The Launching Pad: Bam’s Mid-Range, What’s Going on with Herro?

Insight2 months ago9 min readJohn Jablonka

Hi, and welcome back to our Miami Heat weekly round-up: The Launching Pad! Each week, I’ll be going over key observations and trends, breaking down some film, and giving my overall thoughts on the week. You can find all of it here, every Monday.

The Stats & Weekly Thoughts

This week was very Heat like. They managed to come back late vs the Boston Celtics, and they beat the Orlando Magic(who have been pretty good lately), but then they blew a lead to the Charlotte Hornets.

This is just how the Heat are and have been this season. They play down to the competition and make their life much harder than it should be. And it’s annoying to watch, especially when it’s one of the very few times that they play early enough for me to watch live — I want a good, enjoyable game to watch live just once!

I’ve tweeted about this recently that at this point even if the Heat were able to somehow scrape a win, especially against these subpar teams, it wouldn’t change how I feel about them.

We’re at a point in the season where you have a clear picture of what a team is and what they’re not. It’s been a big enough sample to know what each team’s good at, what they’re bad at, what their ceiling could be, and what else do they need to improve.

The Heat have been in 34 clutch games and that’s not good. Their record could easily change by a single possession or two. That’s the reason why their record isn’t as meaningful now.

I’ve seen some talk about their record being good since December, but that’s also been misleading:

This should matter this close to the deadline because they aren’t what that record says and there must be some changes being made to elevate this team into a contender.

Looking at some stats:

  • Record: 2-1 (W vs Bos, W vs Orl, L vs Cha)
  • Net Rating: +1.8 per Cleaning the Glass
  • Offensive Rating: 111.7
  • Defensive Rating: 109.9

Does Bam’s Mid-Range Translate to Good Offense?

Bam Adebayo’s offense and how that impacts the team is an interesting conversation because there are some games in that you can really feel it and force the defense to adjust. But then there are games where he hits his shots but it doesn’t translate enough to the offense.

He has developed and improved his mid-range significantly enough to turn a weakness into a clear strength. Per PBP Stats, he’s shooting 46.6% on 11.4 short mid-range attempts per 100 possessions. In addition to that, he’s shooting 41.4% on 3.1 pull-ups per game.

Per BBall-Index, he’s in the 93rd percentile in mid-range talent amongst 306 players with at least 500 minutes. He’d even rank 12th out of 32 shot creators with at least 500 minutes. That’s elite stuff.

We’ve seen him torch defenses when they go into a drop against him in the pick-and-roll:

Defenses can’t afford to drop back and give him that pocket of space anymore. But lately, defenses have adjusted to this by either sending help early or by packing the paint:

I’ve also talked about this adjustment in the previous Launching Pad, where the New Orleans Pelicans made a second-half adjustment to take that shot away.

I’m mentioning this again for two reasons. The first is that the Heat don’t have a reliable counter to the defenses packing the paint when they take that roll away to the point where he can’t get the ball, the offense stalls and you get poor possessions.

And the second reason is even if Adebayo gets the ball and manages to hit those mid-range one-on-one, the defenses are willing to live with that:

He was cooking from outside the rim but the defenses didn’t blink. They let him do just that. It’s those possessions that if you’re living off of, even if they’re makes, they won’t translate to good offense.

It will be interesting to see how the Heat counter the paint being packed or the early help on Adebayo’s roll because if defenses are able to take that away, I don’t know what the offense is going to look like.

What’s Going on with Herro?

After having, without a doubt, the best month of his career, Tyler Herro hasn’t been looking great in January.

In December, he averaged 24.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game on 61.9% true shooting, including 42.6% from deep on 9.8 3s. So far this month, he’s averaging 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists on 49.3% true shooting, and 30.1% on 7.3 3s.

Everything is down from last month. One reason for that could very well just be a shooting slump, which I do lean that way, I’m definitely not expecting him to hover around 30% for long.

Another reason is recovering from injuries must be bothering him. There have been many differences in how he gets his shots lately compared to last month, particularly with his pull-up shooting:

He’s taking almost double pull-up 2s than 3s. That has never happened this year, especially to this extent. The actual percentages are probably this low because he’s still recovering, but the drastic change in volume is interesting.

Herro taking this many 2s compared to the 3s is the main issue I’ve had with his offense last year. And so far this year, he trended in the right direction, which made him have a career month in December. But now, he just reverted back.

It’s also not just him going into more pull-up 2s that’s the issue. He’s been entirely reliant on his floaters(although he has been highly efficient with that shot).

This has been a trend, not only in this month but also for the year:

His rim attempts have been gradually decreasing throughout the year and it becomes more glaring shortly after he returns from injuries.

Did you know he has only attempted 15 shots at the rim in 10 games? He’s attempted more shots from 14ft to the 3pt line than at the rim.

The shooting percentages will most likely go back to normal once he recovers fully, but the change in shot diet has been strange.

Interesting Tidbits

In this week’s stretch, we’ve seen quite a bit of Adebayo on the court with no Herro, Jimmy Butler, or Kyle Lowry:

Erik Spoelstra decided to surround Adebayo with three undrafted guys and Victor Oladipo. Well, it hasn’t gone so well, especially on offense.

The worst part of that lineup is Adebayo isn’t involved… at all. He’s fifth in usage with those players. It just doesn’t make sense why you’d have a lineup like that and not have Adebayo involved. In the Magic game, there were many consecutive possessions where he didn’t even touch the ball — that shouldn’t happen.

What’s interesting though, this lineup has played together in 166 minutes before this week. In those minutes, they were +9.6 with a 116.0 offense and 106.4 defense. And the best part was Adebayo being first in usage, averaging 26.7 points per 75 possessions on 63.1% true shooting.

So, maybe that lineup does work?

The trade deadline is looming and there are so many ways that it can go.

Pat Riley and the front office could somehow pull off multiple trades that get them quality players to help them contend. It has happened many times before when Riley made something out of nothing. Or it could end up being one trade to get off Dewayne Dedmon and that will be it.

What’s worse I can’t say I’d be surprised at either option.

This team needs changes. It needs a starting 4 and a backup that could play the 5. I wouldn’t say they need to acquire an All-Star or make a big move, but they need to address the team’s current needs somehow.