Tag Archive for: Kyle Lowry

Five Takeaways from the Heat’s First Preseason Match

The Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of the pre-season tonight in quite a fashion. No Jimmy Butler, no problem. The rotational guys looked as effective as ever, showing a theme that’s super essential: it isn’t one guy, it’s everybody. If this Miami “team” becomes a problem, then wins will closely follow.

Anyway, here are five takeaways from this game. (And more importantly, the first of many for the season ahead)

#1: Kyle Lowry doing Kyle Lowry things, rubbing off on teammates immediately.

Well, Kyle Lowry found himself in the starting lineup for the first time in a Miami Heat uniform on Monday night, kicking off the preseason. We know what Lowry brings on a nightly basis: high level passing, off-ball talents, and strong point of attack defense. But rubbing off on teammates is the thing I noticed most. After Friday’s scrimmage, a primary takeaway of mine was that Lowry-Herro-Adebayo minutes would be fast, and clearly, they were just that. Finding ways to get those young talents out on the break was crucial, and we saw it already. It’s not just about darting down the open floor, but being set up in the open floor. And yet, QB1 Lowry will hit you in your spots.

#2: Third year Tyler Herro is in full effect.

Tyler Herro has been putting in the work all off-season, ready to attack his third season head first. So, he decided not to waste any time by scoring 20 points in the first half, going 8 of 11 from the field. The efficiency stuff is obviously important, but the speed in which he’s going about it is even more important. Starting the game with 2 floaters and a lob pass to Bam Adebayo pretty much told you he’s much more controlled in the pick and roll. He’s had that floater and lob pass in his bag for some time, but the indecisiveness when to use each one wasn’t the case tonight. Herro’s playing with a purpose, he’s playing in a simplified role, and simply, he’s getting buckets.

#3: Bam Adebayo with some more ball-handling duties.

Of course, without Jimmy Butler playing, things look a bit different, but some stuff is bigger than who is in or out of the lineup. The ball-handling duties are going to be spread between Lowry, Herro, Butler, and the young centerpiece, Bam Adebayo. Don’t worry, Herro and Lowry got plenty of reps in that role tonight, but seeing them both deferring to Adebayo in the half-court was a beautiful sight. Why is that? Well, as Adebayo said on media day, he began getting bored in scoring in the same old spots on the floor every night. In the first preseason game, though, he was spread throughout the half-court. Freeing him up in this way to be the talented on-ball player that he is takes this team to the next tier.

#4: A consistent evaluation: among the young group at the bottom of the roster, Caleb Martin sticks out.

The Heat’s two-way spots are pretty much a revolving door. At one point in this game, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin all shared the floor together for some pretty decent minutes on both ends. Why is that important? Well, not only is it abnormal for 2 past two-ways and 1 current two-way to be out there together, but more importantly, they all have a shot to contribute this season. Martin may have been the final addition to the roster, but it’s clear to many that it was an absolute steal. He is an athletic finisher, can create for himself at a high level, and really showed a hounding defensive presence on the perimeter. Coach Spo loves plug and play guys, and that is Caleb Martin. I’d expect to see him a bit this season.


#5: Miami’s front-court depth may not be perfect, but they have options.

The Heat’s front-court looks a bit different this season. Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon are the familiar faces in the rotation, but others are still trying to get acquainted. Omer Yurtseven and KZ Okpala may be at the bottom of that bunch as well, but rotational minutes don’t seem to be in reasonable reach to begin the year. The reason I discuss the team having options is due to PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris. Before Tucker went out with an injury, he showed his role: corner threes and running DHO’s for the offensive threats. Morris, on the other hand, wasn’t getting the friendly roll from beyond the arc, but getting him to the middle of the floor by the free throw line seemed effective. The front-court has different skills across the board, and while they aren’t perfect, options are more important on this new squad.


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

Full Miami Heat Media Day Recap

The Miami Heat kicked off media day early this morning with some familiar faces, while mixing in some unfamiliar faces. Erik Spoelstra, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry all discussed this team heading into the season.

Spoelstra was up first, and he gave the injury news up front. He said he doesn’t have a timeline on Victor Oladipo at the moment, adding, “He’s had a tremendous off-season…There’s sunshine ahead.”

I don’t think we’re going to be hearing anything about a specific timeline any time soon, so I wouldn’t get any hopes up for that. But there’s no rush for him this regular season. Just heal, prepare, and repeat.

Now, of course Spo jumped right into the overarching topic of this Heat team: Kyle Lowry. Initially mentions he always think of that half-court heave in game one that sent the game to overtime a few years back.

“He’s a great winner. He knows how to impact winning,” Spo says. “His mind of the game is as high as anybody in this league, and I’m looking forward to learning from him.”

When talking from an X’s and O’s standpoint, which I personally enjoy much more, he touched on something that has been discussed all off-season: “He also has a unique way of playing off the ball.”

That is very much the case, and it’s very much needed on a team with Butler and Adebayo who can truly control a game with the ball in their hands. And speaking of controlling a game with the ball in hand, that’s one of Spo’s favorite tendencies when evaluating Lowry.

“Getting easy baskets and generating a pace where guys will run and know they will get the ball…His pace is one of the things I dreaded most competing against him.”

Spo also touched on the other newcomers, in PJ Tucker and Markieff Morris, which noted our first culture comment of the day. When talking about Tucker, he said, “The way he competes and puts himself out there just screams Miami Heat culture. He’s fierce, he’s tough, he’s edgy.”

His opinion on Morris, on the other hand, was a lot of looking in the past, as he noted, to his days on the Washington Wizards.

“Versatility, positional size, 4 or 5. I really respect how he has played a lot of different roles in different programs in this league,” Spo adds.

This led to the finishing touches of Spo’s presser, talking about some of those familiar faces. “He has an incredible iron will and a work ethic that will continue to grow his game,” Spo said about Adebayo. “That’s why I’ve called him no ceiling.”

When Tyler Herro’s name was brought up, he mentioned that the most important thing for him was to “handle some adversity, handle when the narrative changes.”

He said that he had a great off-season and it was a springboard from last season. Even adding, “Everything his first year was roses and compliments.”

And well, last season seemed to be quite the opposite from the public. Spo replied that it’s funny since his second year was better statistically, but obviously the narrative shifted.

He ended this topic by saying Herro gained 10+ pounds over that span. “He changed his body.”

When Bam Adebayo began listing the things he worked on in the off-season, there was an interesting starting point. “Obviously shooting,” he said.

He then reiterated that statement down the line: “I wanna be a shooter.” And when asked if he will attempt more than one three a game, he laughed and gave a one word answer.


The reason for that being important isn’t because he worked on it for a couple months this off-season. It isn’t because he told the public that he’s willing to work it into his game. But instead, that he said it with confidence.

Since well, if that three-point shot is going to be effective this season, confidence needs to be aligned all the way through.


He then began to talk about potentially chasing specific accolades like Defensive Player of the Year, which he said, “It’s deeper than accolades. Everybody in this league chases something…I love when people doubt me. I feel like a chip will make a monster.”

(Feel like I’ve heard that same statement from a close teammate of his.)

Anyway, he continued on that notion, “I  don’t think that chip will ever leave. It’s embedded in me.” Adebayo mentioned that he likes to try and find stuff to motivate him daily, even “UD’s rebounding record.”

Finally, it’s important to mention the Lowry addition will be huge for Adebayo’s success. Butler’s continued play-making willingness will drive his game further as well. But nothing seems to be as important as the duo of Adebayo and Duncan Robinson.

When I asked about that expansion, Adebayo replied, “Keep building that connection as a lethal threat. The more our games grow, that’s what makes it more lethal and it’ll make it unstoppable.”

One of my main takeaways from any Heat presser today occurred when Lowry was at the podium. Not his Heat-like demeanor. Not his unselfishness and willingness to make others better. Not even his comments about Butler when he wasn’t in the room.

Instead, it was the back and forth joking manner between Lowry and Butler in the middle of the presser, as if they’ve been teammates for 10 years. Some stuff just exceeds the X’s and O’s, and that’s exactly what this duo will do.

Between self promoting his brand while Lowry is talking or Lowry laughing at Butler’s braids, it just works.

My second big takeaway from today was something Butler said when talking about Lowry’s impact. “He takes a lot of pressure off myself, off Bam…He gives Bam the room to just go, and be who you are, and not worry about too much else.”

That last part matters. A lot.

Adebayo may not have a ceiling, but the peak he reaches will be how far this team goes. “Just going” will be huge for him this upcoming season.

My final overarching takeaway is about something that wasn’t said. Actually wasn’t said at all.

In a 30-40 minute Erik Spoelstra presser, Butler’s name didn’t come up. Neither by question or throughout an answer of this team, essentially the team’s best player wasn’t brought up.

That’s rare, but that just says a lot about this team. Does the public take Butler for granted? Is there so much consistency from him that there’s nothing new to know?

In these environments, his personality is the shining light, while his game is somewhere in the background awaiting opening night on October 21st against the Milwaukee Bucks. And that’s a scary thing.


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

The Kyle Lowry-Victor Oladipo Dynamic Has Major Potential in Miami

Exactly 6 months ago from next Saturday, basically every NBA fan was staring at their phone, computer, or TV, waiting for that next Woj bomb to pop up before the trade deadline. For many Miami Heat fans, it wasn’t as much “if” something would happen. It was “which” would happen.

By that I mean the Heat were going to try and grab a highly talented guard who plugged two of their biggest issues at the time: shot creation and point of attack defense. The two options were Victor Oladipo and Kyle Lowry, mostly since both of them were perfect choices to make yet another late season push.

The Heat ended up acquiring Oladipo due to the pricing being much cheaper than if they went all in on Lowry at the time. And well, I’d say that was a pretty great decision.

Fast forward a few months and the Miami Heat have both of those guys on their roster. Of course the Oladipo insertion will have to wait quite a while, but that shouldn’t even be a big area of focus. This team is absolutely and positively built for the post-season. So if they have to hold Dipo out for an extended period to make sure he’s healthy enough for that push, then so be it.

But when discussing these two players, it always feels like they’re evaluated individually when preparing for this upcoming season. Many picture them in a scary defensive lineup along with Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, and Bam Adebayo, but it’s not insane to say they can handle their own lineups with Butler and Adebayo each getting a breather.

So, that’s what we’ll be looking into here. What would a Lowry-Oladipo back-court look like this season?

A Flash From the Past

When I initially think of Lowry playing next to a shot creating guard on the offensive end, barring Oladipo comes back with that ability to a certain degree, the Lowry-DeRozan long term combo is what I picture immediately.

In no way, shape, or form am I saying that is what Oladipo will look like next season, but it translates to the way he can be utilized in a Miami Heat offense. And that all starts with the consistent 1-2 punch in specific offensive sets.

Lowry and DeRozan were fantastic at bouncing off each other throughout their tenure, but a lot of their floor time consisted of taking turns in a sense. Lowry flipping the switch into play-making mode or plummeting to the basket in PnR, or DeRozan going to work in the high post for straight bucket getting.

With a healthy Oladipo, it would be interesting to see that “taking turns” mentality with the right guys around them on the floor.


But when looking at some Oladipo patterns, I don’t see an immediate shot creation impact upon return. Whenever he returns from injury, catch and shoot three point attempts always rise, and I’d expect that to be the case once again. Lowry has always been great at finding shooters on the perimeter with wild kick-outs or no-look swings, and that creativity may be huge for Dipo to get into a rhythm.

In a lot of ways, this will be the starting point when Oladipo makes his awaited return to the basketball court, but seeing his mentality in the past, it never takes long for him to get back into attacking mode. And well, that’s when this back-court dynamic will truly excel.

In a perfect scenario when these two share the floor, Oladipo dominates the ball and Lowry is the off-ball threat. Not to continually compare it to the DeRozan usage, but that’s why the offense was able to run so smoothly.

Looking at the play above, we see them bouncing off one another in the Spain pick and roll. DeRozan attacks, Lowry screens the screener, leading to a pop out for three. If Dipo has 75% of his attacking ability back, these type of actions can work.

Even though he was known for being an athletic player, I don’t think it’s where his offensive success derives from completely. He has great touch, can create space around the rim with his body, and can control the mid-range enough to make it hard on defenders. And none of that stuff is parallel with completely relying on athleticism.

The point is that Lowry off the ball will be huge for this duo. If they can find a rhythm late in the regular season before the playoffs, that elevates this team even more. And when getting to playoff time, there won’t be many instances where Butler and Adebayo are both on the sideline, meaning those two sharing the floor with them just leads to absolute chaos for opposing teams.

Take a look at the play above. I’m sure your first takeaway is: how does this relate to Oladipo when seeing rim rocking lob finishes from DeRozan? The answer to that question is the emphatic slam has nothing to do with why I’m showing this play. It’s really about the pacing and back-door usage in an updated Heat offense.

Even when it seemed Miami had the players built for a transition heavy offense, that never really checked out. If you’re going to be a top defensive team in the league, that should always translate to open floor buckets, and the new acquisitions should finally make that possible.

Many have brought this point up about Lowry’s increased speed and willingness to catch defenses off-guard through fast pace, but I’d say Oladipo is pretty similar in that sense. Before his recent injury, he loved to run the floor and get easy opportunities, even in his small stint with Miami.

So, if they share the floor for an extended period, I’d expect this to come to fruition.

Secondly, there’s a chance Dipo may lack that same explosiveness that he once had. The way to counteract that is using a lot of the things they used in Toronto a few years back.

Let me just say, Lowry is a fantastic passer, but an even better adjective is that he’s a sneaky passer. He’s one of those guys that gives weak-side defenders, or bigs defending PnR, a major headache on a night to night basis. To that point, the utilization of back-cuts and back-door screening should absolutely be a priority.

If they can find ways to bend a defense through anticipation of passes, they’ve already won. This is something I don’t really expect to see a ton of in the regular season, just due to the fact they can spring it on teams in a playoff series if offense becomes stagnant.

This is why Oladipo is a true wild card for this team. Not just due to his overall health, but the boost he can give to this team in every facet. And the reason I’m only focusing on the ways they can run offense is because the defensive stuff is a given.

A Lowry-Dipo defensive back-court is something the Heat have been needing for some time. And well, that’s excluding the team’s top 2 defenders, Adebayo and Butler, which could potentially be a closing four on many nights in the playoffs.

What Can the Heat Run to Maximize this Combo?

Whenever we discuss “maximizing” certain players on the floor offensively, the lineup should always include Duncan Robinson. The driving lanes just expand whenever he’s being used as a screener or sprinting off a screen of his own, which we see in action right here.

Oladipo looks like he’s about to flow into a double drag with Robinson and Adebayo screening, but he inserts the ball into Adebayo. This play transitions into a DHO back to Dipo, while Robinson turns and screens for the player in the weak-side corner.

In this case, that corner player would be Kyle Lowry.

Oladipo ended up getting position for a tough bucket here, but this could usually go in a couple different directions. He could hit Lowry on the loop-around at the top of they key, hit Robinson who is popping out in the corner, or probe through the lane for a reset.

And well, that’ll be the Lowry and Oladipo on-court chain reaction. Using the Erik Spoelstra added layers to create good looks through each other’s biggest offensive skill.

This final offensive action is something I’ve brought up repeatedly, but never in terms of Oladipo.

It’s something Toronto went to a ton when Lowry was on the floor, where he inserts the ball in the high-post/elbow, as he runs off the ball into a pin-down for a wing triple. This is where those Spoelstra “layers” come into play, since Oladipo can bring a specific wrinkle.

I’ve brought up this set since it can be run for Herro to get some good looks with Lowry in the post, but this could probably benefit Dipo even more. Even though this possession flowed into a DHO back to Lowry for a three, I see this going in a different direction.

When this is being run, all eyes are on the off-ball madness, waiting to see if the shooter gets open or the big slips for the cut. The Dipo wrinkle could potentially be a game of one-on-one on the elbow. He’s always been great in space once he gets defenders on their heels, which is exactly where this would go.

Either creating a good look for mid-range or taking a chance on a blow-by with no big in sight. This is why these two can be dynamic on the offensive end with Erik Spoelstra steering the ship.

Whenever I show specific examples, it’s important to note the possibilities are endless with how they will be positioned in a normal game flow, but they will clearly have a strong base to revert back to.

Once upon a time these two players were essentially being compared in Miami to see who could make the bigger impact. And now the comparison is whether this combo will work better with the ball in the hands of Oladipo or in the hands of Lowry.

Things can change quickly in this league, and that’s exactly what happened for the Heat. The regular season may be bright for this squad, but the playoffs are even brighter.


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

What Part of Jimmy Butler’s Game Will Kyle Lowry Take the Most Pressure Off?

Kyle Lowry has been a hot topic among Heat conversations this off-season for obvious reasons. He was the first name on the free agency big board, and his all-around game has led to the belief that he will elevate every player on the floor by doing many different things.

The first thing many have looked to is the impact he will have on Bam Adebayo. I have talked about this extensively, just due to the fact it will essentially be the first true point guard he has played with in Miami.

It’ll be a slight flashback for him, taking him back a few years when he was a rim runner following the draft process. But clearly his talent exceeded those expectations. Other than being a lob threat, we will see a ton of Lowry’s off ball spacing making an impact on the hopeful offensive takeover for Adebayo, plus many more beneficial offensive sets.

The point is that always seems to be the starting point.

Next on that list has to be Jimmy Butler, since well, that’s basically what got Lowry to Miami in the first place. The off-court connection of Lowry and Butler seems like it’ll translate well to the on-court duo. But as many things as Lowry will change for Butler, what will he benefit from the most?

A case can be made that it’s that secondary attacker finally lining up next to him. Of course there were capable drivers on the floor with him previously, but none who can put as much pressure on the rim as Butler does, while doing it in isolation possessions instead of constant screen work.

While that may be huge for Butler and company, I don’t see that being the ”number one” element.

Another point that I’ve constantly made is the idea of another play-maker at the top of the roster, releasing the passing pressure that is put on Butler and Adebayo at all times. Both of them will obviously still be play-making a ton on the team next season, but they can do it much more freely instead of the forceful way in the past.


All of the offensive stuff is great, which I’ve spent a ton of time going over in the off-season, but the number one shift in Butler’s game will occur on the defensive end. And yes, it’s a positive shift.

Why was Trevor Ariza added at the trade deadline last season? Part of it was that they needed a starting four after the Moe Harkless experiment didn’t work out, but the main reason was that they needed some defensive pressure taken off both Adebayo and Butler.

Adebayo constantly found himself in an uneven spot on the perimeter while guards were being taken advantage of on the block. Butler, on the other hand, had too much of a regular season burden guarding the opposing teams’ best guard. That was the Ariza task upon arrival, and he played that role pretty well.

This new Heat roster won’t have many defensive issues, and that’s because Jimmy Butler will be in his comfort zone, and in my opinion, his number one strength on the basketball court: weak-side defending.

Let me just say he will get plenty of on-ball reps against talented wing players like Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, etc. But with Lowry guarding each team’s most talented back-court member and Adebayo ready for the switch, there won’t be as many lapses. Lowry’s ability to fight through screens will be on display, and less rotational frenzies will occur.

Butler may have to be less of an offensive decision maker with Lowry on the roster, but now he will have to be more of a defensive decision maker. Choosing when to avoid the corner shooter for lane cut-offs, instinctive doubles at the elbow, or pure off-ball denial to eliminate that weak-side shooter.

That is when Butler is at his best, and that’ll be his role for a majority of the season. Yes, less hard fouls will be taken with Lowry in the offense. Yes, he can play off the catch a bit more with Lowry setting others up. But allowing Butler to slide into weak-side dominance is the true key.

Adebayo will be right up there at the top this season for DPOY once again, but don’t be surprised if Butler’s name is high on that list as well. And it’s all due to that one awaited piece who has the ability to propel others around him in a major way: Kyle Lowry.


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

The Importance of Elbow Touches in Heat Offensive Scheming

When a team doesn’t have a true play-making point guard to run the show offensively, there’s always a slight change of pace in terms of the way they trigger actions. Luckily for the Miami Heat, a young play-making big like Bam Adebayo makes the game-plan pretty clear heading into a season.

There’s two ways that he has been highly effective as a passer within the team’s offensive sets: 1) Creating on the move following the roll on the screen and 2) Setting up on the elbow.

Adebayo really began to take some major offensive leaps when his shooting reluctancy faded slightly and grew comfortable with taking shots in the mid-range area. That led to a very high frequency of elbow touches for him this past season.

Kyle Lowry being added to this roster definitely takes away some play-making duties from Adebayo in those spots, but it definitely doesn’t change his overall usage in that area.

Why not look back at Adebayo’s scoring masterclass, putting up 41 points against the Brooklyn Nets in a multitude of ways. He wasn’t doing it in ways that most bigs acquire 40 points in this league. He was doing it like a skilled perimeter player.

Facing up at the elbow and flying in plenty of different directions. Jab steps immediately into a jumper, swiping through for clear paths to the rim, and shot creating in ways we truly hadn’t seen up to that point.

Those are the elbow touches many want to see from Adebayo. He no longer has the pressure to play-make over the top of the defense for simple sprays or back-cuts, even though he will still sprinkle that stuff in due to his unselfish mentality.

But it’s now about opening up the scoring role from that spot in true Barclays Center fashion.

It’s not even just about him putting the ball in the basket, since it’s much more about the big picture effectiveness of a Heat offense. As stated in the past, we’re going to see a lot more diversity in this motion offense with the new weapons added to the roster. So, it’s up to him to maximize the spacing in that environment.

If he can add any bit of stress to help defenders when he stations himself at the elbow or free throw line, that’s an automatic win for the Heat. Once he builds the scouting report for teams to double him in that area so he can’t iso bigs inside the arc, the play-making opens right back up, which is the ultimate goal.

It shouldn’t be picking times to play-make and picking times to score. It just has to be natural. And if the surrounding spacers can do their job consistently, I have no doubt that Adebayo will flow much more naturally with those elbow touches next season.

Now, when talking about offense being run through the elbow, this isn’t just an Adebayo topic, even though it’s necessary to start there. A bunch of different players can benefit from this, and it begins with Kyle Lowry.

Looking at the play above, this is something Toronto did a lot of last season, using Lowry in more than one way in this specific action. Fred VanVleet inserts the ball to Lowry in a high post position, which sometimes will be a bit lower on the floor, before sprinting into a pin-down for a good look from three.

When seeing this, I bet many of you are picturing Duncan Robinson in that spot. But well, I’m not sure I agree exactly.

Robinson is a unique player in terms of the way he is guarded. As we saw last years, simple pin-downs just aren’t really going to work for him anymore with the amount of attention that he gets on a regular basic.

Tyler Herro, on the other hand, fits this set perfectly.

The Lowry-Herro back-court is an interesting one when projecting forward, due to the fact Lowry can enhance the one skill of Herro’s that he struggled with this past-season: spot-up threes.

Inserting him into these sets allow him to get good catch and shoot looks early on, which may be one of the most important stat-line improvements for this Heat team to have success. Combining Lowry’s wide frame and passing ability in these spots of the floor is very intriguing from a game-planning perspective.

Now, as mentioned previously, they’re going to shift Lowry around a bit. He’s an incredible player off the ball as a spot-up shooter and decoy, meaning these pin-downs can be the set up for him above the break. And well, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to put Jimmy Butler in high post positioning for play-making.

His downhill gravity when facing up always attracts those corner defenders. So if they jump that pin-down action, it means plenty of open space to navigate as an attacker, or potential lob pass to the roller off that initial screen.


Working things through the elbow will mostly be seen in a similar way next season, except it’ll be used completely different. The mind-set and go-to moves in that spot will be changing for each player who fills up that area of the floor.

And once again, all of these pieces on the Heat’s offensive scheming come back to the same point: the effectiveness will largely ride on the shooting of their corner spacers. If this team makes defenses pay on open corner sprays, it changes the entire offensive dynamic in both the regular season and post-season.


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

Diving into Heat’s Usage of Double Drag Ball Screens

Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat are known for being pretty creative offensively, especially when the post-season comes around to surprise opposing teams’ defensive scheming.

Another thing to note about the actions they base things around is that they aren’t afraid to take chances. Just look back at the sharpshooting undrafted player, Duncan Robinson, who immediately transformed the way the offense was being ran.

If Spoelstra and company can do that with limited resources, it just makes you think about the creative scheming that will occur this upcoming season with plenty of versatile players who carry different strengths.

So, in this new series, I will be diving into a different offensive set every single day, highlighting the reasons it can be so effective and which players will be utilized within it.

We’re going to be starting out with a personal favorite, double drag, due to the fact it maximizes the skill-sets of the current squad. A high-level catch and shoot guy, multiple facilitators to run the set, corner spacers, and a dynamic and athletic roller.

We’ve seen it with this team in past years, but there’s no doubt in my mind the frequency of it will increase majorly next season. So let’s take a look into why it should be used exactly….

As you’ve seen with Miami in recent years, there’s not one way to run double drag in terms of spacing. They’ve always pretty much had diversity in play set-up, but there was never any diversity in who was running it.

Looking at the clip above, we see Goran Dragic setting up the action with Duncan Robinson about to pop out and Bam Adebayo ready to roll. But when dissecting these plays, the effectiveness is always about the players outside of the action.

With this specific spacing, Dragic is flowing into the side of the floor that Kendrick Nunn and Kelly Olynyk are setting up shop, meaning the options are either a lob to Adebayo or a corner kick-out.

And well, everything revolves around that corner shooter.

We’ve seen these type of sets being run in the past with Andre Iguodala waiting in the corner, but that was pretty much a signal for the defender to become a premium tagger, daring the ball-handler to make that kick-out.

Even with Olynyk on this play, there’s a little more reluctancy. He recovers late for the contest and Olynyk buries it, which is why a lot of this will revolve around the corner shooting of PJ Tucker.

If that corner triple is falling for him consistently throughout the season, this action will be pretty close to unstoppable for opposing defenses due to their being zero weaknesses in the specific positioning.

Now, it’s not always about the ball-handler flowing into the two shooters, since positioning can always be flipped. Take a look at this screen-shot above, and you can pretty much tell why I don’t love this type of spacing for Miami.

Butler would flow into an empty corner with the hope a 2 on 1 will be forced with him and Adebayo, but that just isn’t likely. Layers were added to this play, ending in an eventual Robinson three, but the point is that baseline defender can cheat over as the other weak-side defender slides down.

Basically, it doesn’t maximize this team’s skill-set as much. If they had a speedy guard who can turn the corner with some explosiveness, that’s a different story. But they have two ball-handlers, in Butler and Kyle Lowry, who just want time to dissect defenses instead of getting out in front.

Before looking into another form of double drag above, it should be mentioned the different ways players can be utilized.

Of course Robinson will exclusively be a popper in this set, but there’s ways to mix him around a bit. Putting him in the action pulls defenders away when he slips the screen, but allowing him to sit in the corner will do wonders as well.

Allow the team’s three best players to navigate the defense, while Robinson sits in the corner daring his man to duck down even in the slightest fashion. We all know Robinson is Erik Spoelstra’s weapon, which is a main reason this action makes so much sense at a higher frequency level.

Now, the addition of Lowry makes things much more interesting. Butler and Lowry can switch off being the ball-handler in this set, and there’s a case to be made for both of them.

Using Butler as the ball-handler means that Lowry can be used as a popper/corner spacer, which definitely makes the most sense. If you’re sticking Butler in the corner, the free-lance tagging begins to occur which makes things quite pointless.

With that said, Lowry feels like the guy who will be running it more in the big picture. It’s the perfect go-to when Butler takes a quick breather, and allows Lowry to play to his strengths for possible above the break pull-up threes or simple lobs.

Anyway, back to the original clip above, it’s once again a bit different than the last. Instead of packing one side of the floor, they put one player in each corner, which is a sign that they’re confident in that open corner three.

The corner kick-out is usually the end result if the defense doesn’t have a miscue, but as seen above, that’s exactly what happens. LeBron James makes sure to communicate he’s staying on Robinson, which is most team’s main focus, but the other two defenders go to Butler. Olynyk slips, Butler feeds, and it ends in 2 points.

The original point of double drag ball screens are early offense. It’s kind of the initial call when flowing down the floor, waiting for this type of miscommunication to occur. But could we see it go from early offense to late-game offense?


While it’s used mostly in the first half of the shot-clock, it may be a go-to down the stretch of games this season.

And after Miami has had some trouble recently with their back against the shot-clock, early offense will be key for them, which will be a big part of Lowry’s job to begin the season. He may be a veteran, but he plays at a fast pace.


Adding a point guard wasn’t just to set up specific players on the perimeter or alley-oops to Adebayo. It was to take control of offense in this way so Butler doesn’t constantly have to.

Since I’ve continued to bring up the point about “adding layers” to these things in a Heat offense, here’s a glimpse of how that could look.

A lot of times in this action, the initial double drag can be used as a distraction for the off-ball movement that’s being set-up on the weak-side. In the clip above, this is an example why they may not always put Robinson in the screening role.

After Reggie Jackson goes through the two screens, Kawhi Leonard is setting a pin-down for Paul George to fly off of. In this case, Robinson would be playing the George role.

And well, that probably would’ve been more than enough room for him to fire for a good look. But aside from that, this is why the Heat will need that one-dribble pull-up option from Robinson. When defenders are running at full speed for the expected movement shot from deep, that simple combo changes the game for these type of layers.

This is also stuff I see them running for Herro, due to the fact it could get him flowing downhill without needing an on-ball screen. Giving him the reigns to the bench unit is one thing, but giving him actions that he’s comfortable in will be even better for him, which will consist of him running double drag screens as the ball-handler as well with the reserves.

I could go on all day about the different things they can, or will, add on to this, but you probably get the idea: offensive weapons = very good things.

It’s not the easiest thing in the world to run a high-level motion offense without a true point guard, but that hole has finally been filled. And now, Spoelstra can open up the play-book exactly the way he likes to.


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

Breaking Down the Sets Each Heat Player Benefits in Next to Kyle Lowry

The Miami Heat have finally added the three-level scorer, point of attack defender, and facilitator that they’ve needed for some time now. Kyle Lowry is undoubtedly a major upgrade at the point guard position from an all-around perspective, and it starts with making guys better on the offensive end.

Yes, the starting point is always Bam Adebayo with this acquisition, but the truth is that every main player for Miami has a chance to really thrive on that end of the floor if they’re put in the correct spots. So, let’s hop right into the sets that they can really benefit with Lowry on the floor, and there’s no better place to start than Miami’s young centerpiece, Adebayo…

Bam Adebayo:

Although many have heard me talk about that coveted pocket pass for some time now, just know that isn’t an overstatement. A guy that can attract a blitz in the pick and roll with a respected jumper above the break, while being capable of passing through tight windows on the roll will do wonders for Adebayo.

No more forcing him to constantly catch in traffic and figure it out. It’s now about getting him in space and letting him go to work.

Let’s go through some of the clips above to get an idea of how this will work exactly. The first play just shows the downhill gravity that Lowry has on the attack, much like Jimmy Butler has displayed over the last two years in Miami.

Just like Aron Baynes does on this play, Adebayo would stop at the free throw line or elbow where he is most comfortable, then expand from there. Once Joel Embiid falls for the fake and gets up in the air, Baynes drifts inside for the easy lay-in.

Maybe a defense wouldn’t give Adebayo as much of a runway, but it’s definitely possible to just allow Lowry and Adebayo to build a PnR connection early on, and utilize each of their biggest strengths to their advantage.

The next two plays above show how Adebayo can receive the ball on the move, especially against drop. Lowry can pick that type of stuff apart, especially when a skilled and athletic player like Adebayo is the quick diver on these possessions. Hitting him early will be important once they get going a bit, since his mid-range jumper dropping to begin the season can really propel his effectiveness.

This is the combo that seems to be getting discussed the most, and there’s a reason. The sets may not look as complicated as others I’ll display next, but that’s the exact point: make it simple for him.

Jimmy Butler:

Of course the constant staple with Lowry and Jimmy Butler is their off-court connection, but is there a chance the chemistry on the floor could be stronger?

It’s definitely a possibility.

To state the obvious, the secondary attacking is a major deal when talking about the way the spacing may look to begin the season. Will there be moments where Butler is stationed on the weak-side corner or dunker-spot? For sure, but the way they can maximize the two together can go in a bunch of different directions.

Something I’ve mentioned many times in the past is that it’s not a coincidence that the Goran Dragic-Butler PnR was one of their most effective sets. Angling Butler to flow into a hard attack or hitting him on the short roll usually leads to good outcomes.

But there’s more layers to be added in Lowry-Butler actions. Looking at the first clip above, using Butler as a DHO guy at times with Lowry can definitely be one way of going about it. It allows Lowry to play to his strengths of shooting off the hand-off while Butler can score and play-make on the reception of the dive.

If there’s one thing we know about Butler, he loves the sprays once he gets under the basket, which isn’t always a good thing. But gathering eyes when he’s down there can lead to plenty of offense on the perimeter and truly maximize that “spacing.”

The second clip is an action that I believe we see a lot more of next season in Miami, especially after Lowry thrived in it with Toronto. It’s also the same set that another Heat player will be utilized in, except in a role reversal, but I’ll touch on that down the line.

Butler would be in the spot Gary Trent is in, grabbing the ball in the high post, which is where he does most of his damage as a play-maker anyway. After Lowry makes the pass, it turns into a pin-down for a wing triple, and this is where those “layers” come into play.

We’re going to see plenty of Lowry in an off-ball role next season, just due to the fact he is so comfortable in that spot. He shot 42% on catch and shoot threes this past season, and there’s a good chance that number could increase in a Heat system.

Although that play may be simple, this could turn into the points I made about Adebayo on the roll. If a blitz occurs after Butler feeds Lowry the ball, it’s Adebayo’s time to take advantage of the 4 on 3 on the back-side.

There’s obviously many more things I can go over in this space, but the consensus is that Lowry and Butler can be used in an endless amount of ways, and in my opinion, the fit should be seamless.

Duncan Robinson:

Part of me doesn’t even want to discuss the fit of Lowry and Duncan Robinson, just because there isn’t anybody in the NBA that wouldn’t fit with Robinson. A player that can fly off screens, shoot the ball from deep like no other, and eliminate defensive free-lancing seems like quite the fit in general.

Lowry is going to make a lot of Heat player’s jobs easier, but I believe Robinson, specifically, will make Lowry’s job much easier. Without going into too much depth in the first clip, the usual feed into a guy coming off an off-ball screen will do wonders for Lowry’s assist numbers.

Having that many options in the offense forces the defense to make constant choices. Miscues occur in those spots all the time, where two guys pop out on the shooter, which is where Lowry excels. Waiting til the defense makes a mistake, then forcing a pass to a rolling Butler down the baseline.

Mixing a player that waits for miscommunications and a player that forces miscommunications is definitely a solid duo.

The second clip above is something that I’ve touched on in the past, but can be used in more ways with these two. Guard screening should be a sticking point next season, either with Robinson or Butler, to hunt mismatches for any of Miami’s main guys.

Slipping these screens at the top of the key, like the play above, is another way to really space out the floor. If Robinson comes up and shifts to the wing, 9 times out of 10 the defender will stay with him. This gives Lowry an opportunity to go one-on-one with zero help, which is an ideal situation for him.

If there’s one person that’s going to have fun scheming up plays for these two, it will be Coach Erik Spoelstra, who can throw out some interesting things in a playoff series with Lowry and Robinson in an empty corner.

Tyler Herro:

And finally, we get to Tyler Herro. The other players discussed will be lined up next to Lowry in the starting lineup, but the same doesn’t go for Herro, and it’s clear they’ll still get plenty of run together.

For one, the Heat currently don’t have a back-up point guard, but the thought process is that it isn’t a necessity because there won’t be many moments that Lowry, Butler, and Adebayo are all on the sideline together.

That basically means we will probably see Butler get pulled a bit earlier, then inserted back in when Lowry exits.

The role of Herro next season is a bit up in the air at the moment, just due to it having a chance to go in so many different directions. Will spot-up numbers rise back up to be used that way? Is there going to be more on-ball reps with an increased handle and extra shot creation?

We will find that out soon enough, but either way they can find a way to balance the back-court of Lowry and Herro. Looking at the clip above, this is where I mostly see him being used next to him, and it relates back to the play about Butler.

It’s the same exact set, except Lowry isn’t the one spotting up, he’s the one creating. Although he’s a point guard, his size allows him to play from the post often, which will 100% be used next season.

Herro would feed the ball into Lowry, act as if he’s going to clear out, then pop out to the wing for a spot-up triple off the pin-down. Even if there is major improvement on the ball, the catch and shoot stuff will be needed to make it all come together. Lowry will be able to get him in his spots, which is why this isn’t just about Miami’s stars.

I’m intrigued on how they’re going to form the offense to begin the season, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we will see this type of stuff. Lowry is a flexible offensive player, which once again, really fits the Erik Spoelstra mold. Just in this piece alone, it’s clear there’s a much longer list of options than previously, just because of one veteran addition to the roster: Kyle Lowry.


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

Breaking Down Miami’s Offense with Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker

The Miami Heat had a pretty eventful start to free agency on Monday night, as they secured their expected target, Kyle Lowry, while also signing a guy who wasn’t really being discussed, PJ Tucker.

This piece will be a little different than usual. I’ve already dove into the strengths of Lowry in Miami here, which is why I’m going to highlight what Tucker can bring to the table. To touch on Lowry in a different light, I’m going to breakdown some of the different sets Miami can form around him to maximize his offensive abilites.

Those weren’t the only moves that Miami made, since they also retained Duncan Robinson, Dewayne Dedmon, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent. And well, they’re not done yet.

But before more of that speculation continues, let’s hop right into what the newest acquisitions will look like in a Heat uniform…

Defensive Stopper

The first thing I want to mention about Tucker is something you will notice when evaluating all three of these traits: he’s simple. The Miami Heat essentially need simplicity at that four spot, since they needed a guy who doesn’t stray off from his role often and somebody that you know what you’re going to get from night to night.

Tucker seems to fit that description perfectly.

To start it off on the defensive end, Erik Spoelstra is beginning to load up on defensive weapons, and it eliminates the need for him to stick a power forward on opposing point guards. A focus on front-court pairings, in my opinion, was that they needed a guy who could size up defensively instead of sizing down.

Miami has their point of attack defender now, in Lowry, meaning some size down low even without the length is important.

Even though people may want to look at the stat-sheet of Kevin Durant in the Bucks-Nets series, Tucker did his best to make his life difficult, since that’s all you can do against Durant. He can defend the post on those guys, use his hands actively for steals, and is just a physical body that you trust on that end.

In a Heat sense, Tucker really made Jimmy Butler’s life difficult in that opening playoff series as well, which it’s hard to truly get under Butler’s skin in that type of fashion. Just with the defensive stuff alone, Tucker seems like a pure fit.

The Heat needed more leadership and toughness at that position, and they got just that yesterday.

Spot-Up Threat

Once again, Tucker is not going to shine in certain offensive clips due to him being such a “simple” player. He’s not going to have a high number in the PPG column, but that doesn’t mean he won’t maximize spacing with his corner presence.

In 20 regular season games with the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, he shot slightly under 40% from three on 1.7 attempts per game. If Miami can get the Jae Crowder three-point boost that they did in their finals run, many of these things change quite a bit.

Retaining Duncan Robinson is very important to remember in these discussions. Yes, Tucker can stretch the floor on offense or locate in different spots, but more importantly he’s an unselfish player who can takeover the Adebayo lite role.

Trying to pry away Adebayo from full DHO mentality can consist of Tucker’s big body screening for Robinson in the high pick and roll. The reason that’s important to note is that can shift into a pick and pop type of play-style, while Adebayo can become more of an off the catch player on the weakside in those sets.

Tucker is a guy Erik Spoelstra will 100% trust at the end of games. Not just to hit a clutch corner three. Not only to get a stop. But to make the right play and keep others accountable in the leadership role.

Bam Adebayo Complement

The last thing that should be mentioned about Tucker is that he won’t just be a corner spacer. The continued theme of this piece is offensive versatility and giving Erik Spoelstra some options. And well, Tucker is a guy he can move around for others to become more effective.

One way to do that is by sticking him in the dunker spot (great podcast by the way) so he can fight on the offensive boards a bit, and more importantly, complement Adebayo in the offensive flow.

Adebayo has had an interesting ride with front-court pairings over the last few years: Meyers Leonard to Jae Crowder to Andre Iguodala to Kelly Olynyk to Trevor Ariza. The thing that all of those guys have in common is that they’re purely supposed to be used on the perimeter.

Allowing Adebayo to roam a bit more or expand his range is much smoother when a Tucker type is on the roster to locate in the interior. I’d expect him to get moved around much more than previous fours, and that’s a good thing for the team’s formation of Adebayo taking the next offensive step.

How will Miami use Kyle Lowry in the Offense?

The Downhill Finder

Now, on the Lowry side of things, we already know what he’s going to bring to the offense. Some three level scoring, play-making burden, and off-ball capabilities. But how will they base certain offensive actions around him?

The first one involves a potential connection with Adebayo, and this isn’t just about the pocket pass. As teams begin to blitz Lowry a bit more down the line, that one ability creates constant 4 on 3 opportunities on the back-side.

Aside from that, take a look at the play above for an example of how it will be used. An Adebayo hand-off to Lowry will kick it off, and against a switching defense, that floating pass over the top is the go-to. Why is that important? Well, Miami finally has a guard who can make that “floating pass.”

When defenses mix it up and pick up the rolling Adebayo, that will allow Lowry to get into his strengths. He’s such a fantastic pick and roll reader, meaning he knows when he can flow into his quick trigger beyond the arc once the defense doesn’t immediately react.

This is just some stuff that will be used with the ball in Lowry’s hands, and that may not even be his biggest overall strength.

Guard Screening

I’ve touched on this before, but there’s a reason that Goran Dragic-Jimmy Butler PnR’s were their most effective offensive set last season to a degree. Either normal pick and rolls or inverted pick and rolls, it got Jimmy Butler flowing downhill one way or another.

He either used the angled screen to his advantage for a strong attack, or caught an over-head pass on the roll by the basket. The Lowry-Butler combo can take that to another level.

Butler isn’t the only guard screener that will be used though, since a Robinson-Lowry duo feels to be the more commonly used set moving forward.

Looking at the clip above, that’s where I see that combo working. Robinson flashing up for a screen before slipping it, but obviously it would look much different. There wouldn’t be that slight hesitance, as there was above, when it’s Robinson shifting to the wing, and that just makes Lowry’s job so much easier.

Guard screening will be their ticket to success in the offense, in my opinion, and they now have that correct bunch of guards to make it work.

Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

As much as people want some different offensive scenery or a total revamp, that is just unrealistic. There’s a misconception about the dribble hand-off after Adebayo’s continued willingness to use it instead of score, but that action won’t just be eliminated. If anything, it will be expanded.

Robinson and Lowry on the same roster basically means DHO’s will need to be a semi-staple at times, but as mentioned before, it could be more of a Tucker designation.

Looking at the clip above, you can see Lowry’s ability to fire on the catch from anywhere on the floor off those hand-offs, and that one thing bends the defense greatly. In the off-ball role that I expect him to be in at times, he can be used as a threat off Adebayo and Butler play-making. Or better yet, he will be in the Robinson lite role when he exits the floor.

In the second clip above, it’s another example of keeping the main thing the main thing, as Pat Riley likes to say. They’re going to find ways to continually get him flowing downhill for hard drives and buckets, but the motion offense feels like it’ll benefit Lowry greatly.

As seen above, sending guys like Butler on streaks down the lane seems like the perfect way to utilize Lowry to the best of his abilities. These are just a few examples, but one thing this shows is that Spoelstra finally has some extra options to go to.

Although this move feels like the perfect way to propel Adebayo as a scorer or grab a close friend of Butler, the true winner here is Coach Erik Spoelstra.


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

5RSN Exclusive: Latest Miami Heat Free Agency Info

As we’re approaching the 24 hour mark until free agency begins, it has become a very complicated time for the Miami Heat. With the team option decisions looming, it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that the Heat declined Andre Iguodala’s team option, while the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson recently reported it was not yet official by Miami.

It was officially reported, though, that Miami opted into Goran Dragic’s contract worth $19.4 Million, which all indications point to that being used in a possible trade deal as they work over the cap.

The main place that Dragic’s name will come into play is with the Toronto Raptors in Miami’s continued pursuit of Kyle Lowry. The latest from Five Reasons Sports is that Lowry’s preference remains the same to play in Miami with Jimmy Butler, who he shares a close relationship with.

Adam Borai continued on this reporting, saying that “only a major overpay could stunt” a move for Lowry to end up in Miami. But with so many moving parts, it’s clear that nothing is set in stone.

Speaking of those moving parts, another name that has been thrown into the latest discussions around the Miami Heat’s next moves is Demar DeRozan, as Five Reasons Sports released here…

While many harp on Lowry’s relationship with Butler, there’s no doubt that he wouldn’t look in other directions if his closest friend, DeRozan, lands in the exact spot that he’s eyeing. As stated above, this type of deal would be quite complicated from a general sense, but they’re currently looking into things further.

Questions continue to fly. Would that spacing work? Would that be enough? It’s important to have some perspective on the situation, and take into account the big picture outcome that is a possibility. There’s still so much unknown about what the final form would look like in that scenario, and there’s still plenty of other ways that they can go about this stuff.

This will continued to be updated as more information is available to report….


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

5RSN Exclusive: Kyle Lowry Looking for Deal in Range of 3 Years/$90 Million

(With Brady Hawk)

Following up on my report of Brandon Ingram’s interest in Miami, the Heat are still very much in on Kyle Lowry, however, the deal he is looking for is in the range of $90 Million over 3 years.

In my personal opinion, I feel that the 3rd year has to be fully guaranteed. Some on the Heat are confident, but I still wouldn’t count out the Philadelphia 76ers or the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Miami’s continued pursuit of a point guard this off-season, their eyes will be locked on this free agent market, which is headlined by Lowry, with guys like Mike Conley closely following behind.

Will they be willing to make that commitment? Time will only tell, but as the clock is ticking on Jimmy Butler’s timeline, a veteran point guard who can score at all three-levels, run the offense, and defend must be a top priority. Combining that with his close relationship with Butler makes the situation even more interesting.

While some extra options and avenues seem to be opening up a bit, the focus on Lowry will remain, while other possibilities will still be on the table as free agency grows closer and closer.