The Miami Heat seem to be having some issues. At 7-9, the Heat are showing up they are capable of playing with the best, but then can show us their worst the very next game.
After losing by 25 points at home to the Indiana Pacers, not the elite of the NBA, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said he doesn’t know what the answers are. He isn’t sure why they play basketball different each night.
He vowed to watch the film, get to the bottom of it and find a solution.
Well, that’s what we do as well. And the thing that is glaringly obvious at the center of the Heat’s issues are their turnovers. It affects both sides of the ball and needs to be corrected if they want to be successful.
The Heat average 16.1 turnovers per game which is good for 27th in the NBA. Only three team are routinely turning it over more: Warriors, Lakers and Sixers. But the issues is that all three of those teams are high volume possession and scoring teams. Both the Sixers and Warriors are top 7 in scoring, they create more possessions which give room for more turnovers.
The Heat are not a high-volume scoring team. They are 27th in the NBA at 100.3 PPG, only in front of Dallas, Chicago and Sacramento...some of the worst teams in the NBA.
Turning the ball over not only often creates live-ball scoring opportunities for their opponents, which gives their opponent easier chances to score the ball, but also takes away scoring opportunities for the Heat.
Forgive me if that explanation was too basic, but that’s the reality. Turnovers are less chances to score and easier chances for your opponent and the large quantity if turnovers is killing the Heat. It’s taking them out of rhythm, making them less aggressive on offense and deflates their mentality.
And it’s sad, because even with the live-ball turnovers, the Heat are a top 10 team in defensive FG%. That means, they are actually pretty good at defending the ball in the halfcourt at times. But their offense is really suffering from the lack of possessions. The Heat rank 25th in the NBA in field goals attempted and 28th in free throws attempted.
All this to say, the Heat need to take better care of the ball. One of the biggest culprits: James Johnson, averaging 2.7 TPG which is second to only Dion Waiters at 3.1 TPG. Even as a point forward at times, the Heat cannot have Johnson turning the ball over that much. Both of those two are doing more than Goran Dragic who has the ball more often. Dragic is averaging 2.5 TPG.
How do they fix this?
I don’t know, and that’s why I’m not a NBA head coach. OK, that’s not the only reason I’m not a head coach. But I would start with maybe calling plays that require less one on one action and more ball movement. That means less James Johnson driving into two defenders, and less Dion Waiters trying to make something out of nothing.
How about actual plays that get guys open shots? That’s one suggestion. The second is even more simple: stop being stupid with the ball. If you watch the Heat enough, you have surly shook your head at some bonehead play or pass that ended in a turnover. Sometimes, stop trying to do too much, make the smart play.
The Heat cannot afford to keep losing the turnover battle. It’s the root of some of their other issues, and it needs fixed before it is too late.
Maybe the Heat need their own turnover chain...