The last stats blog that I posted a couple days ago was mostly a positive one. Lots of good, encouraging numbers to look at while waiting for the Heat to kick off their nice, long home stand. This time around I've got four guys for us to look at. Two of them are making a big different since being put back in the lineup, and the other two have been struggling a little but not greatly hurting the team.
Why am I starting with Dorell Wright? Well to be quite honest, yes he has been playing very well the past few games but that's all that it's been...a few games. It's no certainty that Wright will become an integral part in the Heat's rotation, although the way he has been playing of late may dictate otherwise.
With the Heat desperate to get back to the defensive dominance they showed over the first few weeks of the season, its no shock that Erik Spoelstra is giving D-Wright a shot, and he is making the most of it. Wright played more minutes in each of the last 3 games then any other game this season.
When I was interning with Sun Sports during the 15-win season, I was on and around the court a lot on game days. Something I got used to seeing was Dorell on the floor before anybody else, working on his jumpers. He got better and better, convincing me of his ability to be an unsuspectingly good jump shooter. That was two seasons ago...imagine how much more confident he is in his shot now after working on it that entire time then he was back when I was watching.
In his last three games, Wright has gone 14-of-23 from the field (61%) and hit 3-of-4 from beyond. 2-for-2 from the foul line to go with 11 rebounds (3.6/game), 6 assists (2/game), a steal, a block and some of the best hustle D we've seen in a while. I just hope that he doesn't get lost in the shuffle of players. As high as I've been on James Jones, I'm starting to lean more towards wanting to see Wright on the floor more. He has always been a good defender (long limbed guys usually are) but with the addition of offensive production he could finally begin to show us why he was a 1st round pick all the way back in 2004. Better late then never? You better believe it!
A back injury kept Quentin out of uniform for four games, but he came back healthy and ready to re-claim his position in the starting lineup. I get the feeling that he is starting to understand the importance of being a bit more aggressive on offense, which is key for Q. If you have followed his career at all then you know that Richardson can score, and if we can get ‘offense Q' to merge with ‘defense Q' then we'd have some kind of all-star caliber player on our hands.
In his 4 games since re-claiming the starting SF position, Richardson has shown us that he can indeed be that outside presence most of us envisioned when we first acquired him. He's averaging 14 ppg on 48% shooting, and of his 42 field goals taken, 27 of them are of the three-point variety. 41% from beyond the arc isn't the best percentage, but that is still an average of almost 3 trey/game. Considering that in two of those four games Quentin took double digit three point attempts, it seems that he is starting to understand that getting open on the outside will be a big help for Miami.
Hopefully his good shooting continues beyond the scope of the past four games, as well as his 6.5 rebounds and 2 assists/game. And hey...it wouldn't hurt if he could have 5 steals and 3 blocks every four games as well.
Now I'm not saying that these guys are in the doghouse or anything, but the following players aren't playing nearly as well as they once were this season.
Mario Chalmers- I'm looking at Rio's last four games, as that is when his minutes started going down. The reason for that is because of the lack of offensive production and defensive stinginess coming from the PG position of late, so much so that Dwyane Wade has been manning the point during important phases of the game.
After playing 30+ minutes in 13 of the first 16 games of the season, he has only cracked 30 minutes in 1 of his last 4 games. He is shooting just 9-for-21 in those games (43%) and 5-of-13 from 3-point range (38%). The rest of his numbers are also pretty low for a starting PG: 1.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists are low, as is the 6.8 ppg total. The only plus is the 1.3 steals/game. Chalmers is still young with a whole heap of potential, so I see this as nothing more then a speed bump in the sophomore's progression.
The other guy whose numbers are down is Udonis Haslem. I've got back 6 games on Udonis and everything other then his foul shooting and steals are down when compared to his season average. 8.2 points on 44% shooting and just 4.2 rebounds are nowhere near the numbers of U-D for the most part of the young season. If you recall, just last season it took Udonis several months to get his long-range jumper to fall with its normal consistency, so I have no doubt that he'll bounce back sooner then later.