Jack McClinton was anxious to make a good impression on Pat Riley, Eric Spoelstra, and other front office staff Wednesday as the Heat put him through his paces in a pre-draft workout -- so anxious he showed up on the court at American Airlines Arena an hour early.
What might look like brown-nosing isn't at all; that's just Jack, whose work ethic is nearly as well known as his ability to get the ball in the hoop. After all, he's always had something to prove: unwanted out of high school, abandoned at Siena, accidentally left off the media guide in his first year at Miami. And now he has to prove he can be just as useful in the NBA as he was setting the career three-point percentage record in the storied ACC.
His punctuality might have hooked the Heat as much as his performance, to the delight of Miami hoops fans anxious to keep watching him play for the hometown team.
In drills open to media, McClinton hit 40 of 50 mid-range jumpers and then disposed of 36 out of 50 from three-point range against UConn's A.J. Price. He reported the rest of the workout, which also included UCLA forward Alfred Aboya and LSU forward Chris Johnson, "went good. I shot the ball well, played pretty good defense, competed."
Shooting, of course, is not the Heat's nor any other team's concern. The 6"1' McClinton must prove he can be more than a shot. No worries, says McClinton. "I'm approaching this like I'm the 500th pick in the draft with something to prove. [Teams] know I can shoot the ball. They want to see if I can put the ball on the ground. I've really been showing that."
Could it be enough? We sure hope so, because we're lazy and selfish and don't want to have to click back and forth between the Heat and whoever drafts McClinton. The Heat are certainly fond of McClinton, who's been around the team a lot thanks to his close friendship with forward Dorell Wright. Spoelstra even pulled him aside for a post-workout huddle to work on making his step-back more effective. Their picks, at no. 43 and 60, are in the vicinity of where McClinton's projected to go (of course, he's been projected everywhere from late first round to "never," so who doesn't?).
But the Heat already have James Jones and Daequan Cook, who suffice when healthy and functioning. Pat Riley isn't likely to take anyone based on a warm and fuzzy familial feeling, and the rebuilding Heat have a few needs beyond "shooting." That's obvious to anyone who saw them dismantled by Atlanta. As much as the city would love to see McClinton stick around, it wouldn't do any good for him if he's not needed.
Should the Heat pass on an available McClinton, it's not going to be because they weren't impressed. He's been performing well enough in workouts to go somewhere, possibly even New York. Still, we'd love to see him stay in Miami, so it won't hurt to build a shrine, light some candles, and fast until draft day.
Just a suggestion.