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

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 03: Dion Waiters
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 03: Dion Waiters /

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters has never met a shot he didn’t want to take, and it may be time for the rest of the team to follow his example.

Shoot your shot. That’s the motto on Waiters Island. And now, Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters is hoping it catches on in South Florida too.

Because despite being loaded with talent, specifically when it comes to shooting the ball, the team has had its fair share of challenges so far this season. Currently 11-12 (tenth in the Eastern Conference), the Heat have been inconsistent. Not just in their performance, but also in their struggles.

While they started 2017-18 play unable to limit their turnovers, the problem quickly became falling apart in the third quarter, which in turn morphed into slow starts. And now? Now it seems shooters aren’t being aggressive enough.

"“Like I tell guys, like Justise [Winslow], you’ve got to be ready,” Waiters said. “You’ve got to shoot the ball and shoot the ball with confidence, too. Same with [Josh Richardson]. If you got it, shoot it. I tell Kelly Olynyk all the time — shoot the ball. That’s a luxury,”"

While the running joke is that the 25-year-old has never met a shot he didn’t want to take, he does have a point.

Confidence is key. And if you’ve got the green light, you may as well go. Especially given this team lives and dies by the 3-ball. Which means guys like Richardson, Wayne Ellington and Tyler Johnson need to step up their game.

"“There’s nothing that they’re telling them to do that we don’t think they can do, said James Johnson. “We know they’re great shooters and when we get them open like that, we need them shooting it.”"

Ironically, Waiters also hasn’t been attempting as many shots as he should. Which is something Miami is working on fixing. The tricky part lies in Waiters learning to balance both creating his own shots, and improving as a playmaker.

"“It’s tough,” Goran Dragic said. “The ball needs to move more… He needs to create his own shot a little bit more.”"

Definitely both areas the Philadelphia-native can stand to improve on. So far this year, Waiters is averaging 15.0 points a game, on 39.0 percent shooting from the field and 31.1 percent from downtown. As for assists, he’s currently dishing out 3.7 per matchup.

When he’s hot, he’s hot. Take his 26-point performance against the Boston Celtics for example, which helped the Heat break their 16-game winning streak. On the other hand, he scored just four points in a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The main difference being he attempted 24 shots versus Boston, and just 10 the other night. Waiters is a volume shooter, and although sometimes the ball just won’t fall, his teammates could stand to take more shots themselves.

"“If there’s an open shot, they need to shoot with confidence,” said Dragic."

Next: The Miami Heat are in some serious need of consistency

It’s unlikely any member of the Heat will ever feel as good with a ball in their hands as Dion Waiters does, but here’s hoping at least some of his confidence will rub off.