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Miami Heat 2020-21 player review: Duncan Robinson

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Duncan continued to make strides in his third NBA season, but will he continue his career in Miami?

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The offseason has arrived for the Miami Heat, who were swept out of the first round in the NBA playoffs by the Milwaukee Bucks — losing their four games by a combined 82 points.

Before we deep dive into everything regarding the future months for this team, let’s discuss the 2020-21 seasons for Heat players who played and on the roster.

For our 14th player review — conducted in alphabetical order — we will look at sharpshooting guard Duncan Robinson. Here’s the previous 13 Heat players we’ve reviewed:

Let’s dive into it!


Brief Overview:

2020-21 stats (72 games):

  • 13.1 PPG
  • 3.5 RPG
  • 40.8 3-point percentage
  • 62.8 true shooting percentage
  • 11.0 player efficiency rating

In his breakout 2019-20 campaign, Robinson knocked down the league’s 3rd-most 3-pointers (270) at a 44.6 percent clip; he was on pace to join James Harden and Stephen Curry as the only players in NBA history to hit 300 3s in a single season.

Coming off the shortened 71-day offseason, constant trade rumors and a drastic change in importance on opponents’ scouting reports, Robinson got off to a slower start (except when he became the Grinch to the Pelicans’ Christmas; see below). However, the 6-foot-7 sharpshooter still knocked down the fourth-most 3s (250), sported a 40.8 3-point percentage on the season and had a quality third season.


Numbers to note:

44.8 - Like teammate Tyler Herro, throughout the entire offseason and in the months leading up to the trade deadline, Robinson’s name swirled in trade rumors. (Spoiler: That’s going to continue this offseason with sign-and-trades, too.) Whether the shooting efficiency took a hit because of different defensive adjustments, the ongoing rumors or a combination of multiple different factors, there were stark differences in his shooting efficiency pre- and post-deadline. Prior to the March 25 trade deadline, Robinson was shooting just 38.2 percent from 3-point range; after, he shot a team-high 44.8 percent from deep.

You know what they say: The best always find a way to figure it out.

152 - On May 1, Robinson became the fastest player in NBA history to knock down 500 career 3-pointers, doing so in 152 games. A short list of players he beat out: Luka Doncic (187 games), Damian Lillard (199), Donovan Mitchell (208) and Buddy Hield/Klay Thompson (214). That’s good company!

1.61 - Part of what makes Robinson’s offensive game so unique is his off-ball effectiveness. He swarms around the court with different cadences and directions like he’s competing in World Chase Tag, creating his own shot and potential opportunities for others. However, the typical door for open looks quickly became locked because of the gravity he attracted. Thus, Robinson was forced to become more creative with his off-ball movement in 2020-21.

Due to his effectiveness, defenses were forced to scheme him differently than last year. Head coach Erik Spoelstra and Robinson became more clever with different sets and actions — still giving Robinson the proper touches to be an effective on-the-court presence. When he couldn’t generate an open look by flying around myriad screens, he cut. And they were effective — generating 1.61 points per cut, T-14 most in the league per NBA.com.

Per Cleaning the Glass, Robinson shot at an absurd 79 percent clip at the rim and 46 percent on short 2s. He took advantage of defenses overplaying him — evidently opening up alleyways for him to backdoor cut. Like he’s done for much of his three-year career, Robinson always looked to take advantage of the opposition when the chance arose.

13 - One of the most slept on parts of Robinson’s 2020-21 season was continued improvement as an off-ball defender. One statistic that stuck out above others was charges drawn: Robinson drew a team-high 13 charges. Which current Heat player finished with the second-most? Butler, with just six. Whether it was sacrificing one’s body for extra possessions or jostling for position in the post with bigger players, Robinson made strides in that regard — though there’s plenty of progress still to be made.

11 - Robinson was one of 11 players to play all 72 regular season games and one of five (Nikola Jokic, RJ Barrett, Mikal Bridges and Bojan Bogdanovic) to start in each of them. He has now played in 147 straight games dating back to April 9, 2019 — the fifth-longest streak in franchise history.


Best game?

December 25 vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Robinson had a lot of quality games this season. He had 18 games with five or more 3s, 13 games with 20-plus points and the catch-and-shoot threat had 27 games with five or more rebounds!

But I’m going with his late Christmas Day performance against the New Orleans Pelicans. In Miami’s second game of the season, his effectiveness made it look like it was still trapped in the 2019-20 season. Robinson tallied 23 points — 18 in the first half — on 8-of-17 shooting with seven 3-pointers (tying a season high) on 13 attempts. He added six rebounds and one steal.

John Hollinger’s game score labels Robinson’s best game on Jan. 16 versus the Detroit Pistons. Robinson had 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 5-of-8 from 3-point range, adding four rebounds, three assists with a block despite the 20-point loss.

What’s next?

Along with Nunn, Robinson will be a restricted free agent.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in May that Robinson could get offers in the range of $20M per year. Given that he’s a restricted free agent, Miami has the right to match any offer sheet to retain him.

When I broke down Nunn’s contractual situation, I referenced John Hollinger’s report from The Athletic, when he cited that Nunn could gets offers around $15M and Robinson could potentially see more than that.

Reiterating what I’ve previously mentioned: If those asking prices have any validity or accuracy, Pat Riley will likely have to choose between the two. Again, Miami could match offers for either of the two players — but with their small cap holds, retaining both at such costs would cut deeply into their salary cap space. Robinson is one of Miami’s centerpieces to its offense scheme of an infinite amount of screens and cuts. That could tempt teams to offer Robinson a larger offer sheet to force Miami’s hand.

Here is what he said about his impending free agency in his exit interview:

“I’m just trying to get all the information possible, so I can make the best decision possible,” Robinson said. “In terms of the different factors that contribute, all of them do, to some extent. First and foremost, the fit, a place where I can really feel comfortable. Winning is obviously a priority for me, as well. And then, of course, it’s also a business and there’s an opportunity to make money to take care of people that I love the most. So that’s also a priority, as well ... So any place that can offer all of those is a destination that I would be excited about. Obviously, I’ve had an incredible experience here, love this organization for many different reasons. So, we’ll see. For the most part, like I said, I haven’t really shifted my focus toward that just yet. But the next weeks, months will be mostly about gathering information and trying to make the best decision possible.”

On the court, Robinson will continue to add mini wrinkles to game. Will he transition into more of a cutting threat? A more frequent pick-and-roll threat? Will he develop a mid-range game? What will his progress be as a playmaker? Rebounder? Defender? Those answers will only come with time, but Robinson’s continued development within the organization is a testament to Miami’s stout player development staff.