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Miami Heat have a phantom third All-Star in Duncan Robinson this season

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By some measures Robinson is having an All-Star season for Heat.

NBA: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan Robinson made quite a splash in Miami Heat’s 116-113 win over the Orlando Magic. As outlined in Duncan Robinson is about to smash three-point records, his contributions have unexpectedly reached extraordinary heights this season. But really how good has he been thus far?

Digging into the numbers he’s in some pretty good company up to this point. Delving into the NBA stats database here are the barriers to entry:

  • Games played greater than 47
  • Minutes per game played greater than 29.6
  • Net Rating greater than 7
  • True Shooting percentage greater than 55%

Of the eleven players who met all the necessary qualifications, ten were NBA All-Stars last February (age).

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (25)
  2. Luka Doncic (21)
  3. Rudy Gobert (27)
  4. James Harden (30)
  5. LeBron James (35)
  6. Kawhi Leonard (28)
  7. Khris Middleton (28)
  8. Duncan Robinson (25)
  9. Pascal Siakam (25)
  10. Jayson Tatum (22)
  11. Kemba Walker (29)

That’s the entire list. Shocking how exclusive it is. Also only Doncic and Tatum are younger than Robinson, which means most are older and more experienced.

Of all those players Robinson was the only one who played over 60 games. His durability and ruggedness is a feat unto itself. His TS% of 67% is topped only by Gobert at 70%. Despite Robinson’s acknowledged weakness on defense, Doncic at 111, Walker at 109, and Harden at 108 have a higher DefRtg than Robinson’s 107.1, which is close to Gobert’s 106.5 by the way.

The biggest difference between the All-Stars and Robinson is in the usage rate and PACE. All of them, except Gobert (16.4%, 99.51), have greater USG% than 25 and a PACE above 100. In plain words their teams run many more plays through them in the course of a game.

The story line of Robinson being an older undrafted player won’t go away. The facts of what he’s accomplished speak for themselves though. His contributions to the success of the Heat can no longer be ignored as inconsequential.

Robinson is the perfect compliment to incumbent Heat All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. He performs the role as an unselfish third wheel to perfection. In only his first season as a starter the best may be yet to come as he expands his game.

The site BBall Index has their own proprietary Wins Added formula for players. Robinson makes the top 18 of all players with 6.2, which is close the 7.2 for Adebayo and 7.0 Butler. Again only three are younger: Doncic 21, Tatum 22, Adebayo 22. Other notable players who rank below Robinson are Ben Simmons 5.8, Joel Embiid 4.9, Trae Young 4.9. No one number can fully capture the value of a player, but comparing them all paints a picture of an underappreciated Heat gem.

Perhaps the search for the third star for Miami may only require time for players already on the team to blossom.