Wednesday June 25th, 2014

The Hornets selected Shabazz Napier with the No. 24 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday, which they reportedly traded to the Miami Heat in exchange for the No. 26 pick and a second-round pick. Here’s a look at Napier and how he fits with Miami:

Bio: UConn | Senior | Point guard

Vitals: 6-1, 175 pounds

2013-14 stats: 18.0 points, 4.9 assists, 5.9 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 42 FG%, 40.5 3FG%

Strengths: Leaving Connecticut with two NCAA titles, the 22-year-old Napier is a proven winner and intense competitor who looks as NBA-ready as any point guard in the crop. He’s a versatile scorer who shoots very well from the perimeter -- which helps offset his lack of high-grade explosiveness -- and is also an excellent defender. He’ll rebound and do the little things to help his team succeed.

Point Forward
2014 NBA draft: Point guard rankings

Weaknesses: Lacking the size many teams value in their ball handlers, Napier has to prove he can cut it physically. Although he’s improved as a passer under Kevin Ollie, he’s still a shoot-first player facing questions about how well he can distribute in the NBA. Though he can light it up, Napier has bouts of streakiness where he’ll put his head down and look for buckets. Can he become more than a spark off the bench?

Team Fit: For a minute, it looked like Shabazz Napier would reunite with former UConn teammate Kemba Walker in Charlotte. Instead, the NCAA champ is off to Miami. LeBron James once tweeted that Napier was the best point guard, and with poor point guard play in the finals, fills a big need for the Heat as they work to woo back LeBron. Napier’s a gamer who can score and contribute in several ways, and he should be ready to log minutes off the bat for the Heat. The question is who’ll be playing alongside him.

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