The Miami Heat’s weaknesses have been apparent as of late, after dropping their third game in a row on Wednesday night to the Draymond Green-less Golden State Warriors. As the trade deadline gets closer and closer, it’s clear that trade talks will be heating up.
The Miami Heat currently have some interest in New Orleans Pelicans guard, Lonzo Ball.
It’s clear that he fills a lot of the holes that Miami is lacking right now, which is what I will dive into here. But it must be noted that a locker room spark may be just as necessary as filling holes, since adding a new personality and talent seems to be the only thing that can move the needle.
Anyway, here’s a look at what Lonzo Ball would be able to bring to this current Heat team…
– Bringing constant rim pressure off the dribble
While Goran Dragic has been out, some weaknesses that may not have been clear before have shined. One being that a 34 year old Dragic is their only reliable guard who can get to the rim at an effective rate to put pressure on the defense.
And well, Ball would be able to change that upon arrival, since his unique all-around game allows him to get to the rim consistently due to him being a passing threat moving downhill. Just waiting around for Jimmy Butler to charge the basket and get to the free throw line is not a reliable source of offense, but can be when adding extra players who can do similar things.
– Improving his all-around package out of the pick and roll
This has been one of the biggest improvements for Ball, other than his catch and shoot abilities which will be discussed next. He was a limited player out of the pick and roll at times, since defenses would just play the lob pass due to his unreliable pull-up jumper.
But as seen here, that mid-range pull-up is evolving, and taking him to that next level. Miami has some guys that are capable of finding dead-spots out of the pick and roll in the mid-range, but none of them are as big of threats when running it. His natural passing gift means constant headaches for a defense having to worry about the next pass he will make, while Miami’s young players are pure scorers who defenses can sort of figure out at times.
– The catch and shoot abilities are becoming consistent
Now, as mentioned previously, Ball becoming a consistent three point shooter is the key for his high value at the moment. He’s attempting 7.6 triples a game, while shooting 38%, which is far from easy to do.
As seen here, he’s becoming much better at moving off the ball as a shooter, since it’s known that he has been pretty decent off the dribble with his usual step back triples. Most of the time when discussing pure point guards who can control an offense and have defensive impact, it’s not much of a worry that they’re not great shooters. But Ball working on it throughout the off-season to improve his game to this extent is something that stands out to neighboring organizations.
– Controlling the pacing of the game through his play-making
Lonzo Ball’s passing abilities is what gets linked to him most when discussing him as a player. And honestly, it could be one of the most underrated things that Miami could use.
Relying on Butler and Bam Adebayo to set everybody else up when they’re the two best players is not ideal. At times, they must worry about themselves on the offensive end to be most effective.
And well, a way to cure that is by adding one of the best passing guards in today’s NBA. There’s a difference between being a good passer and a play-maker, and Ball is both of those. He can make spectacular passes on the break for others at the rim or in stride, but also knows where to put the ball in a half-court offense with his ability to find the open man.
If there’s anybody that benefits from this very element, it’s Butler who wouldn’t have the same load on the offensive end.
– A unique defensive presence
And finally, a defensive presence. If there’s anything Miami has been missing, it’s point of attack defense, and Ball brings all that and more. He’s a great individual defender, which is once again beneficial to Butler not having to defend the best wing every night.
He can also create offense from his defensive abilities as seen here, being able to rip the ball away from somebody to get into transition offense.
There’s not much else to say other than he’s the most ideal defensive guard that will come up, and pairing him up with Butler and Adebayo automatically improves the defense of this Miami Heat team, which will allow Miami to get back into their prior Heat culture ways.
Lonzo Ball is the type of young and focused individual that Miami could use to spark this free-falling Heat team, to put them back on the right track, while only being 3 games out of the 5th seed.