Who will close more games for the Heat this season?@5ReasonsSports
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) September 18, 2021
Who will close more games for the Heat this season: Tyler Herro or Duncan Robinson?
According to Heat Twitter, it was a 50/50 split.
And well, that’ll most likely be Erik Spoelstra’s way of going about it this season too.
Many people love to harp on starting lineups when talking about rosters heading into a new season, but they’re pretty meaningless in the big picture, especially on a Spoelstra coached Heat team. The primary lineup to hang your hat on is the closing group that Spo will trust down the stretch night in and night out.
Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo are pretty much a given when talking about late-game play, but in my opinion, it feels like PJ Tucker will work himself into that tier pretty quickly. Not that he will be doing as much as Miami’s top 3 guys, but his impact has always been high, and those are usually the guys Coach Spo likes to keep on the floor with the clock ticking down.
So if those 4 defensive dogs are on the floor together, who will that 5th offensive weapon be? Well, like I said before, there’s a good chance it’ll end up like that twitter poll: 50% of the time it’s Herro, 50% of the time it’s Robinson.
When looking at the 4th quarter minutes of Herro and Robinson last season, they are once again neck and neck. Herro played 486 minutes while Robinson played 484 minutes. Some of that may be clouded by the injuries that occurred throughout the year, but the point still stands. It was a toss up in the past and it’ll be a toss up once again.
There are certain implications that’ll trigger the team looking in one of their directions. It should come down to the thing they’re lacking on a specific night.
If guys like Lowry or Butler are rolling throughout the night, they will probably look to Robinson so they can have that gravitational pull in their offensive actions, basically using him to get the team’s shot creators easy buckets.
If some of their shot creators are struggling from the field or have a tough match-up overall, I think they will look to Herro. Somebody who can handle the ball and run the actions, instead of just being a decoy in the action.
And when looking at these two scenarios, it still doesn’t feel like one is more likely than the other. Both can be impactful in their own ways, and if they both show major growth to start the season, it isn’t crazy to think they can both be out there.
But for the most part, it’ll be a judgement of the hot hand. Can Robinson find ways to score when defenses lock-in on him down the stretch? Can Herro create enough space in isolation to trust him running certain actions?
Those questions will soon be answered, but the answer to the original question is clear: both options are correct.
And as much as some people may start to equate this scenario to contract size, that isn’t the right way to go about it. Just because a player had a nice pay day, doesn’t mean we have to relate that to staying on the floor at the end of games. They paid him to play a role on the basketball court whenever it’s needed. If that means it’s utilized for the first 36 minutes, so be it.
This Heat team has much more lineup flexibility at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see how they go about it. And well, that isn’t even considering the possibility of Victor Oladipo returning at a high level. Only five guys can be on the floor to finish a game, and knowing the history of Spoelstra, those five guys won’t usually be the same from night to night.
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