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Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Indiana

To kick off another game without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Miami came out hot this time around. Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro getting it done early, and Omer Yurtseven getting it done late, led to Miami’s victory over this Pacers team.

So, let’s take a look through some pretty positive takeaways this time…

#1: Is that Duncan Robinson?

Well, the Duncan Robinson breakout finally occurred on Friday night against Indiana, which trickled down to Bally Sports’ technical difficulties shortly after. Clearly not a coincidence. It was nothing new for Robinson in terms of approach, except them just actually going in. His third triple of the night was the one to harp on: gets it on the wing, fires, and-1. Shortly after, he let out some frustration to himself, which seemed like the type of breakthrough he’s been waiting for. After they started to drop, the new Robinson that many predicted coming into the season was on display. Defenders flying right by him on the slightest of shot fakes led to clear driving lanes for him to attack. He was working that floater, forcing strong defensive rotations, and got to the free throw line in a way I haven’t seen him do his entire NBA career. He’s back.

#2: Kyle Lowry doing everything early on, providing a flash from the past.

Although Robinson had to be the starting point of this one, Kyle Lowry was the player of the first half. Not just because he scored 20 points in that span, but instead the way he was doing it. Knocking down the three is always a good thing to see, but his ability to attack mismatches was the true key. That’s the flash from the past. We saw it in that one fourth quarter against the Clippers, but without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, it must be the starring act more often. He’s clearly been pacing himself to preserve his abilities as much as possible, but it’s obvious this is the time for it to be utilized. Tyler Herro can be the number one scoring option, but Lowry needs to be scoring Lowry for them to win these games. And as he did in this one, can blend right back into his strong play-making ways as defenses overplay.

#3: PJ Tucker doing the early dirty work.

PJ Tucker’s stat-line at the half consisted of 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. That’s pretty much PJ Tucker on a nightly basis, but tonight was slightly different just because of what was needed. We talked a lot about the need for scorers the last few nights, but with the main guys stepping up, they needed that guy down low to provide extra opportunities for them, which led to Tucker diving on the floor any chance he got. We saw some Udonis Haslem and Omer Yurtseven early on, while Dewayne Dedmon continues to be productive in his starting role, but Tucker is the key to it all working. Even after getting late Yurtseven production, they needed strong play from Tucker to even get to that point where they feel comfortable going the Yurtseven route. He was big tonight, and he’ll be even bigger as they move forward.

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#4: Tyler Herro not that bottled up spark, but the calming hand.

Tyler Herro is always going to be a spark with the way he can score the basketball at the snap of a finger, but that’s not *all* that he is. Without Butler and Adebayo, while Lowry is lined up on his side with other seasoned veterans, they’re looking to him to be that steady hand on the offensive end to either speed them up or slow them down. Like I said before, he has the keys to the offense no matter who is in or out of the lineup, but the usage is rising in this scenario. The other thing that’s currently rising: trust levels. Even while Spoelstra has trusted him to finish games since his rookie year, this is totally different. Tucker, Dedmon, Lowry, and others were waiting for him to take them where they needed to go. The 21 year old.

#5: Omer Yurtseven is ready.

Omer Yurtseven has been a garbage time killer many nights, leaving many observers wanting him to get that opportunity. Well, he got that opportunity early in this one, and it was kinda rough. He looked a bit timid, his decision making was too predictable, and was just searching for his way out there. Just like any young guy would. Spoelstra still had confidence in him through that second half for some more playing time, and he delivered. He found a rhythm in the zone defensively by altering shots, rolled with a purpose as ball-handlers found him, and stayed on his toes in an experienced fashion. Miami needed one young buck to step up over this stretch, and we’ve seen some flashes from KZ Okpala and now Yurtseven in back to back games. It’ll come down to match-ups, but Yurtseven showed tonight that he just needs time. And time will be coming his way.

 

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Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

How are Duncan Robinson’s Looks Shifting for the Better?

Duncan Robinson has been a very hot topic surrounding the Miami Heat this season, and not in the way you’d probably expect. He’s struggled for most of the season until the final two games of the West Coast trip, and there’s no doubt Miami would probably have a positive road trip record if he played his game in LA.

Aside from that, there needs to be some perspective on the topic: Duncan Robinson is currently 5th in the NBA in 3 point makes this season. Obviously he’s not shooting a great percentage, but it has only been 14 games, and his trajectory on the season is rising as we speak.

As I said after his slump buster in Utah, he needed to string two games together to really be “back.” The reasoning is if he struggled in Oklahoma City, that confidence may drop even more since the thought process is the breakout against the Jazz was a fluke.

But clearly that wasn’t the case. He followed that one up with some big shots in the third against OKC without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, coming up big for Miami to close out the trip on a high note.

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Now, we know that slump was all mental and in his head, but there seems to be some pondering on whether it had anything to do with his looks shifting.

And well, they’re definitely shifting.

But for the better.

Let’s take a look through Duncan Robinson’s shot profile against OKC, since there are some intriguing points to make.

For starters, there’s something interesting about the usage of Robinson in general, from his first year in the league to now: he’s a first quarter and third quarter killer. Why is that? Well, much like the first drives of the half in football, it’s scripted.

When I asked Tyler Herro about Duncan Robinson the other night, he said, “We try to get him going as much as we can in those first and third quarters.” It’s the adjustment before the adjustment. Robinson turns opposing coaches into defensive mad scientists, so the continued goal is to get him going before the change is made.

Aside from that, looking at the clip above, we’re seeing a very promising connection between Robinson and PJ Tucker. Tucker has really taken control of getting Robinson good looks, much like Bam Adebayo has done in the past, but we see something different here.

An initial Robinson DHO for Tucker. That is seen more frequently. Not because Tucker’s going to cross up his defender and drive to the rim to make a play, but it resets the spot of Robinson.

Tucker immediately hits Kyle Lowry on the wing, as if they’re going to run a PnR, and Lowry instinctively hits Robinson in that corner while all 3 defenders are eyeing him. He fires and knocks it down.

Speaking of players catching eyes when the ball is in their hands, Tyler Herro is the perfect example of that. Just off the pure eye test, it feels like Herro is seeing more doubles than anyone on the roster, which isn’t something I personally expected heading into the season.

Herro has it in the corner, refuses the screen, and drives baseline. With Tucker and Robinson cleared out on the weak-side, one of the defenders come over for the help on the Herro drive. And that’s exactly what Miami wants.

When that is seen, that’s an immediate signal for a Herro pass, a Tucker hammer screen, and a Robinson triple.

That’s exactly what transpired, and that’s exactly why Robinson’s looks are changing for the better. Not only will many of his triples have one less hand in his face, but the spot-up frequency is rising rapidly, thanks to the addition of Lowry and the emergence of Herro.

Robinson’s catch and shoot attempts have gone up from 6.4 a game last season to 7.8 this season. Once again, we’re only 14 games in, but that’s a major jump, and more importantly, a promising jump.

The perfect formula for this team was that Adebayo can be freed up from Robinson little by little, while Robinson can still generate good looks without him. And all credit to PJ Tucker, they’ve figured that out. Now it’s just about actually hitting those shots.

Another action that we saw against OKC that I’d like to see a lot more is Robinson slipping screens, specifically with Kyle Lowry. That’s something I talked about a ton in the off-season, just because Lowry’s respected enough in that department for opposing defenses to think twice on flashing at Robinson.

Guys like Kendrick Nunn were good in their role previously, but the consensus was to force Nunn to make a play and at worst case scenario send two at Robinson. But with Lowry, miscommunications consequently occur.

As seen above, Dort gets caught eyeing Lowry after the slip, meaning Robinson has more than enough room to fire. No help is sent from the other side of him as well, mostly since he’s lined up next to a 45% catch and shoot guy named Tyler Herro.

Options and weapons help Robinson. It means that a team can’t outright scheme him out of the game, since if they do, Miami has plenty of other avenues to explore.

The last thing that should be noted is that the interior game is coming. Not on high volume. Not due to a needed reliance. But when that deep ball begins to fall, it was obvious the two point attempts would quickly follow.

Just because it took Robinson 14 games to shoot his first mid-range jumper, doesn’t mean he didn’t work on it in the Summer. He didn’t add that to his package to become this all-around scorer. He added it as a counter to when defenses send two to the ball.

Looking at the second clip above specifically, this is when you know things are changing.

Aleksej Pokusevski flies out at Robinson, he pauses and side-steps which totally loses him, and begins to drive to the rim. I’ve talked about this resulting in a pull-up mid-range, but Robinson looks to have picked up a shot that the entire Heat team is thriving with: a floater.

PJ Tucker has embraced it as a short roll guy. Tyler Herro has showcased a beautiful tear dropper when going down the lane. And now Duncan Robinson shoots probably the first one of his career.

(Coincidence, I think not)

This isn’t to say that Robinson still won’t have some off-nights moving forward due to him figuring out his new role, but the point is that when he does fully pick up on it, he will absolutely take off.

His new task with the surrounding cast is so much easier than the constant DHO swarming and high PnR ball-handling from last season. Now it’s just about the simplicity of the catch and shoot jumper, which aligns with Duncan Robinson as much as Jimmy Butler aligns with Big Face Coffee.

 

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over OKC

The Miami Heat finished off the road trip in Oklahoma City without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, and still pulled away with the win.

An ugly start, continued defensive steadiness, and Tyler Herro tough shot making was the outlining description of this game.

So, here are five takeaways from this one…

#1: Well, ugly basketball begins right out the gate.

43-43 was the halftime score between the Heat and Thunder. And well, that doesn’t even tell the full story of how awful this half of basketball really was. For starters, on the offensive end for Miami, the three-ball was surprisingly falling, thanks to Tyler Herro who I’ll address in a second. But with that said, the Heat were 4 of 21 on twos through that span, which is exactly why this game was so ugly. Forced drives across the roster jumped off the screen while missing the team’s two best interior threats, leading to Miami letting the three ball fly more often. The Heat holding the Thunder to 43 first half points wasn’t just plainly elite defense either. They had good looks throughout, but Miami’s 2-2-1 press/2-3 zone mix up altered their pace early.

#2: All eyes on Tyler Herro.

No Jimmy Butler. No Bam Adebayo. That usually translates to a high shot attempt night for sixth man of the year candidate Tyler Herro. And yet, that was exactly the case, but not in the way you may expect. The OKC defense was ready for that as well, and the surrounding pieces on the floor with him meant the focus can expand even more. For example, he played a decently long stint next to KZ Okpala and Gabe Vincent, which was basically an immediate indicator to duck off their man to collapse onto the driving Herro. That led to him drifting out to the three-point line and letting it go, ending with a 4 for 4 stat-line from deep at the half. We know how good Herro is, but seeing him continue to score when 10 eyes are on him at all times is really intriguing. Every shot is a difficult shot, and he’s never fazed.

 

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#3: Miami’s depth tonight showcases the questionable tags early in year.

Before the season, a primary observation of this group was the depth on this Heat team. There are unknowns when Victor Oladipo will return, Tyler Herro is the headliner, and some veterans fill it out. But when you’re without 3 rotational players, things shine through. Gabe Vincent has embraced his own defensive coverage called the 2-2-1 press, but the three-ball just hasn’t seemed to drop. KZ Okpala, in year three, still doesn’t seem to have the trust from the coaching staff. beginning with the continued offensive incapabilities. Omer Yurtseven, Caleb Martin, and others have taken advantage in their small spurts, but you get the point. The depth really isn’t a strong-suit. And when I say “depth,” I’m not talking about that nine man rotation, but instead the guys outside of it. Hence, the reason many await the return of Oladipo.

#4: Duncan Robinson looking like…Duncan Robinson.

As I’ve been discussing throughout Duncan Robinson’s struggles, we won’t see many mid-range jumpers or two point attempts until the three begins to fall. And well, we saw a Duncan floater tonight, so that explains the night he had. He can actually get down there in space when the close-outs are extra hard once they’re falling, and that was especially the case in the third quarter. Shooting it with confidence within different sets, and more importantly, from different spots. It’s not that he’s just hugging that three point line and looping it like a roller coaster track, but instead that he’s providing space between him and that line, forcing defenders to make a decision. And that decision becomes harder and harder when he’s shooting like…himself. Now, stat-sheet wise, that wasn’t completely the case, but in the game flow, his shots were big.

#5: Max Strus playing his role perfectly on a night it’s hardest to play your role.

When three guys in your nine man rotation are out, it usually means there is an incoming universal shift across the roster to step up. But in many ways, Tyler Herro did that for everybody. That allowed Max Strus to be Max Strus, and my takeaway is that he’s going to be huge with a healthy roster. When I talk about this team being both emotionally sturdy and positionally sound, Strus is a big reason for that. Not only through his placement on charges and steady shooting night in and night out, but also the trust the team has in him. He’s mentioned recently that getting back in shape will be a focus after recovering from that knee injury, but when playing a pure role, limited movement is requested. And when Butler, Adebayo, and Morris are all playing, the game will only grow simpler for him.

 

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over Jazz

The Miami Heat had a very rough start to the road trip, but they got it back on track in probably the most unexpected matchup. They beat the Utah Jazz on Saturday night, and it wasn’t just one guy.

And well, to win without Jimmy Butler, you must have full contribution from the squad, which Miami did.

Anyway, here are five takeaways from this game tonight…

#1: Duncan Robinson. That’s my takeaway.

Seeing the ball go through the hoop for Duncan Robinson was not only important for Heat fans, but Robinson himself. Once one dropped early, it led to a flurry that quickly followed, which is exactly the type of stretch so many have been awaiting. As I’ve been saying all season, it wasn’t anything mechanical that has changed. And it wasn’t anything schematically that changed majorly either. It was just all in his head, and a two-game stretch where he shoots the ball well is all he needs. Some may say that one game will do the job, but him building on that confidence to do it two straight will be key for what’s to come. And well, it’s coming.

#2: PJ Tucker deserves some love.

We all know PJ Tucker is a good basketball player, and an important one at that for this team. But I truly don’t think he gets enough credit for all the small stuff he does on a nightly basis. Bail out wing threes with the shot clock expiring aside, the dude just does the dirty work. For his size, his rebounding is just so absolutely impressive, and it begins with his high level box-outs on guys who are much lengthier than him. Another element to this is his ability to step up into roles on this team that you wouldn’t expect. One of those was his offensive filler for Jimmy Butler, leaving him crossing half-court with the ball in his hands, and play-making from the mid-post position inside the wing. That’s not PJ Tucker, but it is when he’s called to do a task. And that’s why he deserves some love.

#3: The need for a back-up point guard is harped on, but it’s actually not the biggest hole.

Switching into some transactional/roster construction talk, there’s a common theme about this Heat team whenever guys go out. The need for a back-up point guard. Seeing Gabe Vincent continue to struggle offensively in that role upon being inserted may have put that on blast a bit more, but there’s a position that is needed so much more: front-court depth. Two guys get injured and what’s the plan for Miami? Just substitute Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin in for each other at the 4. We’re overlooking the element that Miami’s utilizing their guard depth to fill front-court holes, which is the bigger issue. It’s clear this team doesn’t trust Omer Yurtseven or KZ Okpala at this time, and Udonis Haslem is just unable to play for extended stretches. Hence, the bigger issue at hand in the big picture.

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#4: Bam Adebayo had a good game, but one skill shined through.

Bam Adebayo is one of those guys who just does everything well on the basketball court. He can score in a multitude of ways, lock up your best player, and rebound at a high level. The one thing I didn’t mention: his passing. In my opinion, this was by far his best passing game of the season. Not in terms of assists in the box score, but through pure vision. His head was on a swivel, he was finding back-door cutters, and really taking matters into his own hands in that department without Butler, and even Kyle Lowry for a stretch. We know how good of a passer/play-maker he really is, but sometimes it needs to be reminded how much of it is just pure talent for his size and position.

#5: Kyle Lowry the scorer returns. As Bam says, “I like that aggressive Kyle.”

Much like Bam Adebayo, many Heat observers “like that aggressive Kyle.” That’s even more important to see when Jimmy Butler is out, but as we took away from the loss against the Clippers, waiting until the fourth quarter for Lowry time just won’t do the job. And it doesn’t always have to be the three-ball that allows him to be that guy. Actually, it’s preferably just the opposite. When he’s getting to that elbow pull-up and taking opposing bigs in isolation seems to be when he’s at his best as a scorer. Even fluctuating from that transition passing threat to transition scoring threat. Bam Adebayo loves aggressive Kyle. Jimmy Butler loves aggressive Kyle. Everybody loves aggressive Kyle. Why is that? It almost always translates to a W in the win column.

 

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A Duncan Robinson Dribble Hand-Off Shift: Adebayo to Butler

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Coming into the season, it was known everybody on this Heat team was going to endure a shift. Duncan Robinson’s shift, though, was for very different reasoning.

Guys like Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro were going to see a positive change in terms of their newly acquired point guard, Kyle Lowry. And Bam Adebayo was going to begin that transition into a “flat-out scorer,” as Pat Riley noted before the season.

But as Adebayo begins to flip that switch, a prominent part of the offense was going to be cut out a little more: the dribble hand-off. While many Heat fans may scoff at the thought of a hand-off at this stage, it can still be highly effective, especially when Adebayo isn’t the one doing it.

To that point, my initial thought to begin the year was that’ll be PJ Tucker’s role. He’s a great screener with his wide frame, and has shown to be more than willing to play that “set-up” role on the offensive end of the floor. And well, he’s done just that so far.

But there’s actually been a better guy for that job through the Heat’s first 3 games of the regular season, and that guy may surprise you.

It’s Jimmy Butler.

Robinson is currently 8 for 25 on threes to begin the season, but the issue isn’t exactly those two numbers provided. It’s actually the spurts where you kind of forget he’s on the floor, since that hasn’t happened up until this point.

He’s always been a guy that can draw two to the ball at any time, but that’s actually been the new norm for Tyler Herro to begin the year. With that said, there should be even more of an urge to find Robinson and let him fire, especially in a game in Indiana without Kyle Lowry.

But without the continued DHO spam from Adebayo on a nightly basis, how does Butler provide an effective two-man game with Robinson?

Well, it’s actually in the same exact way Adebayo does it.

Taking a look through these clips above, there must be an understanding of the situation. This game was completely in the mud to say the least, and Butler was essentially being drowned in that mud.

He couldn’t get anything going, while Robinson couldn’t truly find a way to be incorporated in the offense without a true orchestrator by his side. So, the third quarter plan was to work themselves in together in space.

In the first clip, Butler gets another isolation possession for himself, but on this inefficient night, he’s looking for other options. Robinson loops around for the hand-off as Butler slips the screen, and he catches it in stride for the easy bucket.

Now, let’s move onto the second clip. And no, it’s not the same clip being replayed.

Robinson once again comes around the perimeter as both defenders bite on that DHO, which is why we constantly harp on his gravity. He hits Butler, and points come out of it once again.

Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle calls timeout for one reason and one reason only: to make an adjustment to that offensive combo.

Fast forward 30 seconds and you can see that defensive change that is made. Malcolm Brogdon doesn’t attack the Robinson hand-off, and just awaits the Butler slip. What does that mean for Miami? Well, it means Robinson has one job now: try and collapse the defense.

That collapse never truly occurred, which gave him a wide open driving lane for the easy two. If Robinson can counter those defensive adjustments consistently in this same fashion, then Miami really does have the best of both worlds.

Adebayo can play that weak-side as a scoring threat, while Butler plays that short roll with deep-threat Duncan by his side.

But Robinson has to get back to that same shooting level where it’s less thinking, and more reacting.

And it should be mentioned that this wasn’t just a one game thing.

As seen above, Miami worked it into their game-plan against Orlando as well, which makes it even more deadly when Butler is knocking down those bunnies/mid-range jumpers on that slip.

But they’re going to need that unconscious shooting from Robinson for this to fully work. With the guys around him, less attention will be on him then there previously was, but he’s going to have to make them pay.

I don’t really have any concerns about that necessarily, but the shots aren’t going to come in the same exact ways that they did last season. It may be more transition stop and pops off the catch. It may be more open looks that he has to knock down. And well, it may be the continuation of the dribble hand-off with Jimmy Butler.

But for his minutes to be a success next to Herro in those specific lineups, those shots will have to fall. And that combo hasn’t been considerably great so far.

Now as the schedule really starts to ramp up, they’re going to need him in a bunch of these big games. It’s about getting back to that original mindset: not focusing on three-point makes, but focusing on three-point attempts.

 

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

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Five Takeaways from Heat’s Win Over San Antonio

The Miami Heat’s rotation may have looked a bit odd if you turned on your TV on Friday night. Many guys sit out for the typical back-to-back, but preseason back-to-backs basically leave coaches looking in the crowd for a starting five. That left Miami with 8 available players, beginning with Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson running the show to start.

But five takeaways are still necessary, even after a game like this…

#1: Tyler Herro showing out once again, displaying expanded mid-range comfort.

Tyler Herro was clearly going to have the ball in his hands more than usual tonight with the long list of guys resting, and it feels we learn more and more about his updated offensive skill-set every preseason game. We’ve seen him get to the line more, shoot at a better rate off the catch, and now, an improved mid-range attribute. That elbow pull-up has always been there for him out of the high pick and roll, but the drifting feel once he steps inside the arc is something new. Step-backs, wild fade-aways, and many more lead-up combos seem to be the go-to in that area, and the key element is that he’s doing it both controllably and comfortably. This preseason scoring run is no fluke, since it’s just the product of a true off-season.

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#2: Increased minutes for Omer Yurtseven means much more controlled playing time.

When predicting forward on this team through the off-season, I felt Miami could end up using Omer Yurtseven a bit sooner than expected, following a fantastic showing in Summer League. But the transition hasn’t been as flawless as I may have thought. The scoring side of him hasn’t really been there since he’s still trying to fit in and play a specific role, but we saw a slight shift within that tonight. Who would’ve thought more minutes at this level would do the trick? Well, possibly all Heat observers. His offensive game begins with slick post work and pure outside spacing, but one of those has stuck out more. It feels like the reliance on the pop-out is the way to go, since his high release point is a match-up struggle for any opposing big.

#3: Max Strus continuing to keep his theme: consistency.

When you’re describing a spot-up shooter in this league, consistency is the best adjective there is. But when I’m using this term in this sense, I don’t just mean outside efficiency. Instead, it’s more about the consistency within the role of Max Strus. That’s been the case since day one, when it became a joke on the team that he somehow always makes his first shot no matter the circumstance. Now, it just feels like he’s putting his fingerprints on every game, practice, and scrimmage in the same exact way. You take a look at the stat sheet during a commercial break and his effectiveness almost comes as a surprise. Yes, it’s known that he’s playing well and putting the ball in the basket, but it’s still a bit unexpected for some reason. What does that mean? It means that the Heat have a straight shooter inside their rotation who shouldn’t have any limitations placed on him. Strus just consistently does the right thing with supreme confidence.

#4: A big picture takeaway: could Jimmy Butler at the 4 be coming?

Markieff Morris got some first half minutes tonight after being listed as questionable, and although he’s a veteran, there’s still some necessary things to showcase in terms of effectiveness and role. I’ve talked about using him as a roller/inside threat more than a spot-up outside shooter, and not one three was attempted in his minutes. Just 6 shots inside the arc, shooting 2 for 6 from the field. As we know, he isn’t the most efficient player, KZ Okpala is basically unplayable at this stage, and Omer Yurtseven still needs a bit more time. The point is that the front-court depth has a couple question marks at the moment, all relying on the health of PJ Tucker. An undeniable positive lineup wrinkle would be Jimmy Butler minutes at the 4, but it won’t be something looked toward a lot. But if it could be used from the 12 to 6 minute mark in the 4th from night to night depending on the match-up, then there’s definitely something there.

#5: In tonight’s exhibit 10 match, Micah Potter was the clear stand-out.

The Miami Heat were able to continue Summer League evaluations into training camp development, and in many ways, that’s what the preseason is for too. They all were given a path to extended minutes tonight, except for Dru Smith who was held out of the game as well. DJ Stewart and Javonte Smart are two young guards with offensive potential, but Yurtseven’s back-up for the night, Micah Potter, ended up being the one jumping off the screen. Between getting plenty of shots up down low and shooting that mid-range/three-ball with confidence, the coaching staff got a taste of his offensive game. He hasn’t been the greatest rebounder up to this point, but tonight was a different story. Aside from the numbers, his positioning principles actually stood out, and when evaluating the exhibit 10’s on the Heat, the small stuff matters. A lot.

 

Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882

Who Will Close More Games for the Heat this Season: Herro or Robinson?

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.

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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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The Importance of the Herro-Robinson Offensive On-Court Combo

Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have had an interesting NBA journey together up to this point. Both drawing more and more eyes in Las Vegas Summer League before Herro’s rookie season, leading up to an eventual run to the NBA finals where both of them were pretty big reasons they ended up in that position.

It’s continually been Robinson running with the starters through some historical shooting seasons, and Herro being utilized as a bench spark when Robinson comes off the floor. But in a lot of ways, it’s going to be much more about their minutes together this season.

The new roster fits the idea of them playing alongside one another. The reason for that is there aren’t as many defensive holes as there once was. They aren’t staggering other poor defenders like Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic anymore, meaning there will be much more freedom.

There won’t be anymore stress about poor defensive lineups, since other than that Herro-Robinson one-two punch, the rest of the rotation will be pretty sound defensively. And now that they’re going to get plenty more reps, it’s time for more and more actions being run through them to maximize their offensive skill-set.

And well, it all starts with the extra on-ball reps for Herro this upcoming season…

When many were pondering the reasons that Miami would let Nunn walk like they did, the consensus was that they were clearing a pathway for Herro to take that next step. And while the most necessary statistic jump will be spot-up shooting, which I’ll address down the line, the ball will be in his hands very frequently.

We constantly talk about Robinson’s offensive gravity beyond the arc, which means Miami will have to pair that up with a hopefully more experienced pick and roll oriented Tyler Herro. The play above is one of the main ways to use them with those specific skill-sets: two guys in the weak-side corner, Herro-Adebayo PnR, and Robinson at the top of the key.

Now, it should be noted that the Heat will be simplifying Herro’s offensive role in many ways. An example of that is shown on this possession. He will essentially be told to watch Robinson’s defender, Kemba Walker, and react to what is given.

If Walker drops down in the slightest, it’s a win for them with a semi-contested Robinson three. If he doesn’t slide down, Herro can either pull up for a mid-range with his coveted baseline jumper, or lob it to Adebayo.

But the point is that it shouldn’t consistently be both Robinson and Herro off the ball. They have to be worked into the scheme together if this team wants to take a regular season offensive leap, and it feels like Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff wouldn’t hesitate to run this type of stuff more often if they’re rolling.

 

Whenever I discuss certain players or offensive actions, I always bring up the term “layers.” Since well, the Miami Heat love adding layers, especially in the time slot seen in the clip above: the beginning of the third.

For starters, the beginning part of this play should be used more as well. Allow Robinson to slip some screens for Herro in an empty corner and see what comes from it. Most of the time both players won’t accidentally leave Robinson on that pop out, but it happens here.

In this clip, Adebayo is stationed in the perfect spot. He’s essentially the Herro safety net if he got trapped or the Celtics blew it up, but he makes himself even more useful. Once Boston goes into a rotational frenzy, Adebayo sets a screen for Robinson as Nunn cuts off the weak-side. Easy pass, easy lay-in, easy set to run for the Robinson-Herro combination.

Looking at this past season, it’s not like the two weren’t used out on the floor together a bunch. They were seventh on the team among two-man grouping minutes, but an interesting stat is connected to that. Obviously these type of offensive rating numbers could be a bit clouded, but among the team’s nine most used duos, Robinson and Herro were last in offensive rating.

And well, a lot of that had to do with role and usage, but that seems to be changing this year.

When talking about them sharing the floor together, it’s not like the other premier players won’t be out there as well. I have a weird feeling that Lowry-Herro-Robinson minutes could end up becoming a staple at times with the team’s previous lack of sitting Butler and Adebayo at the same time.

As much as on-ball actions with the two of them can create stuff, the same goes for off-ball movement. And a perfect game to evaluate this was when they faced Philadelphia early in the season with eight available players, and Herro/Robinson as the headliners.

This play above was most likely triggered following the defensive coverage seen out there in the first minute. With Tyrese Maxey playing that high on Gabe Vincent, it’s not hard to run back-screening for a good look in an open half-court.

Kelly Olynyk initially sets some off-ball screens for Herro and Robinson to flow into the weak-side. Olynyk then relocates himself off a pin-down, leading to an open look that obviously didn’t drop.

It’s not important who that popper would realistically be on this squad, but the point is that there’s ways for this team to generate wide open looks without Herro or Robinson even touching the ball. If Herro can blend into a Robinson-lite role in terms of overall movement to manipulate defenses, this stuff becomes even more deadly as the season continues.

And lastly, they just have to straight up hoop.

In a lot of ways, that’s what the two of them did in the bubble. They were shooting the ball at a very high level, not only with efficiency levels but also volume. They need to have the confidence to play off each other like they did in that Orlando environment.

Take a look at the clip above. A quick Robinson swing to a Herro pump-fake, side-step, and pass to a contested three-point make from Robinson. I just don’t remember seeing this stuff this past season.

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Like I alluded to earlier, a lot of this type of production rides on the spot-up shooting of Herro out the gate. When evaluating his numbers last season, everything pretty much increased in the slightest fashion, but the one thing that took a major hit was that catch and shoot three.

It wasn’t mechanical. It wasn’t confidence. I just believe it was a clustered role.

So, following a true off-season and a clear role pathway, a team goal throughout the year should be to bump up the usage on the two of them together. The more they can find ways to not fully rely on the team’s top veterans like Butler and Lowry, the better this team will be positioned heading into the post-season.

 

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A Single Offensive Addition Changes the Game for Duncan Robinson

Following a breakout sophomore season from Duncan Robinson, leading into a Finals run in the bubble, it was going to be hard to reiterate that same effectiveness in his third season.

He was on the top of scouting reports, teams were fronting his perimeter movement, and open threes were impossible. With him adjusting to all of this, he had a bit of a rough start to the season. But well, a “rough start” for Robinson is a normal start for others.

He ended up finishing his third season with a very similar stat-line, including 13 points a game, knocking down 3.5 threes a game on 41% shooting from deep. Yeah, I guess that isn’t too bad.

Speaking of those “adjustments,” they were being thrown at him from every direction. Starting his sets a few steps behind the three-point line to maximize spacing, sprinkling in some back-cuts to keep defenders honest, and accepting the decoy role when it was needed.

But there’s still one necessary step to truly elevate his game at this stage. It doesn’t involve excessive dribbling. It doesn’t involve hard attacks to the basket out of his comfort zone.

It’s rather simple: one pump-fake, two dribbles, and a pull-up.

It is something that I even brought up in the previous off-season, but obviously in limited time, that was a high expectation. But although we didn’t see it much this season, there were some glimpses that showed it’ll be easier to develop than originally expected.

When I stated that Robinson had to start certain actions farther from the three-point line, the clip above further proves that. He runs a high pick and roll with Bam Adebayo, which allows him to flow downhill and stop and pop at the perimeter for a pull-up triple.

The reason that’s important to note is to show the mechanics are there. Most of the time for catch and shoot players like himself, the stuff that comes before the actual release is the hardest part when forming a mid-range shot. The ability to have good balance on the abrupt stop, the comfortability with lifting following the two dribbles, and overall body control.

Getting those type of reps are setting him up for that next step of developing a mid-range game to a certain degree. It’s not that he will use it a ton, but it must be an option. If the shot isn’t there, defenses know the next option is a pocket pass or a simple swing. Once that expands, the game becomes much easier for him, yet much harder for the guy on the other side of the ball.

The most important part about this move is that it can be used in many different ways, meaning Erik Spoelstra can have a field day with opening up one of his favorite offensive weapons.

In the first clip above, we see a way it can be utilized as an off-ball threat, as he curls off the off-ball screen and catches in stride. If he can get to the rim, that will always be an option, since he’s very efficient once he gets down there. But there won’t seem to be many opportunities to get down there with ease considering his current skill-set.

Three defenders collapse once they see what is developing, but simply, there’s nothing they can do about that free throw line pull-up.

And by the way, not to stray off the topic too far, but there’s another minor reason this play worked: the Max Strus usage. That off-ball corner distraction pulls away those two defenders from the on-ball action, giving them the space they need. If Strus does end up getting rotational minutes as expected, that is why those two can be used together in beneficial ways.

The second clip above is just Robinson playing freely. It’s an awkward possession after the ball almost rolls past half-court, leading to him avoiding the screen to drive hard, before stopping at a dead spot once again.

Another area his deep ball shooting has really prepared him for is the overall offensive feel with the ball in his hands. As much as we discuss his gravity, that means that defenders are constantly flying around him from every direction. Due to that, he has developed a natural feel to find the spots on the floor that he can fire away.

This one simple move may not seem like it holds high importance, but it absolutely does. He already has the attributes that make him highly effective in this league, but now it’s all about finding ways to open that up more.

And when defenders are sprinting out for contests, mixing in that pump-fake, two-dribble pull-up can change the game for him next season. Obviously improving on-ball defense more and more will be a huge priority, but it wouldn’t shock me if this has been the main thing being harped on this entire off-season.

 

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What is Next for Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn in Free Agency?

Two fantastic stories, two fantastic players. Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn went from un-drafted gems with the Miami Heat to off-season headaches with plenty of difficult decisions looming.

Of course the Heat front office would love to bring them back due to the personal connection, but sentimental Pat Riley seems to be out the window. It’s time to improve the team and make harsh decisions if they must be made.

The price of Nunn feels to be something that a bunch of teams would be willing to take a chance on as a fantastic offensive scorer who can just play freely in an offense to get buckets. With Miami needing to fill certain holes, it doesn’t seem like that money will be coming out of the Heat’s pocket.

Robinson, on the other hand, is a different story. The money range that he is looking for seems to be one that the Miami Heat expected. They’re not just going to let one of the league’s most lethal shooters just walk. But that doesn’t mean a sign and trade is impossible.

Like in every discussion, if the right deal comes along, the Heat should pull the trigger without including Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo. Would a deal that big actually enter the discussion over the next few weeks? Probably not, which means there’s a decent chance Robinson could be back in a Heat uniform next season.

Being in this position alone is a win for Nunn and Robinson. They’ve beaten the odds up to this point, and their NBA careers are still young. After the first big pay day, it’s then time to make the necessary leaps in their games to truly reach the next level of their respective skill-sets.

 

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Everything Tradeshows is a one-stop-shop for trade show exhibit rentals and custom exhibit display purchase solutions to companies of all sizes.

Visit them at EverythingTradeShows or call 954-791-8882