NBA defense power rankings: Are the Miami Heat still elite?

Part of the Miami Heat's identity is defense. Here's how they fared on that end of the court this season, and why some statistics could be a sign of trouble later this season.

Miami Heat v Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages
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Opponent shooting

Nov 18, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jevon Carter (5) makes a three point
Nov 18, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Jevon Carter (5) makes a three point / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Heat remain in a relatively strong position regarding the number of points they are conceding per night, the field goal and 3-point percentage figures present much less of an enjoyable read for those connected to the organization.

Miami currently sits 20th in the NBA for opposition field goal percentage (47.1%), just 3.2% higher than crisis-ridden Washington who are registering the worst defending attempts in the league across multiple metrics. However, they are also limiting their opponents to one of the lowest amount of field goal attempts per game at 85.7.

The problem is how many of those they are conceding from beyond the arc on a nightly basis. Per game, their opponents are taking 36.4 3-point attempts and making them at a 37.7% rate.

Alarmingly, this percentage ranks 24th across the NBA, alongside the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies, Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs, whose struggles have been well-documented this year.

Spoelstra-and-co have much work to do to turn this figure on its head.