YAY MORE SHOT CHARTS!
We all know the Miami Heat offense is good. Very good. But this shot chart illustrates a strategy that may go against the grain of the NBA thought process and strategy. No team can consistently stop LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh from getting points in the paint, but the colorful polka dots, from Accenture Technology Labs’ Joshua Patterson and Nathan Shetterleyalso, tell a different story. The Heat tend to let it rain from three when playing against below-average defenses. When going against the top defenses, the Heat get back into the paint.
Coaches stress protecting the paint on defense since closer shots are more efficient. That isn’t rocket science. The Memphis Grizzlies were terrific at this last season. But the good defenses also do a great job of chasing shooters off the three point line. The best defenses get opponents off the three-point line but also stop them from getting into the paint, forcing them to shoot less efficient (and less rewarding) midrange jumpers. Still, NBA teams going against good defenses can sometimes try to overcompensate for a lack of inside scoring by going for an extra point with the three ball. The Heat, on the other hand, do not show such attempts. When going against the above average defenses, they get to their true game, which is in the paint. No doubt, many of those little dots occurred in transition too.
So when the Heat are playing a bad defense this season, expect big game out of Ray Allen and Shane Battier, and for LeBron to practice his three-point jumper some. At least according to the chart.