Getting Ryan Anderson wasn’t the splashiest (pun intended via the Golden State Warriors) move for the Miami Heat, but the trade might signal a makeover for the team down the stretch.
The hidden factor lies up north in Sioux Falls, where Duncan Robinson leads the G-League in made 3-point baskets by a comfortable margin, 138 compared to 109 for his nearest rival.
Converting treys at a respectable 48% rate, the 6’8” Robinson seems to be a younger and lighter version of the 6’10”, 240 lb sharpshooter Anderson.
In this video Anderson displays his elite footwork in creating space for his shot: even shooting over Nikola Jokic because of his height.
Looking only at his feet, one marvels at the speed and quickness he has for a person of his height and weight to set up a good look at the basket.
Ryan Anderson is officially a member of your Miami HEAT!— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 7, 2019
An 11-year vet who has averaged 12.5 points (42.2 FG%, 38% 3PT FG), 5.3 rebounds & 26.2 minutes over 637 career games. Entering this season, Anderson has made at least 100 3's in 4 consecutive seasons. pic.twitter.com/ngvfOjrZbh
Using his “iron shoulder” like Goran Dragic to bump defenders out of the way, Anderson can create his own shot when needed whereas Wayne Ellington usually worked off teammate’s feeds for dribble hand-offs to create space.
When not shooting from beyond the arc, Anderson can use his 240 lb body to do a James Johnson at the rim.
With Robinson claiming a 14th roster spot the Heat might have some serious height and weight advantages for the remainder of the season:
- Hassan Whiteside – 7’0”, 265 lbs
- Kelly Olynyk – 7’0”, 240 lbs
- Bam Adebayo – 6’10”, 240 lbs
- Ryan Anderson – 6’10”, 240 lbs
- James Johnson – 6’8”, 240 lbs
- Yante Maten – 6’8”, 240 lbs
- Duncan Robinson – 6’8”, 210 lbs
- Justise Winslow – 6’7”, 225 lbs
- Derrick Jones Jr. - 6’7”, 200 lbs
Dwyane Wade exploited his height and weight edge over CJ McCollum; his palm down motion meant CJ was “too-short” to stop him.
Dwyane Wade dropped 22 PTS & grabbed 9 REB in Miami's win over Portland last night #OneLastDance pic.twitter.com/CBIn3pkk4N— NBA UK (@NBAUK) February 6, 2019
The comparison of Anderson to Luke Babbitt brings up the question of what fueled the 30-11 run two years ago.
During the 13-0 run that season usage rates show the starters had very specific roles which each executed to the best of their abilities.
The starters’ usage rates were: Dion Waiters 27%, Dragic 26%, Whiteside 21%, Rodney McGruder 13%, Babbitt 11% - in other words, the five-man lineup wasn’t an equal-opportunity squad of interchangeable parts.
They went undefeated for 13 games by not playing “position-less basketball.”
Among the present-day starters Whiteside remains as the only holdover from that 30-11 finish.
Winslow wasn’t available at that time, and Miami was 16-9 with Josh Richardson in the lineup (his 7-7 record as a starter mimics the current situation), while going 14-2 when Richardson was out.
Like the underdog New England Patriots, the Miami Heat hopefully can take advantage of the fact that none of the Eastern Conference teams above them have won a NBA Championship in this decade.
Theoretically talent triumphs in the end, yet many deserving All-Stars come up short (pun intended) on the big stage.
Ray Lewis described one trait that made Tom Brady special over the years.
“This guy — he’s figured it out: don’t complicate football.”
“How does Tom keep going? It’s because you guys keep making the same mistakes,” Lewis said. “I sit back and I think to myself — do you all think he’s going to change?”
“You’re flatfooted, you’re sitting 12 yards off, and you don’t think he’s going to throw that hitch? He’s going to throw it 10 times out of 10.”
Wade does a Brady by throwing a flawless hitch pass to Richardson, who has run that curl route to perfection over and over again this season.
⚡️ @DwyaneWade was dropping dimes all over MSG tonight!#FatherPrime finished the game with a team-leading 10 assists off the bench.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 28, 2019
Veterans like Wade take advantage of “too short” mismatches and pump-fakes each and every time, even when other players know what’s coming.
The Ryan Anderson addition doesn’t seem like much, but having a right-sized roster during the playoff run works in their favor, especially since the Heat has a better record on the road than back in Miami.