It's no secret that despite brief flourishes of productivity - almost exclusively Joel Anthony - the Miami Heat could use an upgrade of some kind in the frontcourt. Chris Bosh isn't a traditional interior banger, the trio of Juwan Howard, Erik Dampier and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are all in the twilights their careers and absence of Udonis Haslem for most of the season didn't help either. With the uncertainty of what the future salary cap could look like with a new CBA, Miami's most cost effective means of adding youth and depth inside could be through the draft.
Yes, after the top couple of bigs, the 2011 Draft Class doesn't offer much in terms of marquee frontcourt talent and none of those players will still be on the board when the Heat announce their first pick at No. 31 overall. Still, logic seems to indicate that Miami will at least entertain some of the remaining centers and power forwards that should be available at the start of the second round. If this tweet is any indication, it looks like one of those players is former Oakland center Keith Benson. (Note: Benson is currently projected as the 12th pick in the 2nd round by DraftExpress.)
So could a strong workout in South Beach mean Benson will be wearing black and red next season? From a physical standpoint there is a lot to like about this late bloomer. At the NBA Combine he measured out at 6-foot-10 without shoes, had a 7-foot-4 wingspan and big hands, all excellent numbers for a big man prospect. It's his rail thin 217-pound frame that is cause for concern, one that will have to add a good 20 pounds in order to allow him to operate in the paint at the pro level.
Certainly he won't be asked to shoulder a heavy percentage of the offense in the NBA, but provide a presence blocking shots and rebounding. He moves very well for a big man, shows great timing and patience when contesting shots and does show a good touch around the rim. Benson does show some potential as a mid-range catch and shoot player in the future as well. With that said, he struggles with holding his position on the block at both ends of the floor however and his intensity tends to be somewhat inconsistent.
Benson shows enough upside and presents enough intrigue as a defensive and energy specialist that he would be a worthwhile pick in the second round. For a Miami team that is already well defined at both ends of the floor, adding a young, long, athletic center who can contest shots and rebound with a little time and seasoning would be a nice draft day pickup.