Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Justise Winslow’s expanded role and more

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Kevin Durant /
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MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 30: James Johnson
MIAMI, FL – OCTOBER 30: James Johnson /

Make: Simplified Offense

After a tough night in Golden State where the Heat shot just 36 percent from the field, and turned the ball over 20 times en route to a blowout loss, Spoelstra vowed to simplify the offense for their next game in Phoenix. The result was a surge in scoring efficiency, as the Heat put 126 points on a bad Suns defense, and shot 53 percent including 12 3’s.

The Heat’s offensive principles are rooted in simple basketball philosophies. Movement and spacing are essential, but what the Heat have that many teams don’t is a willingless to allow all five positions to handle the ball and initiate the offense.

That dynamic approach arises in the pick and roll game, where they can space the floor and put defenses in tough matchup situations. One of those wrinkles was a James Johnson/ Dragic pick and roll where Dragic wisely slipped the screen, and was quick enough to evade any help defender.

A lineup with Wayne Ellington in it, as well as Kelly Olynyk, allow the Heat to space the floor. Defenders have to respect their shooting, opening up even more room for Dragic (a great finisher at the rim) to operate. This is a simple concept, but its effective when you have players who are connected and can anticipate a move like Dragic slipping the screen.

Again, spacing was the name of the game on the way to their best offensive output of the season, as a simple misdirection dribble handoff led to a wide open three for Wayne Ellington.

Spoelstra routinely employs simple actions he used to use with Ray Allen to get Ellington an open look, which for most other less-capable shooters would be classified as a contested look. All this play hinges on is a pair of solid screens from Johnson and Olynyk, and the ability for Ellington to get his shot off quicker than most.

Simple offense won’t carry the Heat through 82 games, but these principles should always be at the heart of their offensive attack. The turnovers will decrease (just 15 against Phoenix) and the points scored will rise.