After diving into a bunch of top free agency and trade options for the Miami Heat this off-season, it’s time to take a look down the depth chart a bit more. In a perfect scenario, the Heat snag their point guard as free agency opens, and possibly get a deal done for a three level scorer through a trade.
No matter the situation, cheaper guys will need to be added to fulfill the rotation. And as much as I touch on a young big being slotted in next to Bam Adebayo being super ideal in a long term sense, it just doesn’t seem like a viable option at the current moment with what is out there.
One group of guys that is for sure out there though is cheaper wings and bigs that can be plugged into that four spot next to Adebayo. There is still a chance that Trevor Ariza could be back on a similar deal, but it seems like certain guys on the same money-line may be better fits for next year’s roster.
The first guy up is Jeff Green, who is getting up there in age, but doesn’t seem to matter considering the fact it’ll be a short-term deal and he’s still contributing at a high level. So, what exactly does he bring to the table at this stage, specifically in a Miami Heat system?
Pick and Pop Specialist or Pure Floor Spacer
When watching Jeff Green this past season with the Brooklyn Nets, next to a big three of that caliber, he found himself as the corner spacer a lot of the time. He’s the perfect guy for the job, since his smooth looking jumper took a three-point shooting leap to the best mark of his career.
Shooting 41% from three on a little under 4 attempts a game is impressive, but the spot-up numbers made it look even better. Almost all of his threes come off the catch and shoot, but untimely possessions force some stats to become jumbled. On set jumpers though, he shot 44% this past season, while it jumped to 56% in the post-season in a small sample size.
Most of these options that I will discuss are capable of knocking down that corner three to eliminate easy tags on the roll. But incorporating more than the corner three shifts this conversation.
In a Brooklyn offense, he played a good amount of small ball 5, meaning he was a constant screener in many lineups. And when guys like James Harden or Kevin Durant are in the PnR, easy wing threes are a result as seen above.
Relating back to the Heat, the question becomes: would those looks be similar without Nets-level rim pressure? As mentioned earlier, in this scenario, I’m acting as if they completed their agenda by adding a veteran point guard in free agency. And if you give Jimmy Butler another attacker and facilitator, like Kyle Lowry, then things can look similar.
But those type of vets can obviously mesh with a stretch four like himself, but what about Bam Adebayo?
The Bam Adebayo Complement
In simple terms, you can say it’s clear they would fit well together with his natural perimeter spacing, as pointed out in the previous shooting section. But I believe this conversation can be expanded in different ways.
For one, take a look at the first two video clips above. The outcome you may get from that is the same as before, a spot-up threat from deep, but that’s not the important part.
Instead, his area of operation strikes as an interesting point. Both of those possessions that resulted in a three began with him creating the space from the elbow. Who else loves those elbow jumpers? Bam Adebayo.
We’ve been talking about ways to push Adebayo into more of a scoring mentality, and this could be equally as important as a point guard. Guys like Jae Crowder and Trevor Arize didn’t operate from those type of spots inside the arc, forcing Adebayo to take advantage of it.
The only time actions on the wing were ran for him was when the shot clock was ticking down and he was forced to shoot. This acquisition may push him into different spots that can propel his offensive abilities. Why else should he relocate from the elbow at times? Well, look at the last clip above.
They must slowly back Adebayo away from the constant DHO’s, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to abort the entire offensive plan. To continue the spacing, hand-offs must be run to get guys like Adebayo into the right spots to be effective. But it just doesn’t always have to be Adebayo running that action.
As seen in that clip, they can expand Green off the free throw line into DHO’s, which we can call the Adebayo role. Now, don’t take this as Adebayo never occupying the free throw line, where he’s grown so comfortable, and Green leaving his second home in the corners. It’s just that this pick-up gives the offense some diversity, and it’s well known that Miami’s offense needs some additional options to keep it fresh.
When I said he was playing a lot of small ball 5, it was mostly because he’s very capable of doing it, and that alone has to grab Miami’s attention. He’s able to switch onto smaller guys, much like Ariza did last season, while holding his ground on the block, much like Crowder did the year prior.
They need middle ground between those two players, and I believe Green can be that guy, regardless of his age. As seen above, easy rotations once guys get blown by at the top of the key became second nature for him, and that’s a necessary element on a Heat team with the lack of strong point of attack defense.
It’s not just about a guy that can handle a bigger match-up, which I’ll dive into next, but taking those match-ups mean that they have a viable weak side defender for Adebayo to roam the perimeter. Ariza’s quickness allowed him to be the perfect tagger when Butler and Adebayo were in the action, but once the big man got the reception, he was one drop step away from an easy basket.
So, could Green change that narrative in some ways?
He does a very good job at containing in a general sense, either the avoidance of biting on the perimeter or the non-committal play-style when defending the PnR. In the play above, he doesn’t overplay either one of them, forcing the ball-handler to dump it off to the big.
Alex Len gives Green that shoulder that usually works against those type of forwards, but he didn’t move him like he expected. He stays strong when he rises up, and gets the block to complete a great defensive possession.
The reason I included the word versatility to begin this topic is not just because of his ability to guard the perimeter and paint. It’s actually because he can be plugged into some different spots on that end of the floor, either as the help-side guy that I mentioned before, or the main defender in the action when Adebayo is on the sideline.
His length plays a big part in all of this, and his experience definitely helps a lot as well. At this stage of his career, he probably wants structure, and a coach like Erik Spoelstra would definitely give him that.
Secondary Offensive Options
To cap this off, it’s always great to talk about the “other” parts of his game. We know about the shooting stuff and his favorite spots on the floor, but what is his secondary option?
Well, he is not much of a mid-range player, but can knock it down when it is given to him. Going back to my point about his work on the elbow, that number may rise in a Heat offense.
Other than that, he shoots about 3 shots a game less than 10 feet from the basket, which is where he does his damage offensively when we aren’t discussing three-point shooting. And if we’re going to get very specific, a good portion of his two-point attempts are generated from the perimeter.
With slower bigs defending a quick trigger, it leads to plenty of pump-fakes into dribble drives. While Ariza lacked that type of rim pressure, Green can bring that when the triple is falling, which is super beneficial to the Heat’s motion offense.
The other way stuff inside the paint is generated is when he’s the screener. Once again, it helps when you’re playing with the offensive firepower the Nets have, due to constant blitzes becoming the theme, but it’s still his game when he receives it in there.
The Heat aren’t really known for those type of entry passes for post touches, but a point guard will get him that pocket pass when he needs it. Not only do we see another utilization of the pump-fake on the play above, but it’s another strong and hard take that Miami misses. They may not want to fully commit to a true big, but a stretch four that plays bigger than he is will truly be useful.
And going back to Adebayo, once he gets the confidence and offensive freedom next season, it makes all of these guys’ jobs easier. Cleaner spacing, some 4-5 pick and pops, and much more. It’ll be an Erik Spoelstra field day.
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