Looking at this Heat team on paper, there are a few things that truly stand-out: the defensive presence of this group, toughness being the theme, Victor Oladipo being the wild-card, and the potential of playing at a much faster pace.
For that last part, the key word is “potential.”
After adding Kyle Lowry to the team, it felt like Miami could turn their offensive play-style completely around from a slow-paced half-court team to a high tempo transition team. In Friday’s scrimmage, Lowry already showed his eagerness to play in that fashion.
Some Dolphins scouts may have been swarming with the amount of full-court one handed flings Lowry threw down the floor, while one ended in Jimmy Butler Mossing Max Strus before throwing the lob up to Bam Adebayo.
The other guy who really started to match that fast pace play-style was third year guard Tyler Herro.
Many immediately remember his continuous urge to pull-up from three on the break, but he really mixed some things into that transition offense. Finding that middie of his early in the shot-clock, getting to the rim with a purpose, and feeding others when they had numbers.
My first takeaway on this topic: Lowry-Herro minutes are going to play very fast.
All other combos, I’m not so sure about.
The team began to race up the floor more and more as the scrimmage progressed, but I found a consistent result when it happened: it always ended in a kick-out for three. Sometimes it went in, other times it didn’t. And many times, it led to an eventual reset, which is right back to that previous play-style of pulling the ball back out.
Much like I said that Herro was mixing it up on the break, the team needs to mix it up as well. Obviously it’s just one scrimmage game that I’m addressing, but this feels like something that can be a topic in the near future.
When I asked Bam Adebayo after the scrimmage about playing into transition more, he responded, “I feel like in the past we’ve kinda had slow transition breaks. We’re really starting to get it up the floor, try to get easy layups, easy fouls, get to the free throw line…then all of that can get threes.”
The way that Adebayo explained it in that final sentence is how it should be approached. Allow the easy buckets around the rim and constant whistle blowing to flow into easy transition kick-outs. When it’s the other way around, nothing will end up being generated on the break, and it’ll bring Miami right back into that pull-back transition offense.
And by the way, it’s not the worst thing in the world if the Heat decide to play at a slower pace. The point is that they need a consistent approach throughout the roster, and stick to it. But in my opinion, with the weapons on this team, playing in the open court at a faster speed can do wonders for this group.
Lowry at QB, Butler and Adebayo going deep at WR, Duncan Robinson/Herro stopping at the three for the RB check-down, and Tucker at tight end for the free-flowing blocks, also known as a simple screen.
On paper, that looks picture perfect, but not everything translates over from on-paper analysis. It may take Miami some time to adjust a bit to a different game-plan potentially, but seeing it immediately seems unrealistic.
We will see simple scores from it to begin the year, but the consistency of it remains in question. It’s not just about Lowry and Herro feeling the urge to run the floor. It must be full commitment.
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