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Miami Heat platinum group guards have lost their shine lately

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Other teams have figured how to take the luster off the Heat’s bench guards.

Miami Heat v New York Knicks Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The hyped Miami Heat Platinum group got so much attention, that opponents learned stopping the bench guards can defeat the Heat team as a whole.

Back on Jan. 30, when Miami had a record of 29-21, the guards off the bench lead the NBA in True Shooting percentage (TS%) at 57.8%.

From Jan. 31 to the loss against the New Orleans Pelicans, the TS% of the bench guards dipped to a next-to-last 40.9%, and not accidentally the Heat have dropped 8 out of 9 games in that span.

The cliche goes if you live by the three, you die by the three.

To go from best to almost last is quite a dramatic shift in game planning by the other teams.

The Miami players haven’t taken full advantage of the holes given them when other teams overcompensate guarding the Heat’s guards at the perimeter by leaving the painted area.

In the last nine games the forwards off the bench have an eighth best TS% of 58.1%, but rank 25th of 30 teams in Offensive Rating at 101.4.

In general, since opponents have noticed how poorly the Heat’s forwards finish at the rim, they emphasize taking away Miami’s outside scoring and entry passes to Hassan Whiteside.

In the last 9 games (8 losses), the field goal percentage by the Heat forwards within 5 feet of the rim:

  • starters: 50% (29th in NBA)
  • bench: 59.8% (20th)
  • both: 55.1% (27th)

Defense may lead to offense, but if the offense doesn’t finish at the rim, that negates the entire premise of having a great defense.

In other words, when the Heat defense gets a stop and a forward misses a point-blank basket at the rim, that usually results in a turnover the forward committed, and he won’t be back in time to stop a fast-break, since he’s stuck under the basket he missed.

Keeping the same starting five, where the forwards are 29th in finishing within five feet of the rim in the last eight games, lets opponents exploit their unfair advantage in going out to the perimeter and stopping the Plantinum Group for the foreseeable future.


The top three finishers at the rim, for the season, have the best won-loss record in the games they played.

Won Loss Record and 5-foot FG%

Kelly Olynyk 29 25 54% 72%
Hassan Whiteside 21 19 53% 67%
Wayne Ellington 30 28 52% 66%
Tyler Johnson 26 25 51% 62%
Josh Richardson 30 29 51% 60%
Goran Dragic 27 27 50% 54%
James Johnson 24 27 47% 62%
Bam Adebayo 23 27 46% 62%
Justise Winslow 19 26 42% 52%