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Coming up empty as Miami Heat’s players struggle to finish what they start

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Dysfunctional shot selection and ball handling have done the Heat no favors this season.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have the dubious distinction of being better than only the Detroit Pistons when coming up empty on misses and turnovers this season per nba stats, 67.5 per game versus Detroit’s 68.3.

No surprise that the Golden State Warriors are the most efficient on handling the ball with 57.3, or 10 less futile efforts when on offense, since they lead the league with a FG% of 50.6% versus Miami’s fifth-worst 42.1%.

Part of that comes from the player’s strange shot selections, especially Kelly Olynyk, who leads the NBA in 2FG% at 77.2%, yet has attempted twice as many 3-pointers at a modest 32.6% success rate.

Miami Heat Field Goal Percentages

PLAYER FG% 2FG% 3P%
PLAYER FG% 2FG% 3P%
Kelly Olynyk 47.1 77.3 32.6
Bam Adebayo 50.0 52.2 0.0
Tyler Johnson 40.4 52.1 29.4
Hassan Whiteside 48.6 51.0 14.3
Dwyane Wade 45.0 46.6 41.7
Rodney McGruder 45.2 44.9 45.6
Josh Richardson 41.5 41.5 41.5
Derrick Jones Jr. 39.1 38.9 40.0
Goran Dragic 36.6 38.4 34.0
Justise Winslow 32.1 35.1 25.0
Wayne Ellington 40.0 28.6 42.9

Justise Winslow’s blended FG% of 32.1 ranks 172nd of 175 qualifying players in the NBA.

Just glancing at the figures a floor-spacing starting five would have Hassan Whiteside (51%) and Tyler Johnson (52%) inside, with Rodney McGruder (46%), Josh Richardson (42%) and Derrick Jones Jr. (40%) to space the floor.

So far this season Richardson sports identical 41.5 success rates on 2-point and 3-point attempts, so refining his 3-point skills like Klay Thompson might draw out defenders to create space for laser passes or alley-oop lobs to Whiteside at the rim.

Coming off the bench Olynyk (77%) and Bam Adebayo (52%) would work the inside, while Wayne Ellington (46%) and Dwyane Wade (42%) patrol the arc as outside threats.

Now these lineups beg the question of how to incorporate the inefficient shooting of nominal starters Goran Dragic (37%) and Winslow (32%) into the mix to avoid empty possessions.

The above scenario doesn’t even include finding room for the return of a healthy James Johnson and Dion Waiters in the near future.

These figures fail to factor in defensive challenges, rebounding, and other basketball skills that win games.

In last season’s playoffs versus the Philadelphia 76ers the Heat had similar second half issues in their four losses as scoring dried up after halftime (first versus second half): 60 vs 43, 64 vs 44, 61 vs 43, 46 vs 45.

In their lone playoff win the Heat scored 57 points in the second half, while never netting more than 45 points in the losses.

The problems of poor floor spacing and shot selection at the end of games has recently returned with the failure to close out winnable games as rival coaches adjusted after halftime.

Turnovers also have become an issue since players have their preferred spots that they’re comfortable to score from, while passers have their own sweet spots.

The challenge lies in getting the ball to a player when defenses know those dangerous spots and do whatever it takes to stop a player from getting there.