Last Saturday, I wrote about Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson’s struggles from 3-point range. At the time, Lowry had made just three of 21 attempts from downtown. But some good shooting nights — including his triple-double last night — have lifted his 3-point clip to 38.3 percent.
Kyle did it all for us tonight: 20 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists. pic.twitter.com/y1QcqfusrX— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) November 7, 2021
Robinson, on the other hand, has continued to struggle at his best skill. He sits at 32.5 percent shooting from 3 after going 1-for-5 against the Utah Jazz last night. Some have wondered whether Erik Spoelstra should swap Tyler Herro for Robinson in the starting lineup, or argued that re-signing Robinson to a five-year, $90 million contract was a mistake.
Is it time for Tyler Herro to replace Duncan Robinson in the starting lineup? pic.twitter.com/2dZ4IrAT12— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) November 5, 2021
First off, I don’t see Spoelstra switching up the starting lineup in the midst of a 7-2 start to the season. Until Victor Oladipo comes back, Herro remains Miami’s only creator off the bench.
As for what’s the matter with Robinson, Couper Moorhead discussed a role change for the swingman that might be at play. Lowry’s presence has made Miami less reliant on the Bam Adebayo/Robinson dribble hand-off. Compared to last season, Robinson’s personal handoffs are down from 8.8 to 6.0 per 100 possessions, a decrease of 31 percent.
Moorhead also said Robinson is getting about three more catch-and-shoot opportunities per 100 possessions than last season, and getting cleaner looks overall. Ultimately, Robinson is too good of a shooter. His percentages will come up after he gets used to this new role.
Following the 2011 lockout, the Miami Heat signed Shane Battier to bolster a roster that lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. In February 2012, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst wrote that Battier was, “mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career while playing a most visible role.” He shot just 33.9 percent from 3 that year.
During the Heat’s 2013 playoff run, Battier was in such a slump that Erik Spoelstra put him on the fringes of the rotation until Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Does anyone care that Battier went through sustained slumps with the Heat when he made six of eight 3s in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals?
Robinson is a better shooter than Battier was. His 3-point percentage will approach 40 percent as we play more games. We’re only nine games into the NBA season. The Heat are 7-2. If a month passes by and Robinson is still struggling from 3, it’s a concern. But now is not the time to panic.