If Miami Heat fans have one critique over their team’s start to the season, it’s that Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry haven't shot 3-pointers well. Robinson, who now is getting paid like one of the top shooters in the NBA, went just 2-for-11 from 3 in last night’s win over the Charlotte Hornets. Erik Spoelstra played Max Strus over Robinson in the fourth quarter of that game.
Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, has made just three of his 21 attempts from downtown. He shot 39.6 percent on 3-point shots last year. P.J. Tucker has only made five of his 17 attempts from beyond the arc, just shy of 30 percent. Max Strus has only hit 30 percent of his 3s. Markieff Morris, who was always a middling 3-point shooter, has made just two of 11 3-point attempts this season.
In fact, Tyler Herro has been Miami’s only “good” 3-point shooter this season. He’s shooting 37 percent from 3 this year — and that’s below his 38.9 percent clip from his rookie season.
Despite all that, the Miami Heat are 4-1, with all of their wins coming by double digits. Over the past two seasons, Miami winning games despite poor 3-point shooting didn’t happen.
Update: The Heat has already won three games this season despite shooting worse than 28 percent on threes. The Heat finished 0-17 in such games during the past two regular seasons.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) October 30, 2021
Heat fans knew that this team would play good defense. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are multiple-time All-Defensive Team players. Adding Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker ups the ante. But I’ve been surprised to see how quickly Miami’s defense has risen to elite levels. Stifling Brooklyn and Charlotte in back-to-back games is no easy task.
The Heat have a 94.0 defensive rating this season.— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 30, 2021
That would be the best defense by any team since the three-point era (1980). pic.twitter.com/3imU9GlIOp
Moreover, the mere presence of Lowry and Robinson on the court makes it easier for Butler and Adebayo to operate offensively. Even if they aren’t making 3s, opposing defenses treat Lowry and Robinson like good 3-point shooters. Butler and Adebayo are both shooting north of 50 percent from the field, and they each take about seven trips to the foul line per game.
It also helps that Herro doesn't only shoot 3s, but also uses his footwork to make mid-range jumpers and layups. Even Robinson making a hard cut for a layup or two a game keeps the defense on its toes.
Robinson shot 40.8 and 44.6 percent from 3 in the previous two seasons, respectively. Lowry is an above-average 3-point shooter. They will start hitting 3s. The fact that Miami has won despite shooting poorly from 3 is all the more reason to be bullish on this team.
Lowry and Duncan couldn’t score and the Heat still won by double digits— Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) October 30, 2021