The Miami Heat prides itself as team where defense leads to offense to win games, but what happens when the offense gives the ball right back to the other team with turnovers?
Talented two-way players are great in theory, but all too often the great players on defense don’t know what to do with the ball when on offense.
To paraphrase the classic rant by the late Dennis Green, the Heat are who people thought they were.
For example 7’0” Kelly Olynyk is suited more to orchestrate a triangle offense from the elbow than copy the pull-up jump-shooting style of a 6’3” Damian Lillard, yet Olynyk attempted more 3-pointers (181) on the Heat than anyone not named Josh Richardson.
Matter-of-fact as of 1/18/2019, Olynyk has the highest 2-point FG%, 64.9%, among 162 players in the NBA with at least 100 3PA and 80 2PA, and the biggest drop in FG%, -32.3%, when going out beyond the 3-point line.
Olynyk’s not who the coaches think he is and his numbers have declined from last season by placing the 7-footer out on the perimeter: career lows in FGA (6.6), 2PA (2.3), FG% (.439) and 3P% (.326), and drops from last season in rebounds (4.3), assists (1.7) and steals (0.6).
His high basketball IQ, when being at the center of a complex triangle offense operating from the high post, gets wasted taking field goal attempts from the perimeter, as well as moving a 7-footer away from the paint for rebounds and tip-ins.
The original triangle offense needs updating since it lead to a lot of inefficient 2-point field attempts when used in the 1990’s by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
In today’s 3-point mania, the ball would whip around court to find the most efficient shot by a perimeter player due to the threat of a “Kelly Keeper” for a slam at the rim if defenses double-team him.
Incidentally Olynyk finished ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo, 119 to 116, in the 2013-14 All-Rookie Second Team voting.
Whether the elbow distributor is Olynyk, Bam Adebayo, James Johnson, or whoever, the ball handler should be one step from the rim for a dunk to keep the help defenders guessing and confused in their coverages.
During the fabled 13-0 consecutive game win streak from Jan. 17 to Feb. 10 of 2017, Goran Dragic shot 54%, Dion Waiters 50%, Okaro White 47%, Wayne Ellington 42%, Luke Babbitt 40%, and Rodney McGruder 40% from beyond the 3-point line.
Those percentages can’t be sustainable over the long haul because NBA teams make adjustments to stop those numbers.
When the Miami starters feature two undrafted players and four G-League alumni on the court against teams with All-Star talent(s), eventually the results speak for themselves during the 82-game season and playoffs.
The Miami Heat may be the team everyone thought they are.