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Quantifying the "Of Course" shot against the Miami Heat

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With the help of Synergy Sports, we are starting to get a better sense of the "Of Course" shot. Don't know what that is? Check it out here.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We've all seen it before, and we are all just about sick of it. If you aren't following along on our GameThreads during Miami Heat games, you are probably following along on Twitter. You've heard it there. It's called, the "Of Course" shot.

You know what I'm talking about. It's that moment that the Heat playing really good defense for a long time and they force the opponent into something they don't want, taking a bad shot, or just an iso play to end the possession. And instead of being awarded with a defensive rebound, they get the "Of Course" shot. Where the guy makes a contested shot, and we are left with just saying, "Of Course."

Of course, that would just be our luck. That's the feeling. Many teams feel it, but it seems as though watching the Heat, you feel it a lot. It looks a little something like this (although from last year).

Of course that would go in, right?

Synergy Sports Data
With the help of Synergy Sports, the leading technology company in producing advanced stats, I was able to get a better idea of what's happening to the Miami Heat in these moments.

  • The Heat ranks 27th in the NBA in opponents scoring with under 4 seconds on the shot clock. 12.5 % of their points allowed come from a short shot clock. Only the Celtics, Pelicans and Timberwolves are worse. Their opponent scores 37.5% of the time on the short shot clock, worst in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Heat rank dead last (30th) in jump shots made against them in the last four seconds of a shot clock...jump shots. Miami also ranks 23rd in catch and shoot situations where the opponent is guarded. Players are making shots whether the Heat is playing defense or not.
  • The Heat are also 24th in the league in isolation defense. Players are scoring 42.8% of the time in iso situations against the Heat. Mario Chalmers is by far the worst 1-on-1 defender giving up 68% FG and 1.4 Points Per Possession. He also fouls the shooter 20% of the time.

All this contributes to the Heat ranking 22nd in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage, while still ranking second in points allowed (adjust for pace). That's a lot of bad rankings. That's just the raw, hard doesn't even take into account the eye test, you know, what we see as fans.

But hey, every once in a while we get our own "Of Course" shot.

Remember that? Yea, me neither.

So what's happening here? The data suggests the Heat are bad, or unfortunate to say it nicely. But, as fans, it's starting to get a little old. You could even apply the 'of course' theme to the Heat's injury situations.

But remember, the data doesn't paint the entire picture. Not every shot under 4 seconds is the result of an of course, it could very well be the result of bad defense. Not every jump shot made against them was a bad shot by the defense. And not every isolation play against the Heat are poor choices by the opponent. The Heat have some defensive issues.

But again, I go back to the eye test. If you are like me, you've seen this over and over again. It seems the defense gets bent out of shape because of these "Of Course" shots. Erik Spoelstra's entire defensive strategy is backed on getting players to buy all in, give maximum effort, and trust each other. When the "Of Course" shot goes down, and maybe even again, it can become taxing to the mind to continue to buy into the system.

Side Note: Earlier I mentioned Mario Chalmers as the worst isolation defender on the team. Want to know who is statistically the best? Danny Granger. Granger is only allowing his opponent to shoot 29% on him, and he has yet to commit a shooting foul in an iso situation.

So what can the Heat do? Prayer could be one consideration, hoping the Gary Neal's, Jamal Crawford's and George Hill's of the NBA stop torching the Heat with the "Of Course" shot. But a more basketball practical approach would be something you wouldn't expect.

P&R Handler
Statistically, the Heat's most effective defensive strategy is to force the pick-and-roll ball handler to keep the ball and score himself. On this scenario, the Heat rank 3rd in the league in scoring defense. Miami is forcing a 36% FG% for the handler, scoring only 33% of the time, and the handler turns the ball over 21% of the time. They give up 0.696 points per possession in this scenario.

When the handler in the pick-and-roll gives it the screener, the player shoots 51% and scores 50% of the time. Then, they turn it over only 7% of the time and are scoring 1.04 points per possession. That means once the Heat react to the screen and allow the ball to move, the defense breaks down and the opponent becomes vastly more efficient. Miami's best case scenario, actually, is to keep the ball in the handler's hands and hope their percentage of the "Of Course" shot decreases.

Did I just contradict myself? I don't know. All these stats have me thinking different ways.

One thing is for sure, the "Of Course" shot is a killer to the mind as much as it is to the game itself.

Share your favorite or least-favorite (however you look at it) "Of Course" shot with us in the comments.