A Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic Breakdown Against Toronto

Kendrick Nunn was the story of the night yesterday for the Miami Heat. He got yet another opportunity and scored an efficient 28 points, while getting 8 boards and 5 assists. Goran Dragic was second on the team in points with 17, but truly showed out with his impact that will be shown here.

Here’s a look at these two against Toronto last night…

Goran Dragic:

– Running Multi-Option Set

This offensive set seen above is clearly something that makes a defense uncomfortable. Goran Dragic has the ball in his hands, Duncan Robinson slips off of a pick to the three point line, Bam Adebayo rolls to the basket for a lob, and Goran can attack the basket. The defense becomes so focused on all of this movement, that it leaves Kelly Olynyk wide open in the opposite corner, which is the 4th option for Goran in this set. This is something you will continue to see with this personnel, since it allows each player’s strength to be utilized. And there’s nobody on this team you want running this other than Goran Dragic.

– Reading the Defense 

Reading the defender is a great skill to have in a one-on-one match-up, but it takes it to a whole other level when you read the defenders of your teammates. On this play, Goran runs a pick and roll with Kelly Olynyk, and he notices Fred VanVleet slightly turn his body toward the roller. Duncan Robinson then edges up slightly to the wing, while the pass has already been made from Dragic, leading to a three. Those are the small parts of Goran’s game that are so impressive, since his overall feel is just great.

– Gravity Moving Down-Hill

The word gravity is usually linked with Duncan Robinson on this Heat team, but Goran meets the criteria of it as well. As Goran drives to the basket here, you can see that all eyes turn right to him under the basket. VanVleet went for the double as he attacked, leaving one defender on the other side guarding Vincent and Olynyk. Kelly immediately cut to the basket for an easy layup. That is the definition of gravity, since the defense has to go for that double team, due to the fact that Goran probably would’ve scored at the basket if it was one-on-one.

– Reverse Late-Game Offense

This doesn’t really fall under the criteria of Goran Dragic’s game being broken down, but it still needs to be noted. We basically see a reversed offensive set, since the center is dribbling the ball down the floor breaking down his defender, while the point guard stands in the corner. Bam Adebayo drives to the basket two consecutive plays late in the fourth, both ending in the same result: a left corner Goran Dragic three. It puts so much pressure on opposing teams for a big man to be the primary play-maker and ball-handler late in games, which makes Bam so unique as a player.

Kendrick Nunn:

– Hitting Passing Lanes

Kendrick Nunn’s defense has been a struggle for him, since he hasn’t been great on defense individually or in pick and roll situations. But one thing he has consistently been good at this far into his career is hitting passing lanes. He’s clearly quick, but his timing defensively allows him to be good in that area. And as seen here, it’s useful since it usually ends up in 2 points on the other end of the floor. If he can make up for his sruggles in other areas like this, it makes him much more trustworthy.

– Scoring from all Three Levels

The first clip shown above with Kendrick Nunn is something that is great to see him do, but it’s unknown if it will be consistent. Pull-up three pointers in transition won’t always fall, but what he can rely on is what is seen in the second clip. Kendrick finding his spots on the offensive side of the ball is one of the most important things for him, and his most comfortable area is the mid-range on a pull-up. In that clip, he’s patient with the ball in his hands, waiting for Bam to come set the screen, leading to an easy jumper in that area discussed.

– Confidence to Play-Maker

When people think of Kendrick Nunn with confidence, they think of him as a scorer, but I think there’s much more to that. His confidence last night was clear, and so was his play-making abilities. The clip above is one example of many in which he made some great reads leading to lobs or easy opportunities, and as seen there, I don’t think he makes that pass unless he has his offense going. Body language was apparent yesterday for Kendrick, and it’s much needed for his success on this team. But if he can continue to improve as a passer, as seen last night, it makes his role on this team much easier to be plugged in.

– Attacking Equals Rotation Insertion

Of course it’s great to see K-Nunn shooting the ball like he did last night, but there’s a good chance it’s not sustainable. Those shots will not be falling every night, but his ability to attack the rim will give him plenty of opportunities moving forward. Teams know that his mid-range is something he looks to get to, which means defenders play high on him when he gets downhill. This then puts them out of position for a straight line drive to the basket for a layup, and this is when his confidence can be built up for the jumpers to fall. There are a lot of elements to Kendrick’s offensive game that were impressive last night, but while some talk about the consistency, Nunn is talking about the minutes.

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