Former Tennessee Star Dalton Knecht Could Make An Instant Impact With Miami Heat

Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY

In a perfect world, the Miami Heat would find a plug-and-play contributor with the 15th pick in the NBA draft.

Dalton Knecht, a scoring swingman out of Tennessee, cracks the short list of this draft’s most NBA-ready prospects. And since he offers both lights-out shooting and the ability to create and convert scoring chances inside the arch, maybe he’d help fix this squad’s longstanding issues on the offensive end.

He has the outside stroke of a shooting specialist (93 triples with a 39.7 percent splash rate last season), but his offensive bag is too deep to fit such a narrow label. He can pressure opponents off the dribble, finish drives at the basket (or above the rim) and make the smart, simple reads to find open teammates. Net-shredding wasn’t the only reason he was a unanimous choice as the SEC Player of the Year.

Now, it’s possible, of course, that leveling-up to the NBA might require Knecht to fall into more of a support role. It’s also probable, at least early on, he’ll be often targeted on the defensive end.

Still, his shortcomings are things the Heat can probably live with, especially if they trust their developmental staff to help bring out his best.

Admittedly, there aren’t many mocks in which Knecht lasts until the No. 15 pick, but he usually doesn’t go much higher than that. And if anyone was going to slip in this draft, it isn’t hard to envision that player being a 23-year-old with fairly sizable concerns on the defensive end.

Zach Buckley works as a contributing writer to Inside the Heat. He can be reached at zbuck07@gmail.com or follow him on X @ZachBuckleyNBA.

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Zach Buckley

ZACH BUCKLEY