• Michael Snow

What's Wrong With the Miami Heat?

  • The Miami Heat average the most turnovers and least offensive rebounds per game

  • This leads to the Heat having the 3rd worst field goal attempt differential in the NBA

Last season the Miami Heat surprised everyone and made the NBA finals. One could even make the argument that they would have won the championship if Dragic and Bam had not gotten injured. Due to this success, the Heat had high expectations coming into this season. They have certainly not met these exceptions. So, what's wrong with the Miami Heat?

The first statistic we'll examine is their field goal percentage.

As one can see in the visualization above, the Heat have an above average field goal percentage. Its even better than some top teams such as the Jazz and Celtics. So this clearly is not the problem. Thus, let's compare their field goal percentage to the field goal percentage of their opponents to see if their defense has been the problem.

The Heat have the 6th best field goal percentage differential in the NBA. Their efficiency on shot attempts and defending shot attempts is good, good enough to be one of the top teams in the East. Therefore, if they are losing all these games, this must mean that their opponents are taking significantly more shots than them. Below is a graph showing team's field goal attempt differential.

The Heat have the 3rd worst field goal attempt differential in the league. On the contrary, the Celtics have the 5th best differential. This is why the Celtics have a significantly better record than the Heat, despite having a much worse field goal percentage differential. So what's causing the Heat to attempt so many less shots than their opponent. The way you lose shot opportunities is turnovers, and the way you gain them is offensive rebounds. Below are graphs of both of those.

The Heat average the most turnovers in the NBA and the least offensive rebounds. It is very hard to consistently win games with these numbers.

The turnovers may be due to the fact that Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo have been given more of a ball handling and playmaking role this season. Without a preseason and much training camp, it may take time for these two to adjust to their increased roles. Herro has recently been removed from the starting lineup, so we'll see if this allows him to have less of a playmaking responsibility and be able to focus more on scoring and playing off other ball handlers like Dragic and Butler.

The offensive rebounds will likely be harder to fix. The Heat currently start Kelly Olynyk, who, despite being 7-feet tall, is a poor rebounder; he has never averaged six rebounds a game. The Heat's other PF/C options off the bench are Iguodala and Achiuwa. Iguodala is clearly not big enough to be a good rebounder, and Achiuwa has not yet earned big minutes from Spoelstra. That being said, unless a trade occurs, Achiuwa is probably the Heat's best option for improving their rebounding. However, it is hard to play him with Bam since neither stretch the floor. Nevertheless, I believe, if the Heat can reduce their turnovers, they have a potent enough offense and a stingy enough defense to win games, even without improving their offensive rebounding.

Stats from: basketballreference.com

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