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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Rebounding

Nov 16, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA;  Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) grabs a rebound over Brooklyn
Nov 16, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Kevin Love (42) grabs a rebound over Brooklyn / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Regarding defensive rebounds, Miami's underlying statistics in this area of the court also do not paint a promising picture.

The Heat currently rank 24th in the league in overall defensive rebounding and 17th in defensive rebounding rate (a measure of how many available defensive rebounds a team secures).

Bam Adebayo remains Miami's best rebounder. The 26-year-old is continually dominating the glass on both ends of the court in his best start to an NBA season to date.

Second-chance points were a pain area for the Heat last season, but this season they rank among the median average. Currently, they are giving up 13.6 points from second-chance points in a concerted effort to win the possession battle.

As part of that, forcing opposition turnovers is non-negotiable. The Heat, as it stands, are forcing the fourth-highest amount of turnovers per game this season with an impressive 15.7, only behind the Magic, Clippers and Grizzlies. Therefore, opponents are posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.65 assists for every turnover -- a low mark that bodes well for Miami.

Still in the paint, the Heat were regularly out-produced in the paint last season. This season, the Heat have strengthened that area and giving up just 46.6 points in the paint per game, good for the eighth-best defensive mark in the NBA.

Next. next. NBA MVP power rankings: Does Bam Adebayo make the cut?. dark