Mateo’s Hoop Diary: Duncan Robinson keeps showing improvement

Duncan Robinson is back and better than ever. Through 12 games, he’s averaging 14.3 points on 46.3% shooting and 38.9% deep efficiency while pressuring defenses from more spots. From having his minutes gashed to being out of the rotation, he’s now a mainstay, and it won’t change as a starter or reserve.

On Thursday, the Brooklyn Nets visited the Kaseya Center for a rematch with the Heat 15 days after it won the first game in the same territory. Robinson connected on six of 10 long-range missiles from all around the perimeter. Mystifyingly, Brooklyn’s Cam Johnson sagged off him at the right corner when Kyle Lowry ran pick-and-roll with Bam Adebayo through the middle. The ball hit Robinson, who pump-faked Johnson out of bounds and swished a triple for Miami’s first basket after eight tries.

Before halftime, D-Bo made two more 3-pointers- on the break and the wing from a kickout pass. He also rejected Adebayo’s screen, darted into the lane and fed a cutting Jaime Jaquez Jr. for a layup inside the semi-circle.

In the third quarter, Robinson recovered a loose ball tip-off, raced toward the opposing wing and pulled up accurately from 28 feet away.

In the fourth, a dribble handoff by Adebayo on the right side set up another tray, plus he made another on the left wing when the ball swung back to him. His last two buckets were a layup and one in reverse.

He finished the night as the Heat’s second-best player in the 122-115 win with 26 points on eight of 14 shots and 60% efficiency from deep. Jimmy Butler totaled 36 on his scorecard, almost making two-thirds of his attempts. The Heat is on its longest winning streak since the 2018 regular season.

Thursday’s work was just more of the same this year for Dunc. He was the first name considered when Tyler Herro sprained his right ankle in Memphis because, up to that point, he was logging 10.4 points per game and splashing 40% of his trifectas. Yet, most importantly, his swag was back. He validated coach Erik Spoelstra’s decision to start in Herro’s absence, registering 20.3 points nightly (4 games) on 40.5% of 3-pointers hoisted.

Over the last four games, Robinson is fourth in distance traveled by forwards on offense. His movement opens the attack, and now that a third of his attempts come inside the arc (up from 19% last season), he’s no longer a one-dimensional player. On top of that, his scoring average increased by 6.9 points, and his effective field goal percentage sits at 59.3, up from 50.4 in 2022-23.

No one in Miami will ever forget how he welcomed the No.1 overall pick, Victor Wembanyama, into the league on Nov. 12 in San Antonio. He dusted the rookie with Steve Smith’s half-spin hesitation to get inside for a layup and pump-faked him away before canning a triple in his face.

The story about Robinson used to be that if he wasn’t making threes at a high clip, he was useless. It’s no longer true because, aside from adding to his arsenal, he’s not an awful defender anymore. This season, he’s spent the most time on defense (68 minutes), bothering forwards, holding them to 45% shooting.

After the win against the Nets on Thursday, Robinson said in his on-court interview, “We got a good thing going right now, playing together…”

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1 reply
  1. Barry
    Barry says:

    We have a really fun team this year. I love the improvement we are seeing from almost every position and the insane depth we have now.


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