Heat lead the league in this surprising, important stat

Even though they don't get to the rim much, the Miami Heat have found a way to get easy shots.
Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat
Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Miami Heat have slipped to 17th in offensive rating this season, but they are tops in the league when it comes to one key factor: Free-throw shooting.

Even though the Heat have been outscored by 3.1 points per game from the field, they’re a plus 3.9 at the free throw line, according to NBA.com’s John Schuhmann, who adds that Miami has even outscored its opponents by an average of 2.3 points from the line in the 11 games Butler has missed.

A big part of that is the growth of Bam Adebayo in this department. Adebayo has made getting to the line a priority and has improved his free-throw attempt average from 5.4 per game last season to 7.7 this season.

For Adebayo, getting to the line more means less wear and tear on his body and, obviously, more points.

“It’s easier on your body,” Adebayo said. “You get time to rest, get time to really get your thoughts together, being able to realize that we can get to a certain goal of shooting 40 free throws a game and doing that and staying consistent with it. 

Adebayo is making 78.1% of his foul shots.

“Being consistent and honestly just being aggressive, being assertive,” Adebayo said. “I feel like I’ve earned a lot of the respect from the referees where it’s like, ‘You’re not rookie Bam no more. We can give you a foul or two.’”

In addition to Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson are getting to the line more, too. Rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. is adding another 2.3 free-throw attempts per game.

As a team, the Heat are getting to the line on 28.2% of their possessions, up from 27% last season. They are making them at an 82.3% clip, good for the third-best mark in the league.

Because the Heat rank near the bottom of the league in shots at the rim, these foul shots are crucial in getting easy points.