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Heat’s Richardson, Bryant second the notion of a second night of the NBA draft

MIAMI — Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant do not consider themselves afterthoughts. But when it comes to the NBA draft, that essentially was where the two Miami Heat veterans stood with their introduction to the league.

In that respect, count both in favor of the proposal to expand the two-round NBA draft to two nights starting this year.

Taken in the second rounds of their respective draft classes, Richardson and Bryant praised the proposal as a means of elevating the distinction of being a draft pick even if taken after the highlighted first 30 selections.

“They were in a commercial when I was picked,” said Richardson, selected at No. 40 by the Heat out of Tennessee in 2015. “I saw my name scroll across the bottom of the screen. That was it for me.”

Richardson has gone on to a nine-year career with more than $60 million in earnings.

“Mine wasn’t in commercial,” said Bryant, taken out of Indiana at No. 45 by the Utah Jazz in 2017. “But I only saw it for a quick second.”

Bryant has gone on to a seven-year career, with more than $30 million in earnings.

While picks are spaced five minutes apart in the first round, there is only a two-minute window for teams to announce second-round picks, a portion of the draft that often does not end until after midnight.

With a separate showcase, it would afford the league the opportunity to tell stories of those beyond the first 30 selections, with second-round picks increasingly contributing in a league limited by salary-cap and luxury-tax constraints. A second day of the draft also could allow teams to calibrate for second-round selections, as is the case with the NFL’s three-day draft.

“I feel like it could be cool to give them their own day, let the commissioner come out and say their names, because he’s probably tired by the time they get to us,” Richardson said.

Indeed, with the single-night draft, Commissioner Adam Silver has ceded the second-round announcements to Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum.

“I think that would be a good thing, having their own selection day, just so they can get some time,” said Bryant, with the Heat hosting the Orlando Magic on Friday night at Kaseya Center, in the third game of a four-game homestand. “And you never know in the second round. You can always find a diamond in the rough and always have that memory to always remember it.”

Richardson was at home in Oklahoma when his selection was announced.

With a two-day draft, players expected to go in the Top 50 could find themselves with invitations for the selections at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

“I think it would be great,” Richardson said, “just to give their pick some more weight, give it a little more of a spectacle. Maybe even more of ’em will start going to New York, to the green room, if they have their own day.”

More and more, teams are offering guaranteed contracts to second-round picks, which is not a requirement, unlike with first-round selections.

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“I remember, when you were a second rounder, you didn’t have a guaranteed contract,” Bryant said. “It was always coming down until the last day of training camp.”

Among second-round selections who have contributed to the Heat over the years have been Richardson, Mario Chalmers, the late Rasual Butler, dating all the way back to Matt Geiger, Sherman Douglas and Grant Long at the team’s 1988-89 inception..

As for face time in a second-night second round, it could take a while for the Heat to enter that realm.

The Heat are without second-round picks in the next seven drafts, with most utilized to shed salary in regard to the salary cap and luxury tax. Among the impending destinations for Heat second-round picks are New York, Atlanta, Cleveland, Indiana, San Antonio, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City.

The Heat hold their first-round pick in the 2024 draft, unable to deal it ahead of the draft due to the trades of future first-round picks.