considering their lone selection (at the moment) over the two rounds does not come until No. 27.
With a five-minute limit between selections and the requisite TV timeouts, that would mean a Heat selection some time after 10:30 p.m.
For now, it’s largely guesswork.
So one attempt at a best guess:
1. Orlando Magic: Jabari Smith, F, Auburn. Another oversized impact wing who could jumpstart what seems to be a never-ending Magic rebuild.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren, F, Gonzaga. A polarizing prospect because of a solid skill set and height, but also a frail build that raises legitimate concerns.
3. Houston Rockets: Paolo Banchero, F, Duke. An above-average scorer off the dribble who, at 6 feet 10, has a knack making plays for teammates.
4. Sacramento Kings: Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue. So of course the Kings take another combo guard, albeit one with promising explosion and quickness.
5. Detroit Pistons: Keegan Murray, F, Iowa. This could be the first part of a sequence that replaces Jeremi Grant’s offense (if he is dealt) with a multidimensional scoring threat.
6. Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, G, Arizona. Could be a logical replacement for trade-rumored Malcolm Brogdon, adding a 3-and-D element for the Pacers.
7. Portland Trail Blazers: Shaedon Sharpe, G, Kentucky. One of the best pure athletes in the draft, but a year away from the game leaves ample questions.
8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Lakers): A.J. Griffin, F, Duke. Exceptional 3-point shooter who also can operate as a secondary ballhandler, complementing Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum.
9. San Antonio Spurs: Jalen Duren, C, Memphis. A defensive anchor and lob threat who offers upside to rebuilding Spurs as one of youngest players in draft.
10. Washington Wizards: TyTy Washington, G, Kentucky. Wizards have been linked to trades of this pick, otherwise Washington could be an intriguing Bradley Beal complement.
11. New York Knicks: Dyson Daniels, G, G League Ignite. Knicks add elite defensive wing while hoping for a bounce-back season from Julius Randle.
12. Oklahoma City (from Clippers): Ousmane Dieng, F, New Zealand. A fluid combo forward who is a jump shot away from a value selection in this range.
13. Charlotte Hornets: Jeremy Sochan, F, Baylor. A versatile defender whose growth spurt gives him ballhandling capabilities on the front line.
14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Johnny Davis, G, Wisconsin. A determined scorer and proficient rebounder who evokes some Jimmy Butler with his game.
15. Charlotte (from New Orleans): Tari Eason, F, LSU. No, not the center the Hornets necessarily need, but his 7-2 wingspan and 9-foot standing reach could intrigue.
16. Atlanta Hawks: Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas. The upgrade over Kevin Huerter that the Hawks need to improve the offense alongside Trae Young.
17. Houston (from Brooklyn): Malaki Branham, G, Ohio State. A versatile scoring wing who could make it easier for Rockets to move on from Eric Gordon.
18. Chicago Bulls: Jalen Williams, F, Santa Clara. Utilizing the best-player-available approach here, Bulls reach for an elite 3-point shooter who is an upgrade on Coby White.
19. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kendall Brown, F, Baylor. If he plays as aggressively as capable, this could be a steal of the draft alongside Anthony Edwards.
20. San Antonio (from Toronto): Kennedy Chandler, G, Tennessee. A pesky defender who can complement Dejounte Murray on both ends.
21. Denver Nuggets: Mark Williams, C, Duke. Nuggets get backup prospect behind Nikola Jokic, ending DeMarcus Cousins era.
22. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah): Nikola Jovic, F, Serbia. An oversized playmaker who shoots the three well. A value pick at this stage.
23. Philadelphia 76ers: Blake Wesley, G, Notre Dame. Could work well with Tyrese Maxey once/if the 76ers have to move on from James Harden.
24. Milwaukee Bucks: Jaylin Williams, F, Arkansas. Insurance at power forward due to potential free agency of Bobby Portis.
25. San Antonio (from Boston): Patrick Baldwin, F, Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Five-star prep prospect who fizzled in lone college season presents value with high ceiling.
26. Houston (from Dallas): Dalen Terry, F, Arizona. Rockets, with their third pick of the first round, go for defensive presence to balance wing rotation.
27. MIAMI HEAT: Jake Laravia, F, Wake Forest. Next in the lineage of Max Strus, Duncan Robinson, able to offer more off dribble than Robinson. Heat love their shooters.
28. Golden State Warriors: Christian Braun, G, Kansas. Nothing wrong with adding more shooting to complement Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, while augmenting future.
29. Memphis: Jaden Hardy, G, G League Ignite. A streaky volume scorer who, with an upgraded 3-point shot, could further augment Grizzlies’ offense.
30. Denver (from Oklahoma City via Phoenix): MarJon Beauchamp, F, G League Ignite. A pick purely based on potential at this stage, with the defensive element already in place.