Ignite Afterburner: How Jae Crowder can most help Miami Heat title push

Jae Crowder #99 of the Miami Heat reacts towards a referee during the second half of an NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Jae Crowder #99 of the Miami Heat reacts towards a referee during the second half of an NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat are in a prime position to make a run at this year’s NBA title. Here is how Jae Crowder can most help the push toward that particular goal.

When the Miami Heat made the deal with the Memphis Grizzlies near the NBA Trade deadline, the headlines made you believe that landing Andre Iguodala was the centerpiece of that deal. WhleIggy was thought to be the main get, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill came along as wing defenders and/or 3 & D guys for a Heat team that had struggled mightily at times in man to man defense.

As it turns out however, Crowder and Hill were pretty good pieces to get as well. As a matter of fact, Jae Crowder has been an invaluable piece of what the Miami Heat have been able to do since acquiring the trio.

While it has been prevalent and evident in multiple games since the deal went down, it was no more evident in the Miami Heat’s most recent win against the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Not only was Crowder a key in defending the beast that is the Greek Freak in Giannis Antetokounmpo, but he also was a key in the overall defensive performance that helped to hold their second-best player and second-leading scorer Khris Middleton to one of his worst performances this year.

On top of his defensive output, Crowder was a menace on the offensive end as well and especially from deep. He was unconscious from the outside, at one point lofting up a shot over the outstretched tree limbs that the Freak calls arms, only to see it fall through the bottom of the net effortlessly and without resistance like a hot knife through butter.

That brings us here though. What can Jae Crowder do to most help the Miami Heat’s second-half title push? The answer is pretty clear.

We know about his reputation as a hard-nosed, tough-minded, and defensive-oriented player. If he keeps bringing that mindset, along with his raw and athletic ability on that side of the ball, that will be more than enough to help accomplish the ultimate mission. Basically, he should look to continue to do what he has done since arriving in South Beach.

On the offensive side of the ball, it will again be to continue to provide more of the same. When you look deeper into the numbers for Crowder, he is averaging the most attempts from distance ever on a particular team across his career at 7.1 3-point attempts per game during his time with the Miami Heat. While that is only a 10 game sample, his 6.1 attempts per game across all 55 games he’s played this season for both Memphis and Miami rank second across his career as far as attempts per night.

To keep up the same correlation and across all 55 games he’s played this year, he is also averaging the second most (although technically third because he has two seasons of 2.2 makes per contest) amount of makes per contest that he has over his career with two per game. To dive deeper one more time and although only across 10 games with the Heat, Crowder is shooting 45 percent from distance, making 3.2 of 7.1 attempts per night.

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While his shooting may fall back closer to the mean or his averages, if he can stay somewhere near as dependable from distance as he has been, that is all he has to do. With his willingness to let it fly, his ability to knock them down, and his ability to make something else happen as a nice counter to his shooting for balance on offense, he should continue to be an excellent part of what the Miami Heat are doing this year. That’s all he has to do, keep being and doing him, that’s how he can most help the Miami Heat’s second-half title push.