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Miami Heat Weekly Round-Up - Butler struggling, Herro getting to the line and more

Let’s take a look back at the week that was for the Heat.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever missed a game or two during the week? Want to go through some Xs and Os? Or catch up on some news? Well, welcome to the Miami Heat Weekly Round-Up!

Each week, I’ll dive into some key points from this week, any trends, go through film breakdowns, provide fun stats, and other interesting tidbits that have caught my eye.

Weekly Summary & Stats

The Heat finished with a 2-1 record:

For the first time this season, they faced the Cavaliers with all of their starters and it was a convincing win. The key reason why this was a good win is because of how Tyler Herro played. In the two previous matchups, he clearly struggled against that type of length — he went for a combined 33 points on 15/38 shooting (39.4%) and only one free throw attempt. In the third matchup, though, he finished with 22 points on 8/15 shooting with five free throw attempts.

Did you know the Heat are 1-7 against the Wolves in the last four seasons? Despite Herro going for 30, Max Strus hitting five triples, and being only down one point with two minutes left, the Heat were unable to close this game out without Jimmy Butler.

Finally, they did end up beating the Pistons, despite having arguably the worst quarter this season. All it took was 16 points in the fourth quarter by Strus to close the game out and some clutch buckets from Herro.

Some key, fun stats this week:

  • 48.6 free throw rate against the Pistons — good for the 100th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass (CTG)
  • Herro averaged 27.0 points on 12/27 from 2pt, 12/22 from 3pt, and 21/24 from free throws
  • 2nd best defense this week with 104.8 rating
  • Strus shooting 14/28 from 3pt

Should we be concerned about Butler?

So, I tweeted Butler’s shooting stats and how there is a significant difference in his shooting percentages before the year ended and now.

And based on this title, I guess you can figure out the kind of response this got — trade him, he’s declining, rest him.

These are even worse when you look at his post-all-star numbers. It’s quite obvious. Butler is struggling to make shots recently, but should this raise major concerns going forward, or is this a rough stretch due to injuries and fatigue?

In the whole grand scheme of things. No, this shouldn’t raise major concerns, especially about his scoring, his decline, his contract, or anything else in the future. The only concern is the fact that he’s not shooting well right now. And that could be because of injuries. It may be a coincidence, but his percentages have significantly gone down since his injury against the Golden State Warriors.

He clearly needs some rest because a player doesn’t suddenly go from almost a 90% shooter from the line to 77%. That doesn’t happen for no reason.

One of the reasons this change is this noticeable is because of the hot start at the beginning of the season. But Butler is not a 40% mid-range shooter. He hasn’t been in the high 30s since his Chicago days. These expectations of him are ridiculously high.

I went through all of his mid-range stats since his first all-star appearance.

Butler, since he left Chicago, has been a 36% mid-range shooter. There should be zero expectations of him shooting the way he did at the start of the season or last year. But there should also be no expectations of him shooting 30% either. The only concern is that he’s shooting slightly below his averages.

This also would be more of a concern if he didn’t do other things to a high standard. Some stats per BBall-Index among players with at least 500 minutes this season:

  • 96th percentile in total isolations per 75 possessions
  • 98th in isolation impact
  • 84th in isolation foul drawn rate — better than last year
  • 94th in drives per 75
  • 90th in getting to the rim rating
  • 66.7% adjusted FG% at the rim — not even a full percent lower than last year
  • 86th in high-value assists

See what he’s doing? How is that declining? He still does all the things that make Jimmy him.

Herro’s increase in free throws

Herro has shot 21/24 free throws in the past three games — though, very specific, it’s the most he made in a three-game span.

That’s mainly because of his increase in drives post-all-star and how he draws more contact recently. In the 11 games, he’s averaging 13.6 drives per game, attempts 7.0 shots, and 2.7 free throw attempts (0.6 behind Butler). The key stat is he gets fouled on 10% of his drives.

That has been my main concern and he has done nothing but made that concern go away. He has improved how he gets to the rim, how he has counters after the pick and roll, and simply improved how finishes around the rim.

Take this play:

He’s ready to use that screen and head left, but as soon as he noticed the defender already being on the other side, he makes that beautiful cross, changes speed, and draws contact.

Or this play in transition:

If he can continue to provide that rim pressure, get to the line more, then his scoring will be much more impactful.

Tidbits, random film, & other news

There are 12 games left in the season, and the Heat are in a great spot for the number one seed. If they only beat teams that are sub 500 and go 6-6, that still gives them a solid chance. Here are the records for each team to finish better than them:

Is Kyle Lowry’s passiveness becoming a concern? Since coming back, in five games, he’s averaging 5.6 points on 24.0% shooting and 21.1% from deep. To make things even more worrying, he’s only attempting five shots a game.

He has been dealing with some personal issues recently, and it’s not any fan's place to question that. Something is clearly bothering him to be this passive. I’m not worried that this will continue, especially into the post-season. However, this has also been a trend throughout the season, though, not to this extreme case.

And to finish off, here’s my play of the week: