Posts Tagged ‘Joe Ingles’

A Preliminary Look at the Upcoming Miami Heat Free Agency

May 9th, 2017 3 comments
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The Miami Heat pulled off perhaps the greatest turnaround in NBA history this past season, under perhaps the most challenging of circumstances. After losing Dwyane Wade to free agency and Chris Bosh to a possible career-ending medical condition, it was always going to be an uphill battle. Persistent injuries along the way only increased that burden.

And yet, despite an exasperating 11-30 start to the season, the Heat pulled off an unprecedented reversal in its final 41 games, posting a 30-11 mark that was good for second-best in the league and made it the first team to ever fall more than 12 games under .500 and climb all the way back to even.

During those final 41 games, despite the lack of a (current or former) All-Star anywhere in the rotation, despite losing more games to injury than any other team, despite being forced to count a comically-undersized undrafted rookie and a pair of discarded free agent retreads among its starters, the Heat posted an astounding offensive efficiency (109.7 points per 100 possessions) that would, projected over the course of a full season, have ranked second best in its history.

They did it by employing the most fundamental of basketball principles: drive, and kick.

The Heat drove to the basket more than any other team in the NBA this season (35.1 times per game), and no single pair of teammates did it more frequently than Goran Dragic (11.9 per game) and Dion Waiters (11.0 per game). Only two players in the league averaged more drives per game than Dragic (Isaiah Thomas and Dennis Schroder) and only two others more than Waiters (John Wall and Russell Westbrook).

What made the philosophy work so well for the Heat was not that they were lethal scorers at the rim. They weren’t. Waiters, in fact, shot a rather awful 42.8% when driving this season. What made it work so well is that they both passed so much. When they drove, they passed the ball a combined 44% of the time.

Dragic and Waiters each became exceptionally proficient at collapsing the defense to stop their penetration, then passing back out to create open looks for teammates — which for the Heat led to numerous easy chances at the rim for Hassan Whiteside, and tons of open 3-pointers for its well-spaced perimeter shooters.

So, with such a strategy, it would make sense that the Heat’s 3-point shooting success would correlate strongly with its overall success. Miami shot what would be an NBA-best 41.0% on 3-pointers in its 41 wins, and what would be an NBA-worst 31.7% in its 41 losses.  Read more…