Miami Heat are well known for having one of the best defenses in the NBA. But what are their top plays on offense? The answers could lead to a lethal offense to go along with an elite defense.
NBA stats has a wealth of information on team strengths and weaknesses. One of them of gauges the team's points per possession(PPP) by play type. The figures for the Heat, along with rank, field goal attempts and percentage are:
What sticks out is the Miami Heat league-leading put-back and roll-man efficiency. Also they excel at cuts with a PPP of 1.21, along with a FG% of 62%, although that is only ninth best in the NBA. Do other teams know that? Of course. They do everything possible to double-and-triple the Heat against those plays.
What are the Heat's offensive weaknesses, as gauged by PPP? Isolation and post-up plays, where they rank 23th and 24th, respectively in the league. Heat also trail in spot-up shooting at 21th place with a 36% success rate. That's why fans see other teams leaving the Heat wide open to run those plays as they dribble around the perimeter trying to find an opportunity for their higher-percentage shots.
By FG% rating, the Heat are a full 32% better in converting put-backs (68%) than isolation or spot-up (36%) baskets. When the other teams play them, you see Heat players being boxed out of the paint, where they are most dangerous. The opponents practically beg the Heat to take isolation or spot-up attempts, since that is their lowest percentage shot.
That is one of the reasons the second unit does so well. Justise Winslow is a very strong and athletic interior presence who's active in the restricted area, as are Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen and Jarnell Stokes. Tyler Johnson and Gerald Green have the hops for put-backs over stronger and slower defenders.
Going by the figures and the eye-test, Heat's offensive strengths are overwhelmingly in the painted area. Knowing that, other teams give the Heat all the low-percentage spot-up shots they want.