The ability to shoot the lights out of the gym was the major reason why the Miami Heat became darlings of the Orlando bubble. Guys like Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro were raining down threes like tropical storms.
While it hasn’t gone quite as swimmingly so far this season, no one is panicking. Head coach Erik Spoelstra believes it’s only a matter of time before those long-range shots start falling. He’s not discouraging anyone from pulling the trigger from deep.
“I don’t want to necessarily overreact to this,” Spoelstra said about the struggles from deep. “Our shooters, if they’re getting the right threes, I truly believe it’s a matter of time — they’re too good of shooters for that not to change. I would hate to be on the other side of it where you’re just hoping that our guys miss. Because that will change.”
Robinson leads the Heat in three-point percentage (38.5%) of qualified shooters (at least 20 games), with Max Strus (36.4%), Kendrick Nunn (35.1%), Goran Dragic (34.9%), Andre Iguodala (34.4%) next in line. The Heat is shooting 34.5% as a team, fourth-worst in the entire NBA.
Herro has arguably been the biggest disappointment, watching his average drop from 38.9% last season to 32.9% this year. And even while Robinson might be the team MVP from deep, the soon-to-be restricted free agent is down almost 10 percentage points from 2020 when he shot a blistering 44.6% beyond the arc.
“Shooters shoot and we just got to continue to shoot,” Herro said. “Shots aren’t going in at the same rate they were last year, but we can’t get discouraged by that.”
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Trevor Ariza Makes Miami Heat Debut
When the Heat acquired Trevor Ariza from the Oklahoma City Thunder, it fulfilled a dream 17 years in the making. The Miami native always wanted to play for his hometown team but his career went in another direction after the New York Knicks drafted him in 2004. Now the 35-year-old forward is wearing a Heat jersey and looking to compete for a championship in South Beach.
“I always wanted to play for this franchise,” Ariza told reporters earlier this week. “It’s just someplace that I always wanted to be. Most of my family is here.”
Ariza wasn’t playing for the Thunder this season and hadn’t appeared in a game since March 10 of 2020, so the franchise is being cautious in how much they use him. He saw just six minutes in Friday night’s 137-110 loss and scored zero points. Ariza’s role is likely to increase down the stretch as the Heat lean on his veteran leadership. Remember, Ariza won a title in 2009 while playing alongside Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Avery Bradley Ruled Out (Again)
Avery Bradley has been ruled out of Sunday’s rematch against the Indiana Pacers. The oft-injured guard hasn’t appeared in a game since Feb. 3 as he battles a nagging calf strain. Prior to that, Bradley was held out for three weeks due to health and safety protocols stemming from a positive COVID-19 test. It’s been a challenging season for the 30-year-old.
“I hope I can get some games under my belt before the break,” Bradley told reporters on Feb. 9. “But like I said, my main focus is making sure I’m smart about this injury so there’s no more setbacks, so I can come back 100-percent.”