Gerald Green needs to step up, or the Miami Heat need a trade

January 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Heat forward Gerald Green (14) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
January 13, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Heat forward Gerald Green (14) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

If Gerald Green doesn’t start hitting perimeter shots, the Miami Heat should look elsewhere for a floor spacer.

Asking a 30-year-old journeyman on a minimum contract to be your top gun beyond the 3-point line is a tough ask, but that’s precisely where Gerald Green and the Miami Heat stand.

With the NBA trade deadline coming up, they also stand at a cross roads.

So far this season, Green is shooting 31.5 percent on 4.3 attempts from 3-point range, a few notches below his 36.2 percent career average. Green hasn’t made more than one 3-pointer in a game since Jan. 19. It’s not a great time for Green to go cold. Especially now, with the Heat evolving its offense.

Miami recently added more baseline and back cuts to its offense to get its wings Luol Deng and Justise Winslow more involved. They won six of seven games, before its offense was snuffed out by the Los Angeles Clippers, as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Ira Winderman writes.

"The Clippers’ approach was to pay greater attention to the players, such as Justise Winslow and Deng, that the Heat are positioning along the baseline, and less attention to shooters on the opposite side of the court, with the Heat lacking much in the way of perimeter consistency.“You could see on the tape, the Clippers, they were prepared for us,” guard Goran Dragic said. “And that’s how they defended. Everybody was inside the paint and they left the opposite guy open in the corner. Now it’s on us to anticipate those things.”"

The Heat hope to add another winkle to its offense, but they can only do so much when the outside shots aren’t falling. The offense, as currently constructed, boasts some of the best cutters and finishers in the game. Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic thrive at getting to the rim, Deng and Winslow have proven to be ace cutters and Hassan Whiteside is a monster rolling to the basket and finishing at the rim. However, the Charlotte Hornets and Clippers packed the paint against the Heat and limited its offense in the last two games.

That’s where Green comes in. If he were hitting his 3’s, the opposing defense would be forced to honor the threat of Green draining shots from beyond the arc and have to come out further to defend him. Instead, Green missed all seven of his 3-pointers in those games and didn’t do much to loosen up the defense.

Miami has just one game, Tuesday night’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, before that deadline. Green won’t be able to make a substantial case then, and the 47-game sample size will serve as the Heat’s best measure.

More heat: Three trades that would help the Miami Heat

Do the Heat trade for a new shooter or continue to count on Green and simply hope he finds his stroke? With the NBA trade deadline around the corner (Feb. 18) the Heat have to make a decision sooner rather than later.

Possible trade targets

  • Anthony Morrow, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder – One of the better 3-point shooters in the game but consistently can’t find playing time due to his poor defense.
  • Courtney Lee, guard, Memphis Grizzlies – Classic 3-and-D shooting guard who isn’t as good as a 3-point shooter as some would suggest, but could be available.
  • Gary Neal, guard, Washington Wizards – A nice backup guard but, like Green, rather streaky.
  • Randy Foye, guard, Denver Nuggets – A career 37 percent 3-point shooter but struggling this season (28.3 percent).
  • Ben McLemore, guard, Sacramento Kings – Just a couple of years removed from being a lottery pick, the Kings could be looking to shake things up.
  • Omri Casspi, forward, Sacramento Kings – One of the surprises on the Kings roster, Casspi can get hot from beyond the arc and is versatile enough to stay on the floor.
  • Ryan Anderson, forward, New Orleans Pelicans – One of the more sought after targets at the deadline, Anderson is the best player on this short list but won’t come cheap.