12. Duncan Robinson
- Contract: 5 years / $90,000,000
- 2023-24 Salary: $18,000,000
The Heat's storyline this season has emphasized how much forward Duncan Robinson has improved, and the value he brings to the team. Robinson, who has been with the franchise for several years, holds the record for most three-pointers made in Heat history.
In today's NBA, sharpshooters like Robinson are highly sought after. Though Robinson struggled to live up to his contract over the past couple of regular seasons, last season's playoff run was particularly noteworthy for Robinson. He performed well when it mattered most, and it's where his redemption began. He has delivered some impressive shooting performances on the NBA's biggest stage. With key players Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo sidelined due to injuries, Robinson found himself back in the regular rotation.
Fast-forward to the current 2023-24 season, it's deja vu for Robinson. With Herro out for 18 straight games with an ankle injury, Robinson again assumed the starting shooting guard role and excelled, flashing some new skills as a playmaker and finisher around the rim.
Robinson is averaging career highs in points (15) and assists (3.1) in 29 minutes per game while shooting 49.7% from the field. He scored 21 points in the fourth quarter of Friday's win against the Hawks.
What makes Robinson more valuable now is his growth as a scorer. He is now attempting more two-point shots than ever before and has achieved the highest number of unassisted field goals in his career. As opposing teams focus on defending their three-point shots, Robinson has developed various strategies to create easy scoring opportunities within the arc.
Robinson's synergy with Adebayo in their two-man game has proven highly effective for the Heat. Whether he is orchestrating the pick-and-roll or swiftly receiving a handoff at the three-point line, the dilemma this creates for defenders—who must stick close to Robinson to prevent open outside shots—has opened up driving lanes to the basket, and he's capitalizing on these opportunities.
Robinson's exceptional performance has not been limited to his passing, feeding, cutting, and off-ball movement. Equally noteworthy is his improved defensive skills, as he has proven to be quite capable on that end of the court. It is evident that Duncan dedicated himself to honing his game off the court, and his hard work continues to yield positive results.
The stats below showcase Robinson's evolution from last season to this season, furthermore validating the case as to why he should be nominated as a candidate for the most improved player.
- Points: 6.4
- 3P%: 33
- 3s Made: 63
- Minutes: 631
- Points: 14.7
- 3P%: 44
- 3s Made: 77
- Minutes: 716
Duncan is no longer just the 3-point shooting specialist that he was known as from the start, he's morphed into a complete basketball player. Robinson is on the list for having the largest points per game increase in a season going from 6.4 to 14.7.
Throughout his six-year tenure with the Heat, he has consistently displayed exceptional professionalism, establishing himself as a true asset to the team since his rookie season in 2018-2019. Robinson has exemplified the notion of how to handle adversity, and a guy whose stay ready so you don't have to get ready mentality has paid off big time.
Regardless of his position within the team, be it as a temporary starter or a player off the bench, Duncan Robinson will undoubtedly play a crucial role in Miami's long-term plans. The conversation of doubt and skepticism surrounding his contract has disappeared, and deservedly so.