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Can Miami Heat thrive by getting players in their sweet spots ahead of the defenders?

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Heat players randomly jacking up shots from anywhere on the court frustrates the coaches and fans.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Big game tonight for the Miami Heat against the Detroit Pistons, as Detroit will be motorized to avenge their overtime loss against the Orlando Magic to stay in the playoff chase.

The Pistons beat the Heat last time from the free-throw line, 14-5, especially Stanley Johnson’s 5-5: notably both teams made the exact same amount of field goals, 44.

In that game, without Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow scored zero points and Bam Adebayo four points, yet Miami scored 107 points and lost the game due to a porous defense.

Kelly Olynyk played a team-high 40 minutes, had team-best +10, shot 1-8 on 3-pointers, but out-finessed the Pistons with his inside moves making 8 of his 11 attempts on 2-point tries.

Turns out each player remained true to their shooting identity in having their own sweet spots on the court, and other places where they struggle mightily.

Winslow doesn’t seem to be able to walk and chew gum at the same when it comes to scoring: he does best when his feet are firmly planted and uses his muscle memory to make baskets he practiced thousands of times in the gym.

Olynyk’s 8 of 11 versus the Pistons isn’t a fluke, because he’s Miami’s best finisher at the rim this season.

Restricted Area (best and worst)

  • Olynyk 76%
  • Whiteside 69%
  • Derrick Jones Jr. 53%
  • Winslow 52%

In The Paint (non-RA)

  • Jordan Mickey 46%
  • Dwyane Wade 43%
  • Winslow 28%
  • Wayne Ellington 0%


  • Josh Richardson 45%
  • James Johnson 45%
  • Olynyk 33%
  • Winslow 19%

Left Corner 3

  • Ellington 43%
  • Goran Dragic 36%
  • James Johnson 31%
  • Richardson 30%

Right Corner 3

  • Winslow 48%
  • Ellington 46%
  • James Johnson 33%
  • Tyler Johnson 32%

Above The Break 3

  • Winslow 48%
  • Richardson 40%
  • Olynyk 35%
  • James Johnson 29%

Free Throws

  • Ellington 86%
  • Tyler Johnson 85%
  • Wade 85%
  • James Johnson 69%
  • Whiteside 68%
  • Winslow 67%

Other teams will trap Heat players who get in their danger zones, but watch how Wade breaks out of a double team with a simple trick for an emphatic dunk. (hint: don’t dribble through)

Solving the puzzle of getting the ball to Olynyk or Whiteside in the restricted area, Winslow in right corner, or Richardson above the break before help arrives could lead to a high-percentage bucket, or they could pass out to a mismatch elsewhere on the court.

A note to Whiteside about using height to your advantage when under pressure: here is how Wilt Chamberlain lead the NBA in total assists, 702, in 1967-68.