It is fairly clear that Miami's "ready now" answers are not to be found in the form of another rookie player, but it never hurts to ponder the thought. With a young core of Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Daequan Cook, the Heat already have built a fountain of youth ready to pour out for seasons to come.
But what about a young big man that could take the reigns behind an older, more seasoned veteran Jermaine O'Neal? It wouldn't hurt right? There are a handful of those that seem to be available in the first-round.
The most NBA-ready center out of this elite few seems to be UConn's very own, Hasheem Thabeet. Standing at a daunting 7'3, 267 lb. stature, he has the physique to dominate in the NBA. His defense is very impressive and can be compared to the games of Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing and the 2009 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. He still needs work on his offensive game, but time and work can solve that issue.
Just imagine that 7-foot, 3-inch mammoth coming off the bench for Miami next season. I guess we can keep on dreaming because Miami hasn't had many great 7-footers in its recent history (cough Wang Zhu-Zhu, cough Mark Blount).
The other decent, but not-so-ready NBA prospects are B.J. Mullens and Tyler Hansborough. Mullens was Ohio State's 7'1 big man and the 6'10 Hansborough was North Carolina's star player the past few years.
Toughness is a probable question with these two guys, as the NBA is a much more physical game than the NCAA. Hansborough is arguably the tougher one of the two, but neither have shown that dominance that great centers dictate.
At any rate, I'm sure that the addition of Mullens or Hansborough would be better options than Mark Blount, Jamaal Magloire or Joel Anthony down the road.
According to ESPN, these three draft prospects are projected to go out in the top 20. It is unclear if Riley has the intention of trading up to the first-round, or the top 20 at that.
If Beasley materializes into that definitive SF/PF swingman, Chalmers matures into a mature NBA point guard and the rest of the team improves as a unit, then we can expect a better turn out than last season and forget about all these draft dreams.
There is only so much time before potential must turn into performance. Next season is will be that defining moment.