Opponents of the Miami Heat scout the team all the time for any weaknesses they can exploit. Every game presents a challenge for Miami to outwit the advance scouting report on it and leave the court with a win.
Not only that, players from both sides have on-nights and off-nights, which lay waste to best of pregame plans. For most games an elite defense plus 3-point buckets help Miami get the job done. Other teams prepare for that strategy.
The unexpected return of Dwyane Wade has whetted the appetite of Heat fans to see lobs for jarring dunks by Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Johnson, James Johnson and company. The Heat will give fans those special moments during a game.
Another twist to confuse the enemy involves the Heat’s talented big men taking center stage as they drive to the rim, per NBA stats.
Drives to the rim
Of 309 players with more than 30 drives to the rim, Adebayo ranks second in points per drive at 1.03, and Whiteside 13th at 0.844: they’ll make defenses think twice about leaving the painted area unprotected for easy baskets.
Goran Dragic’s points per drive seem low in the first table, and that’s because he dishes out a lot of assists on his drives. Bam had only 2 on his 37. The numbers below include assists and free throws to see how many times a score resulted from a drive to the rim.
Scores on drives to the rim
On Bam’s 37 drives, Miami got points 57% of time, and Jordan Mickey’s 14 drives resulted in scores 46% of the time. When Justise Winslow drives to the basket, the Heat wind up empty on 72% of them.
A 255-pound 20 year-old and 265-pound 7-footer going to the rim on drives won’t be stopped easily. Add a 245-pound Kelly Olynyk and 240-pound James Johnson attacking the basket, Miami’s frontcourt has possibilities to take advantage of defenders on small-ball teams.
Couper Moorhead quotes Wade as saying he’s looking forward to working with Hassan and Bam by making them something special.
“The easiest thing to learn was Whiteside and Bam,” Wade said. “Those two guys are forces to be reckoned with. It’s going to make a lot of our jobs easier to understand how to utilize them. They’re going to open things up for all of us.”