clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The best iso-ball player on the Miami Heat is a total stunner and can only get better

New, comments

Houston Rockets brought back iso-ball: can the Miami Heat afford to be left behind?

NBA: New York Knicks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat’s crop of youngsters could develop in unexpected ways this season, in part due to the iso-ball revolution bought on by James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Going with the iso-ball theme for argument’s sake, who’s the best iso-baller on the Heat?

The answer was a totally unexpected one, according to NBA stats.

Isolation Sets

Player Poss PPP eFG% TO Percentile
Player Poss PPP eFG% TO Percentile
Rodney McGruder 2 2.00 150.0 0.0%
Bam Adebayo 12 1.00 50.0 8.3% 80.5
Goran Dragic 73 0.93 45.8 9.6% 68.1
James Johnson 118 0.89 47.4 11.9% 58.5
Kelly Olynyk 30 0.83 37.0 13.3% 46.4
Dion Waiters 89 0.80 38.2 10.1% 37.2
Josh Richardson 26 0.73 50.0 26.9% 26.7
Hassan Whiteside 25 0.64 30.4 4.0% 14.9
Tyler Johnson 15 0.60 34.6 13.3% 10.1
Dwyane Wade 22 0.59 27.8 9.1% 9.3
Justise Winslow 24 0.54 31.6 12.5% 6.4

James Johnson was Miami’s go-to option on isos, and I expected Dwyane Wade or Dion Waiters to be near the top, but Bam Adebayo at the 80th percentile?

Adebayo does highlight dunks, but he also showed off his iso-skill during the 2018 Summer League.

Granted Adebayo had only 12 iso possessions, but the figures above suggest trying various scenarios, as Miami did with Justise Winslow doing well as a de facto point guard.

After the 2017 draft the logical thing to teach Adebayo was working out of the post, but the numbers from last season aren’t encouraging going forward via that route.

Post Ups

Player Poss PPP eFG% TO Percentile
Player Poss PPP eFG% TO Percentile
Hassan Whiteside 156 0.93 47.2 12.2% 65.2
Goran Dragic 14 0.93 45.5 7.1% 64.7
James Johnson 34 0.88 50.0 20.6% 53.7
Kelly Olynyk 79 0.87 54.3 26.6% 49.5
Josh Richardson 11 0.73 30.0 0.0% 21.6
Bam Adebayo 55 0.65 31.4 18.2% 14.2
Dwyane Wade 33 0.64 34.5 12.1% 11.4
Justise Winslow 16 0.25 14.3 12.5% 0.0

At 21 years-of-age Adebayo has a long way to go in perfecting his ball-handling skills to an All-Star caliber level, but if he does, his stats from last season indicate promise in a totally unexpected area of his game.

The test will come if teams game plan to stop Adebayo, or Rodney McGruder for that matter, on their isolation sets.

As a player’s usage increases NBA teams put their best defenders against their most dangerous threats, so will Adebayo become good enough to beat the toughest coverage other teams throw at him?

Rather than thinking of Bam primarily as a back-up center for Hassan Whiteside, he may be more useful as a Giannis Antetokounmpo type of player, who excels with the ball in his hands in the open court.

The Heat’s four promising youths, Adebayo, Winslow, Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten, could reach new heights in an unforeseen fashion as they find their niche in the NBA.

Perhaps they were pigeonholed into very traditional roles as rookies, but at their ages they have time to develop their own uniques skill sets to face the difficult challenges at the next level.

The Oklahoma City Thunder knew Harden was good, but little did they realize how great he would become before they traded him to the Rockets.