By my count today, there are 1,563,459 theories on what is wrong with the Heat, and twice as many stories about said theories.
One of those jumped out at me — the Heat are dribbling too much.
That’s what former Denver Nugget staffer and stats guru (he literally wrote the book), now ESPN staffer (and stats guy) Dean Oliver wrote at TrueHoop — there are a lot of guys pounding the ball and not a lot of guys passing the ball.
Dribble charts show where and how much teams dribble in order to score, and the Heat have a big red area indicating that they dribble to score more than any other team. Miami’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all dribble to create their own shots, and they all do so in the lane.
It’s great to have guys who can break a defense down off the dribble, but the Big Three seems toneed to do so. At this point, they haven’t shown the ability to work off each other consistently.
In the half-court, the Heat have the lowest rate of assisted layups in the league, and it isn’t close: Only 45 percent of their layups and dunks in the half court are assisted, while the next-worst team is at 54 percent and the league average is about 62 percent. The Celtics have 70 percent of their half-court layups assisted, and the Lakers 69 percent.
Oliver notes that team that can defend the three point line and the rim — Chicago, Boston and San Antonio — have given the Heat fits. (The Lakers have done that well of late also, and they are next up for Miami.)
What the Heat need is Chris Bosh cutting to the basket when his man leaves him to help on the drive. It needs the wing players moving more when their man helps, either to better spots on the arc or diving to the basket. But be a moving target. James and Wade have a history of hitting those guys with passes, Oliver notes.
His advice includes something Miami actually started to last night in Portland, running some pick-and-rolls with LeBron James setting the picks. (It worked pretty well, but the Heat played terrible defense Tuesday and that cost them the game against Portland.)
All the advice comes back to one point — the Heat needs is players to move, the ball to move, and less isolation and dribbling. Which frankly they know, but are they willing to do?