My Words for Miami Heat Beat

Simply Ballin
25 min readJan 28, 2023

Hi, with most of my written basketball content being on other platforms, I’ve decided to put all the articles from certain websites in one place and make this my portfolio.

I started writing for Miami Heat Beat in mid-April, where I broke down the playoff games, and this season, it’s a lot of film breakdown, Xs and Os, some random thoughts, player and game breakdown, and a weekly series.

This will mainly serve as a portfolio, but it will also be some extra thoughts and behind-the-scenes stuff that wasn’t particularly needed in those pieces — it might include some additional notes or tweets.

Twitter Threads

The majority of my work is on Twitter through a bunch of threads. Whether that’s individual game breakdowns or something more specific where I go in more depth. These film breakdowns typically go through individual plays.

Miami Heat Playoff Breakdowns

Here’s a link to all of the playoff breakdowns I’ve done for the 2022 and 2023 playoffs. Each breakdown focuses on offense and defense, where I pick out some interesting themes, trends, schemes, or anything interesting from each game.

2023–24 Content

Haywood NEEDS to Play More, Rozier C&S 3pt, Spacing & Doubles, 5/4/24

But that hasn’t been the case recently. He’s been looking far more confident and has been shooting with no hesitation like he’s Klay Thompson on a heater — the result? He’s averaging 14.8 points 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, shooting 66.6% on 4.5 3pt in his last six games. These are his 3pt games: 4/4, 3/3, 5/6, 2/6, 2/4, 2/4.

Top 3 Defense, Rozier’s Inefficiency, Bombing Away from 3pt vs Pelicans & Bam’s Spacing, 29/3/24

Did you know that the Heat have the third-best defense in the league since February? They have a 109.6 defensive rating in 24 games and they’ve had some very good defensive games. Stats and percentiles per Cleaning the Glass:

Jovic’s Defensive Growth, Lack of Spacing, Duncan’s ghost screens, 22/3/24

The question about Nikola Jovic getting consistent playing time always had to do with his defense. There were question marks on offense too, but there were always flashes and reasons to play him on that end just so you can give him the reps too. All of the stuff on offense almost never mattered if he was that unplayable on defense.

Non-existent Rim Defense, Jaime vs OKC, Struggling Offense vs Denver, 16/3/24

The Heat have been struggling to score points against the Nuggets in both matchups and going back to the finals. That’s been their issue all the time. Pretty much 90% of their issues start with Jimmy Butler not playing like the team’s best player. He finished with 15 points on 16 shots with two assists. No team is likely to win if the best player is having a performance like this.

How has Terry Rozier Looked So Far 13/3/24

What Rozier gives, even with the limitations, at a lower volume is enough. Having that as the secondary option to whatever Butler wants to cook is enough. You can live with a guy taking around 5–7 shots even if it’s average efficiency, but you can’t do so when it’s doubled that. Everything about efficiency and getting high-quality looks matters when considering the volume. I’m imagining how that would work with a playoff Jimmy and it makes sense and I’m talking myself into it.

Rozier’s increased role & how will everything fit with everyone back, 9/3/24

We’ve been seeing a lot more Terry Rozier in the last two games where he’s taken 17 shots in each of the games. We’re seeing him a lot more on the ball, running a bunch of pick-and-rolls and taking control of the offense. It had both great possessions doing so and at times, tried too much or settled for tough shots.

Delon’s Debut, Stopping Zion, Heat’s Defense, & Much More, 3/3/24

So, the Heat’s defense… that’s been getting better. Before the calendar year, the Heat were 12th on defense, per PBP Stats. Though a lot of the time it didn’t feel like they were that sharp defensively. That has changed and has only gotten better.

Looking at Past Miami Heat Deep Playoff Runs to Look at This Season, 10/2/24

Finally, all of this isn’t saying that the Heat are trash or that they have zero chance of making a run. They aren’t a bad team. There are reasons why they struggle(at least on offense) the way they struggle now and might not be in the playoffs. That all simply depends on Butler’s involvement in the offense along with Herro and Adebayo. So, there is context as to why they’re worse than they are.

Butler Flips the Switch with the 2nd Unit, Rotation Changes & Trade Deadline Thoughts, 9/2/24

And to me, a lot of it had to do with certain rotations and forcing certain things(this is a bigger topic, I’ll be diving into regarding their offense later this week). Even before the Rozier trade, it was clear Spoelstra wanted to run more Herro and Butler together and for the recent stretch, they played a lot. Against the Celtics, they only played together. Similar to the Herro with both Butler and Adebayo, that was a thing that wanted to be pushed and that didn’t fit as well.

What’s Going with the Heat — Mid-season Review, 29/1/24

Yet again, they find themselves in a hole where it’s looking awfully likely that they’ll be fighting for a play-in spot and have to go through all of that to attempt to have a run. And despite them being in that situation last year where they did make a run to the playoffs, it’s still not something to bank on.

How Kevin Love Rejuvenated His Career with the Heat, 10/1/24

Kevin Love showed his impact both on and off the court last year for the Heat. He came in and quickly became a starter in both the regular season and the playoffs, which gave them an option to size up. He gave them a viable option at the five to save those non-Adebayo minutes. He was important in the locker room and with the vibes of the team in general — Duncan Robinson talked about this on the JJ Redick podcast. Five Reason Sports also tweeted that Love announced that Robinson’s life turned around when both started to sit next to each other.

Running your Offense Through Duncan, 2nd Half Struggles & Thoughts on Butler Missing Time, 5/1/24

Most of the time, they’re giving themselves a lead in the first half. But unless that’s a significant lead to give them a cushion(as they did against the Magic), the games will either be losses or closer than they should’ve been because they can’t close games out. A lot of their issues start with the offense and more specifically, their turnovers. Having a 12% in the first half then jumping to 15% is significant.

Where do the Heat Stand Now, Rim Defense, Defending Maxey, 29/12/23

The more I watch, the better I feel. But there are still questions and that has mainly to do with the entire team being healthy and how will that look. Right now, they’re playing without Butler. We also haven’t seen Butler play well with everyone healthy either. We don’t know what that looks like yet. We know what that looked like early in the season where Butler tried to take over in the fourth and that didn’t exactly work out well.

The Tyler Herro Conversation Part 2: A Deep Film Dive into his start, 11/12/23

The thing about Herro and off-ball is he SHOULD be better. We know he’s better because we’ve seen him be better and more active. It’s also this that makes the fit with Butler worse than it should be. It’s also this why to me, currently he doesn’t have as much value or impact the offense as much. Fortunately, all of this comes down to his mindset and approach because the skill is clearly there.

The Tyler Herro Conversation Part 1: Role, Usage, Archetype, Impact, 10/12/23

I don’t necessarily agree or think that they’re better but they are different and they’re different because you replace that archetype of a player that relies on being a high-volume inefficient guy with players that do things differently. That’s not to say they are better individual players, but with the type of usage and role, those players have a higher impact on an offense.

Duncan Making Defenses Scared, Is This the Best Team in the Butler Era? Orlando!, 8/12/23

It’s interesting to see how everything flipped so far in this season(albeit a small sample). In previous seasons, it was usually the offense that fell off in games without Adebayo, but their defense remained quite easily above average. That’s nowhere near the case so far. They’ve had much more defensive issues with or without him.

Is There a Conversation to Have with Jaquez & Herro, 2/12/23

Oh, boy, that caused an outrage. I understand that it’s very early and premature. I don’t think we’re there… just yet. This has been a small sample size with Jaquez. Herro has proven more, has faced better defenses, has shown a lot of great stuff, and just overall there’s a bigger sample of seeing his game

Are The Heat More Legit Than What Most Thought?, 24/11/23

Jimmy Butler has been playing better than how he started. Since November 3rd, he’s averaging 25.1 points per 75 possessions on 55.2% eFG and 62.8% TS with 26.0% usage. The team also has a plus 14.2 net rating with him on. But there’s a slight worry in one of his stats that is still showing with his rim frequency being down to 24.2% in those nine games — that’s something to monitor.

What’s Going on with the Heat’s Scoring in the Fourth, 24/11/23

Did you know that for the season, the Miami Heat have a 117.1 offensive rating through three quarters? But they also only have a 113.7 offense overall. A big reason for that has been their awful fourth quarter. That drops all the way to 103.3 in the fourth — this would rank 25th this season.

Are the Heat “really” better without Herro, 17/11/23

I’m in the camp where there is some validity to the whole notion that they “play” better, but not necessarily that they’re better. I don’t think I can get behind a team being better without a player who has all the skillset that fits this team perfectly. The things Herro has makes them better.

The Evolution of Duncan Robinson — From Specialist to a Hooper, 17/11/23

I know that’s now how the award works. Tyrese Maxey has made a huge leap and he probably will win the award if he continues this. But, man, Robinson needs to be in consideration. He’s right in that conversation for most improved. What’s more interesting is this is just the beginning of the season. He continues to get more reps and more responsibilities. By the time the playoffs come, he might be even better with all those reps.

How Duncan Robinson Cooked Victor Wembanyama & the Spurs with Rim Pressure, 12/11/23

But there was one particular stat that stood out. He had 12(!) drives, went 3-for-6, got to the line once, and added 5 passes out of drives. That isn’t Robinson. I don’t know who that was playing. That’s the key to today’s breakdown. It’s not right to call him a 3-point specialist in this stretch he just had. He was doing everything else than make shots. He was more impressive putting the ball down than when he hit those four 3s. He added more through everything else that he was doing.

A Deep Dive into Adebayo’s Scoring, Post Touches & Passing vs the Hawks, 11/11/23

He’s been on a tear lately. He’s been cooking anyone from those spots. Do I wish he traded a lot of those shots into getting to the rim or less of that isolation in the post? Sure, but it has got to the point where the defense fully respects him. He has improved and developed this game so much that it’s no longer punishing the defense from helping off — now it’s actually punishing the defense from helping too much.

Bam in Delay Actions, Memphis Adjustment & Pull ups, 8/11/23

But it was also how he was being defended. The Heat like to have Adebayo at the top of the 3-point line in Delay actions. They did this a lot in this game with him near the free-throw line too. Memphis, however, defended that in an interesting way.

Butler in the Post & the Struggles, Duncan’s Cutting, Herro’s 1 Key Play vs the Lakers, 6/11/23

Unfortunately, it was again their offense that almost killed them in the fourth. This was even worse than usual. They had a 72.0 offensive rating in the fourth and that dropped to 53.3 with Jimmy Butler on in the last 7:24 minutes. Whereas the Lakers had a 116.7 offensive rating whilst having 70.9% TS. A big reason why was their usual offense slowing down to beyond slow levels. With both Jimmy Butler and Adebayo on, their offensive pace was 18.3 seconds. That needs to be fixed. Those are struggles that have nothing to do with personnel or talent.

Herro’s Passing, Duncan’s Rim Pressure, Bam’s Defense vs the Wizards, 3/11/23

It felt like this was one of their best games so far at that point too. This was also their first game of the season to have an above-average offense in a single game with 119.8 per Cleaning the Glass. One of the wildest stat is they had a 70.2% TS. Everything was clicking for them on that end of the floor. They even went 25-for-28 at the rim! I can’t remember the last time they made that many shots at the rim.

Plenty of Elite Defense, Bam Drawing Defenses, Poor Bench Offense With Butler vs the Nets, 1/11/23

There’s a reason why they had an 88.0 offensive rating in the fourth — though that went up to 107.1 with Jimmy Butler on the court. But that didn’t do much exactly, considering their defense was 121.4. Looking back at it now, they got hurt on both ends. That’s the worst thing about the Heat’s offensive struggles — it bleeds into their defense and it puts so much pressure on that end for them to be good. Because if they’re not perfect on defense and they can’t score points, you can’t win like that then.

Butler Hunting Lillard, Herro’s Long Mid-Range, A lot of Good Jaquez Basketball vs the Bucks, 30/10/23

There were a lot of Herro PnRs too in this game. And the trends with him are clear as day. This is the same stuff that I talked about in the Minnesota game. It’s always looking to shoot it. It’s poor decision-making. It’s the shot selection from bad spots when there are spaces that he can attack.

Jaquez Cutting, Herro’s PnR Scoring & Poor Offensive Possessions vs the Timberwolves, 28/10/23

Not so surprisingly, this game wasn’t any different and you can make a case that it was even worse than last time. I can remember that game vividly because it was so bad last year seeing Kyle Lowry run pick-and-rolls with Bam Adebayo. This game, it was a lot of the same thing. And it was a lot of isolation scoring not working out. They didn’t even crack 100 points in this game. Scoring 90 points, shooting 40.2% from the field, 31.6% from 3, and 57.1% from the line with 88.3 offensive rating, per CTG.

Herro’s Offensive Breakdown, Heat’s Mid-Range, ISOs & Quick Offense vs the Celtics, 27/10/23

And that’s a thing with the Heat and Erik Spoelstra. Isolation offense isn’t necessarily a terrible thing if done right. There are teams that make it work and have an efficient offense(though that playstyle is still not my favorite). But those teams either have a talented player who is capable of punishing any type of coverage or their off-ball movements and secondary actions are elite. The Heat on the other hand aren’t good at that. They standstill and you get a lot of these empty possessions.

ISOs & PnRs Not Effective, 4th Quarter Breakdown, Poor Offense = Poor Defense vs the Pistons, 26/10/23

The Heat struggled to score against the Detroit Pistons and almost blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter. There’s no Heat basketball without that anxiety and stress. There’s no Heat basketball without poor execution in clutch situations — speaking of clutch, maybe this is the year they’ll break the record for games in that situation.

Pre-Season Takeaways: Haywood is the 4! Herro’s PnR Game, Bam’s Shot Diet, 21/10/23

The biggest concern that was shown in the pre-season is their point guard issue. That is an issue. It’s not overblown. It’s not something that can be fixed by the committee. It’s not getting fixed with Adebayo bringing the ball or by Herro having more ball-handling duties. That’s a real problem that I don’t know what they could do right now.

What’s Going on with the Offense? Bam & Herro’s Improvement, Pace!, 11/10/23

That’s why they started the season with a grindy win against the Detroit Pistons where they almost blew a lead. Then followed that with a four-game losing streak. Only to then go on a three-game winning streak. They’ve been a strange team. They certainly have many issues, but there are times, where I think they can easily overcome it, but then show me some awful stretches

Where do the Heat go Without Damian Lillard?, 1/10/23

Well, that couldn’t have gone any worse than it did. And with all of the articles surrounding this coming out from both sides, it looked like they weren’t near making this dream a reality. So, the Heat couldn’t get their whale. It’s another star player that has gotten away — though it doesn’t necessarily mean they were entirely at fault, but it’s still annoying and frustrating to see.

Are the Heat Picks Really That Worthless?, 9/9/23

This does make sense since the Heat almost never tank. Something drastic has to happen for them to consider tanking. Even in that era post LeBron James, their average number of wins was 41.8. And if you track it since Pat Riley arrived, the Heat have missed the playoffs six times out of 28 seasons. 78 percent of the time, they’re in the playoffs. They also have 13 seasons with a winning percentage of 60 or higher.

Can the Heat Afford Not to Trade for Lillard?, 5/8/23

I don’t think that the Heat are so far away from contending that they need some elite-level talent or a complete remake, it’s just the moves that they need aren’t exactly available. How many 3-level scorers that are capable of being a primary ball handler are there on the market? They don’t have to be All-NBA talent. They don’t even have to be an All-Star. That’s why I don’t believe they need Lillard in general.

Summer League Breakdown: Jaquez Jr Showing Off Everything, Jovic’s Playmaking & Peterson’s Passing, 4/7/23

My first time watching Jaquez and I already love him. A few more games like this in the summer league and I’m no longer trading anyone for Lillard. I liked everything he did on both ends of the floor.

2022–23 Season

Isolation, 3s, Drawing Defenses: How the Miami Heat Have Become an Elite Offense, 23/5/23

With the way the Celtics defend, the entire offense was going to start with both Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler taking care of business in isolations. Everything depended on their ability to hunt mismatches, punish them effectively by getting easier looks inside(and converting), and draw the defense.

Heat vs Celtics Series Preview: Generating Offense, Forcing Turnovers, Stopping Corner 3s, ISOs, 16/5/23

We’ve seen this film before. The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics are facing one another for the second straight time and third in four years. And with both the Heat and the Celtics winning once, this series is going to be entertaining to see who will break the tiebreaker.

Hawks vs Heat Preview: Can the Heat Slow Down Young & Can They Generate Enough Offense, 11/4/23

What makes the play-in worse and so unpredictable is the fact that it’s a one-and-done. So, all of the Xs and Os can be thrown out the window because anything can happen. All of the things you accounted for can go right according to plan but then you have Saddiq Bey going off 7-for-10 from deep just because.

A Season in Review, 10/4/23

Their record is misleading. They weren’t an above .500 team for the entire season. They didn’t play like one. Per Cleaning the Glass, they were 20th in net rating with minus -0.1. The only teams worse were all the lottery and tanking teams that you can think of, plus the Los Angeles Clippers.

Butler-Zeller Connection, Duncan being Duncan, Getting Bam Involved, 3/4/23

Butler has already shown how elite of a player he can be, but he still finds ways to just make me laugh with just how good he really is. Although it’s just one metric on Basketball Reference, this was his highest game score in the regular season for the Heat with 37.7 — and the 3rd highest in his career.

How the Cleveland Cavaliers Picked Apart Miami Heat’s Aggressive PnR Defense, 9/3/23

The issues came with them choosing to go for a more aggressive form of defense and have all of their bigs show, which means the defensive big will come up high against the screen to not allow the ball handler to attack and try to force him to give it up or pick up the dribble before trying to recover back to his man.

Shooting is Our Only Hope, Inverted PnRs, 6/3/23

That’s why this type of analysis feels dumb and simple. And because the Heat are shooting ridiculously badly, it makes the results even worse. Their offense still wouldn’t be perfect even if they shot at least average, but it wouldn’t be this bad either and be that big of an issue. Did you know the Heat are shooting worse from the corners(34.6%) than the league average from above the break 3(35.1%)?

Love Joining the Starting 5, Zeller Revives the Backup 5 Spot: How Have They Looked So Far, 5/3/23

There was another need for an actual starting four(though I don’t think Love is truly that either) to give them more size and hopefully better shooting. So far, I’ve liked these two additions, especially with what Zeller has given this team and what Love in theory has provided.

Standing Pat: Why Didn’t the Miami Heat Make Any Moves, 11/2/23

I wasn’t expecting a splash, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. I wasn’t even expecting OG Anunoby or Mikal Bridges. My expectations weren’t high and somehow they managed to disappoint me. And not-so-surprisingly, the entire Heat Twitter wasn’t happy to see this either.

Trade Deadline Special, 6/2/23

This is either a fun period for you where you can whip out your trade machines to create realistic or wild scenarios to make your team better. Or you simply can’t wait for the trade deadline to pass to finally focus solely on the actual basketball.

Bam’s Mid Range, What’s Going on with Herro, 31/1/23

Bam Adebayo’s offense and how that impacts the team is an interesting conversation because there are some games in that you can really feel it and force the defense to adjust. But then there are games where he hits his shots but it doesn’t translate enough to the offense.

Bam’s Roll Neutralized, The Heat Need Shooters, Pushing the Pace, 23/1/23

There is a strong correlation between a good offense and having a good 3pt percentage. You can’t have good offense without that. So, there’s only so much that the players or Erik Spoelstra can do to improve everything elsewhere.

The Reasons Behind Heat’s Lackluster Offense, 18/1/23

But things couldn’t have gone any worse. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Heat went from having a 114.2(1.9 better than average) offensive rating to 112.2(2.0 worse than average). For comparison, the Heat led by Dion Waiters in 2017 were only 0.8 worse than average.

With the Miami Heat having one of the worst seasons — not only this season, but one of the worst in franchise history — I’ve decided to go through all of the reasons why that’s been the case. And there are many reasons for that.

It starts with the complete lack of shooting from almost every player. There are only two players that are shooting above 33% without accounting for volume.

But the shooting is just one reason that doesn’t tell the entire story, or even the main story.

Vincent Returning to Form, Oladipo’s Offensive Turnaround, 16/1/23

You can see in each game Oladipo’s confidence was getting there. In each game, he showed a little more and a little more — his minutes were going up, he was closing late in games, his attempts have gone up, his drives were increasing, and his shots in the paint increased.

It was pleasant to see Gabe Vincent have these two back-to-back games. He’s been struggling with health, shooting, and just his overall performance all season long. But we finally see the Vincent we’re used to seeing from last season.

Another huge positive has been the offensive turnaround for Victor Oladipo. The Oladipo before New Year’s and after are two different players. Everything from confidence, driving, offensive load to shooting and finishing have all been better.

Mid-Season Check-In: Where are the Miami Heat & Where Can They Be, 10/1/23

There’s also a trend here — if their starting five, their top-3 players, or top-2 players are on the court, they are elite. What’s encouraging is they’ve been better than last year when they had two or three of those players on. Last year, that same trio was only plus 4.3. Butler and Adebayo together were plus 6.6.

With it being exactly at the half-point of the season, it felt like a good time to step back and see where the Heat are currently at and what is the realistic path going forward.

One of the main things that should be considered is the fact that when they have Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro, they’ve been elite. The issue comes when one of Butler or Adebayo sits.

Evaluating Tyler Herro’s Impact as a Primary Creator, 8/1/23

He’s in a weird place where he’s too good to be boxed into an off-ball role given his skillset on many playoff-caliber teams, but he’s also not on a good enough level as a lead guard on a contending team. His stats differ significantly when comparing him to off-ball guards, secondary ball handlers, primary ball handlers, and shot creators.

The conversation around Herro has been interesting to me. He has significantly improved since coming to the league as a shooter. He’s not just a shooter anymore. Instead, he’s been one of the better young guards and has been a bucket.

And those changes in his game have raised certain questions — is he an All-Star player now? Can he be a primary creator on the Heat? Can the Heat run an efficient offense through him? Can he be the second-best offensive option on a contending team?

By looking at the box-score stats(especially his game in December) you may think that he’s undoubtedly that. Hell, he averaged over 24 points on great efficiency!

How can you argue against that? But that can be misleading when it comes to being in a role of a creator.

Butler’s Rim Pressure, Getting Duncan Involved, A Defensive Trio, 19/12/22

The slight increase also does make sense, especially with the percentage of attempts assisted. Without Butler dominating the ball, they would run more cuts, post splits, and have more movement. That opportunistic rim pressure is great, but not enough to have a good offense, especially if you’re the worst at converting there.

This was a good game to show the impact of Jimmy Butler on the Miami Heat. When talking about rim pressure for the Heat, it’s just Butler. Although the stats show that they get the same amount of attempts at the rim, there is a significant difference in whether they’re more assisted or not.

It was interesting to see Duncan Robinson be more involved in the offense late in the game against the San Antonio Spurs. And it worked! Him closing was a big reason why the Heat were able to get the quality looks that they got.

Examining Bam Adebayo’s Role as a Creator, 18/12/22

Now, that’s not to say Adebayo is a limited offensive player or is a liability on that end. Everything depends on the role and the expectations. With his current skill set, I’ve always viewed him as a ceiling-raiser and one that would fit great alongside most stars on offense(Draymond Green is a perfect example). So far, he’s excelled in that role.

Similar to the Herro conversation, the same could be applied to Adebayo in a way, especially this season. This is a completely different Adebayo than you’ve seen last year or even in the playoffs.

There is a massive difference in how he gets his points now. You’ve seen more isolations, more post-ups, and more aggressiveness. Each year, there were countless post-game interviews with him saying he needs to be more aggressive, and well, he did just that.

Adebayo already has seven games with 30 or more points. Before this season, he had seven in his entire career. He also had 16 games with at least 18 shot attempts. He had 13 before this season.

Oladipo Showing his PnR Game, Adebayo Drawing Attention, Guard Screening, 12/12/22

During this week, though, Adebayo has been seeing certain defenses for the first time. Some of the adjustments include getting fronted, stronger digs, unpredictable help from different directions, and straight-up getting doubled.

With Bam Adebayo’s increase in scoring, usage, and aggressiveness, he’s been seeing a lot more defensive attention than usual, and this was clear in the game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Although what came after the strong help is a different conversation.

One of the things we’ve also seen more of is Oladipo being involved in the pick-and-roll a lot more.

Haywood Closing, Lowry’s Non-Stop Screening, 5/12/22

Highsmith has a great feel as to when to help his teammates and when to double. It’s his help at the nail and those late switches to contest that is key. But he’s also able to hold his own against Dejounte Murray or De’Andre Hunter.

I have such mixed feelings about Haywood Highsmith and most come from him being a liability on the offensive end but a damn good defender. And with his great defense, that earned him closing minutes.

One thing that I love about Kyle Lowry is how active he is as a screener. That’s been one of the most effective ways to be a good off-ball player as a shooter.

The Dilemma Between Zone or Man Against the Celtics, 3/12/22

The numbers say the zone was much better than M2M, even when you consider the 1.31 PPP with Al Horford on. And although that’s the case, I don’t think M2M was as big of an issue as the stats show. The results were clearly bad, the process was there.

Here’s a game breakdown against the Boston Celtics game where I go through some of the individual possessions for both zone and man-to-man defense.

Bam Controlling the Paint, Hunting Porzingis, 2 Sides of Herro’s PnR, 28/11/22

Adebayo had a not-so-good offensive game against the Timberwolves. He finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists on 7-for-18 shooting. And yet, he still found a way to impact the game that doesn’t quite show up in your box-score stats… From just that 25-second highlight, Adebayo’s rotations prevented seven shots at the rim.

If you just had a look at Adebayo’s box score, you’d say he had a rough game, and that would have been true if it comes to the offensive end. But he had so many great defensive possessions that won’t show anywhere on the box score.

Against the Washington Wizards, there was a lot of Tyler Herro PnR and it went one of two ways. If the defense was aggressive by showing, blitzing, or switching, the offense stalled. Herro wasn’t able to beat those defenses or take exploit the defense one-on-one. If, however, the defense was in your typical drop coverage, that’s where he did the damage.

The Struggle Without Butler on Offense, 25/11/22

So, with some shooting luck, the offense is slightly below average, instead of one of the worst. Though, the overall trend would still continue. The Heat can’t generate offense without Butler and I don’t think that’s because of anything that they do scheme-wise. This is concerning talent.

The Heat have been struggling on offense all season long, but that’s been even more apparent when Butler sits. They are one of the worst teams on offense without him.

This has also been a consistent trend for the last three seasons and the reasons for that have been the same. Without him, the team has no rim pressure, no one that can bend or exploit the defense, and is highly dependent on 3s.

No Longer a Specialist: How Max Strus Rounded Out His Game, 22/11/22

The strides are noticeable in how he spiced up his offense. He’s become a well-rounded high-quality role player. So, let’s go through his development on the offensive end this year! One of the main changes from last year is his huge increase in shots inside the arc and at the free-throw line

This may have gone under the radar due to his inconsistent shooting this season, but Max Strus has developed his game to be a much more well-rounded player on offense.

He’s still a shooter-first, but he’s worked on the weaknesses that made him highly reliant on just shooting beyond the arc. He’s improved his ball handling, his passing looks a lot better, and he’s starting to put the ball down and attack the rim more.

Quarterback Lowry, Jovic Showcasing Versatility, 21/11/22

After a very poor start to the season, Lowry has been playing much better. In the four games this week, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists(16.8 potential assists, which would rank fifth in that span) on 52.1% true shooting and shooting 36.7% on 7.5 3s.

When Lowry gets to play with the ball in his hands more and when key players are out, he does step up. And in this stretch, he showed that, when needed, he can still attack the paint to get shots there or make those kick outs.

We also got to see Nikola Jovic play pretty good basketball, showcasing his versatility on that end by being a good roller or a popper off a PnR.

The Miami Heat’s Defensive Scheme Versatility Against the Phoenix Suns, 16/11/22

And it seems like they’ve tried everything in this game. They tried Bam Adebayo in a drop, the usual switching, Dewayne Dedmon dropping, Dedmon showing, zone defense, and helping off the strong corner.

Here’s a game breakdown against the Phoenix Suns where I go through the defensive versatility that the Heat displayed. They threw everything at them — whether it was soft switching, soft double, blitz, shows, or in drop.

Let Strus Be Loose, Hunting DHOs, Switching to Dropping, 14/11/22

With Herro out, we got to see Max Strus play with the starters and that worked beautifully on offense. In 39 minutes, they had a 144.1 offensive rating. Now, that is a small sample, and had Strus’ hot shooting skewed those numbers — the team did shoot 51.6% from deep.

This team has been built on shooters. Since the 2020 season, this team was a dribble-handoff-centric offense and that has been the case until this season. This year, they have no off-ball shooters to run those actions for consistently. Although it was Herro that replaced both Max Strus and Duncan Robinson, he’s not used in the same as they were. And this matters for this team.

Against the Charlotte Hornets, they also changed their defensive scheme by switching less and deciding to have Adebayo in drop coverag

We Got Shooters, “Herro” Shots, Transition Defense Woes, 7/11/22

These types of shots that Herro took are bail-out shots. They are the ones you take when there are under 3–4 seconds on the clock. They are the ones you take where you simply don’t have any other option.

This comes a game after Herro missed the game-winning shot against the Indiana Pacers and that made me think about those hero shots. A simple conclusion was that I don’t like those shots. They’re not good shots.

Getting Killed on the Glass, A Whole Bunch of Zone, Herro Back to the Bench?, 31/10/22

One key reason is he fits better that way. His role and the rotation coming off the bench suited him, Butler, and Adebayo more. Per PBP, last year, with all three on, the Heat had a 110 offensive rating — that number is better when one of Butler or Herro sits.

After winning the sixth man of the year, Herro did show that he’s a starting-level guard. However, sometimes that may not be the best fit for the team for whatever reasons. So, I explored the possibility of Herro going back to the bench.

Corner Threes Galore, Celtics Repeat Defensive Script, Maximising Butler’s Advantages, 24/10/22

For the past three seasons, the Heat have consistently ranked amongst the highest in terms of opponent’s corner 3 frequency. In each season since 2019, the opponent’s corner 3 frequency has been over 10 percent, so it’s not a surprise that they’re leading the league this year.

To start off the first week of the week, there were a bunch of things to talk about — the Heat giving up a lot of corner 3s, the Boston Celtics shutting down the offense again, and doing a better job at maximising the advantages created by Butler

Season Preview: Do the Miami Heat Have Another NBA Finals run Within Them, 19/10/22

So, on paper, it appears Miami didn’t improve while the rest of the league made moves. The Heat’s success is banking on internal improvements, particularly in Herro. But thinking about it, it’s not as bad as it seems. The Heat went as far as they did with almost everything going wrong for them.

To kick off the 2022–23 NBA season, as part of my season preview series, I’ve gone through the season the Heat had and see what’s in store for them in the upcoming season.