One surprising number about the Miami Heat’s 110 to 102 loss to the Indiana Pacers revealed the Heat’s big men 6’8” and taller all had positive +/- numbers, while each smaller player was a net negative.
Duncan Robinson (6’8”) +4, Kelly Olynyk (7’0”) +2, Bam Adebayo (6’10”) +2, Hassan Whiteside (7’0”) +1 held their own in that game, but all the Heat players 6’7” and under registered a plus/minus figure below zero.
James Johnson showed what happened when Victor Oladipo tried to stop him at the rim last season.
The Heat’s “Big Three” of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, at 6’10” and 235 lbs, 6’8” and 250 lbs, 6’4” and 225 lbs respectively weren’t lightweights by any means.
By contrast 2 of the top 3 highest-paid players on the Heat this season come in at under 200 lbs: Goran Dragic 6’3”, 190 lbs, and Tyler Johnson 6’4”, 190 lbs.
Miami’s starters (only 2 over 200 lbs) collected 21 personal fouls trying to stop the larger Pacers’ players last week, as Whiteside, Josh Richardson, Wayne Ellington all were whistled five times, while Rodney McGruder and Justise Winslow got called for fouls three times each.
As a fix the Olynyk and Whiteside pairing seems good on paper, but in real life they offered little resistance in stopping the 3-point marksmen, in other team’s starting lineups, from scoring.
5 of the 9 current rotation players on the Heat weigh in at 200 lbs or less, which can lead to problems when the big men get into foul trouble during a game.
As a temporary measure Robinson and Yante Maten may provide some size, despite their undrafted talent level, when other teams go at the smaller and lighter Heat lineups on the court.
As a side note the Pacers’ team need assists like a person needs oxygen to survive because whenever they had less than 20 assists in a game this season they lost.
Oladipo’s playmaking ability with 10 dimes last week wrecked havoc on Miami’s defenders who couldn’t stay in front of him, especially by the game’s end.
Adebayo had a quiet game versus the Pacers last time, so perhaps he, along with the other big men on the Heat, could step up to provide a vintage performance by taking on the Pacers’ smaller, but quicker, defenders, as he did versus the New Orleans Pelicans in this pre-season game.