Miami Heat’s zone defense proving to be a useful tool right now

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra directs his team against the Phoenix Suns(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra directs his team against the Phoenix Suns(Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat are typically one of the most physical and defensively aggressive teams in the NBA. They have prided themselves on those types of things and that kind of work on the defensive side of the ball since their conception.

Even when the offense isn’t flowing or when the more finesse parts of their game aren’t going, they can always hang their hats on that. They are going to outwork the other side, they are going to be more aggressive than the other side, more physical, and they are going to, more often than not, be the best defensive team on the court.

Now, coming into this season needing to figure some things out with their personnel, their subsequent rotations, and all while dealing with a ton of injury thus far, they have relied on their zone defense a ton, specifically the 2-3 or some form of it.

The Miami Heat will always be one of the NBA’s hardest-working and most defensively tough teams. That’s no different now, though the execution may be.

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They’ve gone to it in past seasons, but have relied on it a ton more this year. And you know what, it’s been effective for them—or effective enough, at least.

Now, there are other factors that play into this, such as opponent tendencies and variance based on the particular defense deployed on any given possession.

However, if the Miami Heat are going to it a ton and enough to land them where they are, rating-wise, then you go with your best weapon, make the opposition figure that out time and time again, while you then let the chips fall where they may.

The Miami Heat will always rely on that side of the ball to get it done, it’s just that right now it’s in the form of a zone. Perhaps they’ll also find a way to bring their man-to-man defense up to speed as the season progress, which should coincide with consistent returning health to some of their top guys, namely Jimmy Butler.

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And regardless of which defense it is, as long as they can find success somewhere on that side of the ball, that’s all it’s really about.