Miami Heat Makes and Misses: Adebayo, Richardson and inconsistency

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 3: Bam Adebayo
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 3: Bam Adebayo /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 5: Goran Dragic /

Miss: Inconsistency

Without diving too far into roster construction or any future moves the Heat need to make, the concept of inconsistency plagued them this week particularly in games against Cleveland and New York, where they weren’t remotely competitive.

There is no specific inconsistency. It was inconsistent offense, defense, effort and overall execution that led to lopsided results in both games. With the Heat, often it feels like an avalanche of negativity. When one thing goes wrong, twelve wrongs are soon to follow. For a team that should have the veteran presence to block out the bad, this is a troubling sign.

Starting on offense, the Heat are in a difficult situation where they just cannot put enough scoring on the floor at one time, and defenses know it. At this point in his career, Justise Winslow’s shot is not respected as a legitimate threat, and the same can be said about James Johnson, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson. And as we saw in New York, that leads to a difficult offensive night.

The only player who can successfully move defenses is Wayne Ellington, and here he is doing that without even touching the ball.

Kelly Olynyk, who has also emerged as one of the Heat’s more creative offensive players, knows David West has to jump out on Ellington to prevent an easy three, so he keeps and goes in for the dunk. If any other player were in Ellington’s place, West would’ve bypassed helping out instead allowing the dribble handoff.

In essence, the offense won’t get ignited unless there are legitimate outside threats to respect. The Heat operate within the framework of a drive and kick offense, and if the drive is difficult, the kick will be even more difficult. Here is a fairly routine look.

A couple of bad outside looks with inefficiency at the rim (just 16-of-31 against the Knicks), and the Heat’s offense will fail to reach 100 points almost every time.

Defensively, the Heat are so far from their identity as a tough, disruptive defensive team. They offer very little resistance, particularly around the rim, and have moments where they completely lack basic defensive principles. Like here, where they forget to stop the ball altogether.

Stopping the ball on a fast break is an elementary part of defending a break and yet the Heat allowed Ramon Sessions to dribble all the way to the low block without any sort of pressure. These lapses are far too common, and are points that the Heat cannot afford to easily surrender.

Again, here is another complete lack of focus from Dion Waiters, who has no business sagging off of Courtney Lee, a proven shooter in this league. Josh Richardson and Bam Adebayo have the pick and roll covered, but Waiters sinks to help unnecessarily and gives Lee a wide open, in-rhythm jumper.

These moments are unfortunately all too common, and are just two of the many defensive issues. The Heat currently rank 15th in defensive rating this year (and are 25th in net rating) and particularly this week, we saw a complete breakdown in their fundamentals and their focus. Which culminates in utterly indescribable plays like this, where Doug McDermott somehow outruns the entire Heat team for an easy basket.

The Heat’s lopsided losses this week were caused by both inept offense and disconnected, lackluster defense. Enes Kanter had a career half against the Heat (18 points and 13 rebounds), while players like Courtney Lee, Ramon Sessions and Kevin Love all got anything and everything they wanted. There isn’t enough effort on the defensive end and there certainly isn’t any resistance, something the Heat hang their hats on every day.

If there is going to be any hope for this season, it is going to have to start on the defensive end as it always has for the Heat. If they have to continually play games into the 100’s or 110’s, the losses will continue to pile up.

Next: Miami Heat: Team needs to follow Dion Waiters' example and shoot

Heat Nation is hoping for a better week, this time around.