Wednesday, February 3, 2016


1) Miami needs (to be able to) shoot more 3's

Miami came into their game in Dallas on Wednesday ranked 26th in 3-point makes, 25th in 3-point attempts and 28th in 3-point percentage. You could really see it in the way the game played out - the Heat had match-up advantages up and down the line-up but they couldn't really take advantage of them because they didn't space the floor and there was no one who could take advantage of the ball movement their stars created. Instead, the game was played at a crawl and the Heat allowed a Mavs team that was completely gassed coming off a stretch of 19 games in 32 nights and was missing Deron Williams and Devin Harris to hang around to the very end and almost steal one in in the final seconds.

When you have Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia guarding Chris Bosh and JJ Barea and Ray Felton guarding Goran Dragic, there's no reason the game should be all that competitive. If the Mavs had to play 2-on-2 against those match-ups, they would lose 100 out of 100 times. The problem was that Miami couldn't space the floor to let those guys do what they do nor did they run the offense through them. Dwyane Wade held the ball for most of the game even though he had the Mavs best defender (Wesley Matthews) on him and the only guy on Miami who could really space the floor for him was Bosh, which prevented him from fully utilizing the massive speed advantage he had on the Mavs lumbering pair of big men. There was one play where he faced up Zaza and dunked on the entire Dallas roster. 
2) Enter Whiteside

If you wanted to see the value of what Whiteside can bring to the floor, this game was a perfect example. Whiteside came off the bench and was +7 in 18 minutes with 10 points on 5-5 shooting, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks (and at least 5 more altered shots). He completely took over the game on both sides of the floor and there was nothing the Mavs could do to slow him down. This play kind of summed up the night for Whiteside:

He has absolutely demolished the Mavs in their two games against Dallas this season and I wonder how much (if any) that will play into their free agent thinking. In terms of his skill-set, Whiteside is a better version of DeAndre Jordan.. At 7'0 265 with a 7'7 wingspan (!), Whiteside is a plus athlete with stupid length who alters the geometry of the game. He's like DeAndre with touch, post moves and the ability to occasionally make free throws. His per-36 minute numbers are just stupid - 15.4 points, 14.0 rebounds and 4.8 blocks a game on 61.3% shooting. Imagine what he could on a team that spaced the floor and gave him free runs at the rim. There's no telling the type of numbers he could put up in a true 4-out offense like Dallas that could put 4 3-point shooters around him. The only way the Heat could field that many shooters at one time is if they traveled back in time and abducted Mike Miller and James Jones.

Everyone talks about Hassan's plus-minus numbers, which I think is terribly unfair. For one, his main back-up is Chris Bosh sliding down a position, whose one of the best players in the NBA and one of the best small-ball 5's in a league where that style has become all the rage. Second, the Heat have the same offensive rating whether or not Dwayne Wade is on the bench and a worse defensive rating when he is on the floor and no one says anything. There's a lot of people in Miami who want to live in the past and not face up to the reality of who their franchise superstar is at the moment.

Look at from a logical perspective. What skill-set is going to have a more negative impact on the floor? A 5 who blocks shots and rolls to the rim or a 2 who doesn't play defense, holds the ball and can't shoot 3's? It's just very hard to win in the modern NBA without enough shooting on the floor and the SG position is one of the places where you almost have to have shooting - there's a reason "shooting" is in the name of the position. You aren't necessarily going to get shooting from the other 4 positions so a non-shooter at SG really boxes you in terms of the types of line-ups you can throw out there.

3) Where will Whiteside go?

A lot of the talk in Dallas is that the Mavs will pass on Whiteside because they are worried about his attitude and the way he behaves off the court. What I want to know is why you are paying a coach almost $10 million a year if you don't think he's capable of getting the most out of the players you give him? It's great that Rick Carlisle has been able to use smoke and mirrors to keep this franchise on the fringes of the playoffs every season but they haven't won a playoff series in 4 seasons and they seem no closer to being able to do that this season. If they don't end up as the 5 seed, they are going to be swiftly ejected from the playoffs like they were never even there.

Is this really a franchise who can afford to pass up a dude who would be the perfect fit for them on both sides of the ball? Just because their coach doesn't want to coach him? Rick Carlisle probably wants to coach JJ Barea for the rest of his life. That's why you don't give a coach complete control of your personnel decisions. There has to be someone in charge whose thinking big picture.

The other option for Whiteside that I've been spit-balling around is Washington, who desperately need to shake things up after one of the most disappointing seasons in the league. Imagine this starting 5 of the future:


That's pretty much the ideal 4-out line-up and they would actually be capable of playing at the fastest pace in the league. I'm not sure how you defend Wall to Whiteside P/R's with three shooters around them - I'm pretty sure you don't. They would be a better version of the Detroit Pistons with a much better triggerman running the show. The Original Sin in Washington was passing up on Andre Drummond and bringing in Whiteside would be the closest move they could make to making that right.

4) Free The Dragon

I feel terrible watching Dragic walk the ball up the floor, stand in the corner and then watch Wade isolate for 20+ seconds. I'm not sure he touched the ball more than 2-3 times in the final few minutes of the game. Did the Heat really give up two unprotected first-round picks to acquire Dragic and then sign a max contract in order to turn him into a glorified version of George Hill?

The numbers check out. Of the 10 players that Dragic has played the most minutes with, his 2nd worst rating is with Wade (+0.9) and his worst is with Luol Deng (-0.8). Contrast that with the 500+ minutes he has played with Justise Winslow (+8.7), Gerald Green (+7.8) and Chris Bosh (+5.3).

Here's a few more fun numbers. Of the 10 players that Wade has played the most minutes with, how many have a better rating than the +0.9 he shares with Dragic? The answer is 2. One of them has barely played this season - Josh McRoberts (75 minutes) - and the other - Winslow (+2.1) - would probably have a positive net rating if paired with a Roomba. Long story short, there aren't many guys who are playing that well when sharing the floor with D.Wade. Make of that what you will.

5) Justise Winslow

His defense is as good as advertised and he is incredibly impressive to watch in person. He bullied Chandler Parsons and he forced a guy who has been the Mavs best player for most of the last month off the floor in the final minutes. There was just nothing Parsons could do - Winslow was stronger than him, faster than him, just as long as him and he wasn't making any of the type of rookie mistakes you would expect for a 19-year old being asked to defend an opposing team's primary option. At 6'6 225 with a 6'11 wingspan, he has the body of a grown man and a super-high basketball IQ and there's no ceiling to how good he can be defensively.

The only question with Winslow is the 3-point shot. He reminds me a lot of Kawhi Leonard when he was at San Diego State - he's a point forward who can defend just about every position on the floor but whom the defense doesn't have to guard beyond 15+ feet. The thing about it is that basically no one ever makes the leap that Kawhi made - if Justise became a 45% three-point shooter he could be a Top 10 player but the odds of that happening are pretty slim indeed.

Even in the modern NBA, though, you can still afford to have one non-shooter on the floor on the perimeter, especially if that guy can create his own shot and move without the ball in his hands. The problem is that you definitely can't have two. And what I wonder is if Miami would be better off having Winslow in that non-shooting slot than Wade. I'm not a big fan of giving guys passes and I'm not much for sentiment either. This is a business and if you aren't helping your team and there are guys who could fill your role better than you your team has to at least think about taking your ass off the floor. The alternative is losing in the first round and costing themselves tens of millions of dollars. It's sweet that Miami gave Wade a $20 million get well present this season but this could quickly devolve into a co-dependent Kobe in LA situation if they aren't careful.

6) Would Miami be better with Wade and Deng out of the starting line-up?

Here's another way to ask the question - which distribution of roles would get the most out of Dragic and Bosh? Line-up A or Line-up B?

Line-up A
Line-up B

At the very least, it's something to think about.


  1. As a Heat Lifer, I couldn't agree with you more. No disrespect to DWade, he's one of the best of all time, but right now he's holding our team back, and perhaps it's time to consider that he might be better off coming off the bench as our 6th man.
    The strength of our team is the trio of Dragic,Bosh,and Whiteside, and the defense and versatility of Winslow. Bosh should still be the first option on offense, but Whiteside needs to see an increased role, as he presents a mismatch against most opposing bigs. If only they could surround him with more shooters, as you outlined above, this team this offense would be more successful.

    1. Question 1 Why are you counting on Hassan, he's as good as gone comes FA, there is not TRIO here, unless he's willing to take a pay cut or come for a lowest offer he's simply gone I don't see that happening...So that only leaves Dragic and CB there has to be trades made before deadline. I will include Hassan there or else the Heat will losing for nothing and receive nothing in return. This team needs player who can lift them and a shooter or a combined of both into 1... Have Wade coming of bench... that's the only way Heat will shake up inconsistency and play up tempo rather than dribbling the ball till clock runs out...

  2. As a Heat Lifer, I couldn't DISAGREE with you more. This is the most foolish and asinine idea I've ever heard. He's playing at an ELITE level again. While I agree that down the road he needs to come off the bench, that time is not now. The spacing issue has nothing to do with Wade. Did you guys forget he's the ONLY post up player in the starting 5? He's by far the best post player, best mid-range shooter, best playmaker (yes, over Dragic... look how hard it has been for Goran to involve Whiteside on pick-and-roll actions), best clutch player, best leader, and best at drawing fouls. Yeah, Heat better off without Wade.... what a joke.

    1. you hit everything right on the head! I have no idea what these people are talking about. Wade is clear cut leader and guy we need on the floor. seems to me Dragic is declining and needs to figure out another was to involve himself around Wade. He is not even shooting the ball that well?! This article talks about needing 3 point shooters, That is supposed to be what Dragic does! But his release is too slow and he never ready to shoot.

    2. That's fair enough though I don't see how Wade isn't part of the spacing problem when he's the worst 3-point shooter of all of them. I think the reality is that you are going to have to commit to either him or Dragic to improve the ceiling of the team and that it seems like you would want to go with the younger player whom you have already invested so much money in. Obviously Wade's history with the franchise makes it tough but those decisions ultimately have to be made at a business level and you have to put the best interests of the franchise over those of an individual player. Nostalgia is great but if you aren't winning the fans are going to turn on you fast, especially in a market like Miami. I've always thought it makes more sense to show loyalty to players when their careers are over anyway.

    3. You got some good point there but you seem to forget that unfortunately for US HEAT FANS, sometimes we get blinded by what a player does on certain games rather than the entire picture, that said, DW is a good handler yet a clock burner as wel. DW is a great passer yet not a true PG that creates for all. WD is a great player yet his time is coming down even if playing a great level. DW a great leader yet he won't let others handle the wheel when needed. Dragic inconsistency is not due to lack of skills his problem is that he's a running machine and the HEAT is not!. He's been force to play a style he is not supposed to yet he's putting double digits most nights he's struggle with not assisting Hassan is not due to lack of passing is due to the fact that by the time Dragic is at the Rim Hassan lack of screening makes it hard not just for him to work the P/R but also the P/P since Hassan is not a mid-range shooter. Dragic does not have set plays to even use the P/P with CB now how do expect a guy to adjust his game when given those options, all you can do is struggle...! I will have DW come up the bench trade for a shooter if not a 1rst tier player that can shoot the 3 and be done. Hassan is as good as gone comes FA anyways let use him to get something in return... send DW to the bench and that will shake up inconsistency give more ball control to the TRUE PG and run the offense a a bit more fast temple... IMO

  3. Great Article! Referred here off Zach Lowe twitter feed. Love the insight and you make some great points off of supporting data. Concise and to the point. Good Work.

  4. Dragic works well when he can push the pace but for some reason we aren't allowing him to ...

    and with all the young studs that we have on the wings and versatile parts that we can implement, there's no reason why we can't push it when it's there

    winslow deng bosh green tyler Beno. These are all good (not great) 3pt shooters. Space the floor. Pick and roll and push the pace more. We have a team this year that is like a Swiss Army knife. When healthy we can play various styles which I haven't seen many years on the heat if ever.

    But for sure you look at Dragic pre heat. He pushes it. And for some reason he looks hesitant this year vs last year.

  5. I'm sorry but wade is the least of miami's problems. Yes, at this stage of his career he is more of a volume shooter but he is our best playmaker (sorry dragic), and our best shot creator on the perimeter besides when gerald green gets hot.

    Now i wouldn't say the problem is dragic but he hasn't been the player that we expected him to be. Now dragic makes some plays here and there, and he is definitely an upgrade over chalmers, but he hasn't been consistent enough to dominate touches over wade. Udrih sometimes looks more comfortable running pick and roll than dragic. When he calls for a pick, all the big man does is hedge and it l looks as if he is completely thrown off. More often then not he picks up his dribble baseline. Don't get me wrong he is a solid starting point guard, but some people think that he would be steve nash-like if he were to orchestrate the offense which is untrue.

    I do agree that we need to get whiteside more involved only if it doesn't disrupt the flow of the offense. Also, justise winslow's three point shot has been improving and luol deng (over the last few games) looks like he finally added some arc on his shot lol.

    I am at the point where I don't know what to expect from the heat tbh, but hopefully alot of things go right. The "we need more time" "havent figured it out" excuses are getting old.

    1. I wonder how much of it is a chicken and an egg thing with Dragic - hard to be consistent when you don't play with the ball in your hands that much.

      The thing of it is that there's a ceiling for how good a team can be with a 34-year old Wade dominating the ball and we are seeing it now. Dragic may not be able to handle a bigger load and in that case the Heat are in a lot of trouble. I definitely don't think he will be like Steve Nash but there is a middle ground between that and what we are seeing from him now. I'd be very curious to see how he would look if Wade missed 10-15 games - that would tell us all we need to know.

  6. Wade and Whiteside work better together than Dragic but Wade is a ball stopper otherwise. Coach Spoelstra has always had trouble standing up to Wade and Lebron in the past and the same is true today with Wade.

    1. There might be somethin too that. Wade is a very dominant personality. Possibly he needs to be humbled in the playoffs without LeBron for him to accept more of a secondary role. He's a very prideful player and a lot of the near future of the Heat will depend on how he handles things. It's never easy to coach a great player in decline.

  7. Give us Dwight Howard or D. Cousins plus Mr. M. Beasley in order to allow FLASH to restart the HEAT. Mr. Deng and Bosh plus Mr. Amare S. would give the new dynamic trio of
    FLASH, Dwight or Cousins, and Beasley the opportunities
    to generate point prod far above each of this trio's average.
    As it stands, now, only FLASH has a scoring ceiling far above his pt average. On any given night, FLASH can be found scoring
    40+pts, theoretically. With the addition of Dwight or Cousins
    plus M. Beasley, we would change the dynamics of the scoring
    strategy, with avg point production improving "exponentially".
    As a result, Mr. Bosh's & Mr. Deng's upside in scoring would be significantly improved.
    As it is, currently, both Bosh & Deng have their best scoring
    games only when playing non-elite teams. Their defensive skills, however, compensate for their low ceilings in scoring,
    but not enough to compete for the NBA title.
    Thus, offensively, Bosh & Deng would be a supporting cast
    for the dynamic trio, while defensively BOSH & DENG would
    maintain leadership roles.
    Furthermore, the 2 rooks -Willow & Josh R.- would be available
    for defensive contributions.
    On any given night, even against the best of the NBA, in this scenario, FLASH, Dwight or Cousins,or Beasley would likely
    hit the 40pt+ range. Their career percentages are solid. Take Flash at 50% in a good yr or Beasley at 38% for 3-pt shots in a good year. That is solid statistically and their true affection for volume shooting means volume attempts with an end result of higher scores than the opponents, since the defense will also be dynamic and effective.
    We can't continue with

    Goran D. and H. Whiteside if the goal is
    an NBA title. These two don't merit being on the
    same floor as FLASH. FLASH was made for greater
    tasks & achievements and made to team with players
    of greater talent than that found in Dragic or
    Whereas Beas may have appeared lost in a system made
    to compensate for players with lack in talent or experience,
    he would thrive with veterans whose talent and experience are comparable to or greater than his.

    1. You would think Beasley could still help an NBA team but since Miami gave up on him 2x it's probably not happening there.

  8. I agree with everything except that Dwyane Wade doesn't play defense or at least play it well. . It's not true he is holding opponents to 44%, fg%. That's better than Jimmy Butler.....source

  9. Of course B will get the most out of Bosh and Dragic. Also Wade will get the most out of Whiteside and maybe Wade is our best scorer. Offense just freezes without Wade. Guys just don't know what to do without him. Bosh and Dragic are very good inside but they can't drive inside every time cause defenders won't allow that. But Wade can drive inside or do whatever he wants to do. He is just better offensive player. Also whole argument really doesn't matter. Cause after first 7 minutes of Q1 Spo doesn't use starting 5 line up that much. And new offense system since Bulls game is working very well in my opinion.

  10. I love to see Wade become the 6th man a la Andre Iguadala. He would absolutely kill second units, but I understand how hard of a decision that would be. He is a way bigger star than Iggy and is still their 'franchise player'. It would take a lot of humbling for him to accept that role. Don't know if he has that in him (yet).

    I do believe that he can still be a featured played on a contender, but it would have to be a team basically built around him. He'd have to play with 4 shooters (3-and-D) that can't otherwise couldn't create their own shots consistently. But even then, would it be wise for a team to invest a lot of money on a 34-year-old guard with knee issues? Even if he does play at an elite level for a few more years, one tweak of those knees and he's done.

    Playing as a 6th man wouldn't only give him a better chance of winning another ring, it could potentially prolong his career since he won't have to push himself as hard.