The Launching Pad: Haywood NEEDS to Play More, Rozier C&S 3pt, Spacing, Doubles & Full Court Press

Insight3 months ago11 min readJohn Jablonka

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Here’s this week’s Launching Pad — a weekly round-up where you’ll get everything that you need to know about what happened with the Miami Heat. Everything here will bring you up to speed with all of the games and news you missed by expanding on all of that through deep dives, stats, discussions, analysis, and film breakdown.

Great start to the week, bad finish to the week. The Heat couldn’t take care of business at the end to pull them out of the play-in range and find themselves back in it.

For this week’s Launching Pad!

  • Looking at Haywood Highsmith’s recent stretch
  • Terry Rozier’s catch-and-shoot 3s
  • The team’s (and Adebayo’s) defensive intensity
  • Spacing continues to be an issue
  • Butler and Adebayo getting doubled
  • Full court press

Games from the week

  • 105-109 loss vs Philadelphia 76ers
  • 109-99 win vs New York Knicks
  • 119-107 win vs Washington Wizards
  • 142-82 win vs Portland Trail Blazers

Stats from the week, Per Cleaning the Glass

  • Offensive rating: 120.6(107.4, 118.5, 114.9, 140.6)
  • Defensive rating: 101.8(112.4, 108.8, 105.9, 81.2)
  • eFG%: 59.1% vs 51.3%
  • TOV%: 14.7% vs 16.7%
  • ORB%: 24.3% vs 22.5%
  • FTr: 21.4 vs 14.5

Haywood NEEDS to Play MORE

Let’s talk about Haywood Highsmith. In each season with the Heat, he’s found himself getting more reps, more playing, more opportunities, and he’s taken advantage of that by showing he’s a key piece on this team.

Looking at his journey, where he had to come from, and how his weaknesses stopped him from getting consistent playing time has been so fun to watch.

Here are some of his impact metrics:

Overall, the estimated plus-minus still has him as a negative player(mainly with his offense), but you can see the huge jumps each season. Just two years ago, he was practically right at the bottom of the league in impact. He was unplayable outside of garbage time. But slowly, he made enough improvements on both ends of the floor to be trending as near positive player. That’s why he’s also been playing more recently, too. He’s averaging 28.7 minutes per game in his last five.

And some fun stat about his playing time! The Heat are 5-1 when he plays 30+ min and 12-2 when he plays 27+. PLAY LOCKSMITH MORE!

A lot of those issues started almost entirely with his offense. He was just a non-factor there. He wasn’t a good enough shooter. He didn’t even take many shots. More importantly, he wasn’t willing to take them and hesitated a bunch.

That was actually an issue this season, earlier this year. There were times a couple of months ago when you could see his confidence wasn’t there and that kind of made him unplayable despite his defense.

But that hasn’t been the case recently. He’s been looking far more confident and has been shooting with no hesitation like he’s Klay Thompson on a heater — the result? He’s averaging 14.8 points 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, shooting 66.6% on 4.5 3pt in his last six games. These are his 3pt games: 4/4, 3/3, 5/6, 2/6, 2/4, 2/4.

It doesn’t matter what situation he’s in. He’s chucking it up. That has shown this week mainly in transition. He’s letting it fly. At the 14s mark, he’s running a pick and pop and going right into a triple. Then the last clip, just took GUTS. To take a contested shot, late in the tie game, in the clutch is something I never thought I’d see from Highsmith. That is the difference maker in his offensive game and it all starts with just his confidence. His confidence as a shooter is what will give him these minutes.

This is the confidence I love to see:

One thing about his 3s compared to someone like PJ Tucker(who has been his comparison) is how he moves to get his 3s. That is what I love the most:

Look at his constant movement, just running around the perimeter getting himself open. That’s what a good shooter does. He’s finding the gaps to get those looks. Also, those baseline relocations are too good when it comes to him getting those corner 3s. That’s how you exploit a defense that isn’t paying attention.

Speaking of his baseline cuts:

Another sign of a great off-ball player. That’s one of his main ways of getting points inside. In that six-game stretch, he’s shooting 17-for-29 from 2pt(58%), that’s including 12-for-17 at the rim. Him just knowing when and how to cut has been so good for the offense. He’s one of the few players who has consistently been moving along the baseline for those easy shots near the rim.

Outside of that, one other thing that stood out(in the Knicks game) is being used as a screener:

This was more about hunting Bojan Bogdanovic, but a good thing to note is Highsmith being able to be used like this. He’s made a good decision on the pop and beat the closeout for a kick. And on the other, made a short roll decision on the kick to Love(though the pass could’ve been better). It will be interesting to see if they use him as a screener more.

Finally with his offense, I think this comes down to confidence because look at him beating those closeouts comfortably to the rim:

If he can be relocating for 3s, being a pop threat, draw that kind of closeouts, and now have the confidence to put the ball down and get to the rim? That is just huge for him on the offensive end. That is an impactful player.

But this is all just offense. As good as that’s been and how big of an improvement he’s made that lets him stay on the court, it’s his defense that is spot on:

This is where he makes his mark on the game. I can never get enough of his defense. He’s also tasked with several responsibilities — off-ball defender helping, digging at the nail, rotating at the rim, chasing guys around(did a good job vs Bojan), or locking down 1v1(like he did vs Jalen Brunson). But then he’s also causing havoc in the zone defense:

He’s slowly, but surely rounding himself as one of the highly impactful 2-way rotational players.

Rozier’s Catch & Shoot 3s!

So, Rozier is shooting 55.6% from 3pt in his last four games! He went 6/10, 5/11, 8/11, and 6/13. Rozier is finally going back to his usual shooting.

But there’s a difference in how he’s been getting those 3s and those are the exact shots that he’s been good at for his career. I’ve talked about this before when it comes to his shooting splits off the catch and off the dribble.

Here are his catch-and-shoot %s over the years(starting with 2023)

  • 33.8% → 38.9% → 43.3% → 45.7% → 37.1% → 40.3%

Outside of this and last year, he’s been either a good C&S shooter or simply elite. That’s where we see the shift.

Since coming to the Heat until the All-Star break, he shot 28.6% on 2.8 C&S 3s. Post All-Star break until the Blazers game, that jumped to 30.8% on 2.6. And in the last four games, that JUMPED to 64.0% on 6.3.

The percentage is obviously wild and that’s going to drop but it’s the volume that stands out. That’s exactly what you want to see from him:

A lot of his 3s come from early offense and in transition. That’s great, love to see that. But there’s also an emphasis on him coming off screens and going to work off-ball. He’s been coming off plenty of pindowns, and has done a good job relocating and constantly being on the move when the defense isn’t watching him.

Check the clip at 55s mark. He’s setting a backscreen for Butler then comes off a pindown from Duncan. That’s elite off-ball stuff from him. And in the following clip, he’s setting a ghost screen! That’s another great stuff without the ball.

Xs & Os

In this section of the Launching Pad, we’re going through a bunch of film. Everything else that just stood out to me on the court. It’s breaking some of the key takeaways from the games, it’s seeing a trend, particular actions, or highlighting individual plays that are fun.

I talked about their defense in last week’s Launching Pad and their defense continues to impress me.

Just look at the intensity, the activity, everyone making rotations, and everyone being active. There have been so many good defensive possessions with everyone going to work and making the offense WORK.

Fun stat! The Heat are now 10th in deflections post-All-Star break.

That also includes Adebayo doing Adebayo things:

Some of the clips include:

  • 1v1 defense vs Brunson
  • Great anticipation in the passing lanes
  • Deterring shots at the rim
  • Defending drives well and recovering on closeouts

There’s got to be something done about the spacing:

That was an issue against the 76ers(and also an issue against any good defensive teams). Far too many times, the defensive big is helping off someone and completely taking out actions of being effective. Joel Embiid was doing everything to roam around the paint. The 76ers were switching off-ball to make sure he can stay there.

A lot of the time, that was Embiid helping off Adebayo. That will continue to be an issue. And that takes your best player out of the game. Butler was at times trying to hunt Kyle Lowry in isolation but some of those plays quickly stopped because he saw bodies roaming around early.

Related to this, is how they’ve been handling doubles:

That was the case against the Wizards mainly, where any Butler and Adebayo isolations were getting quickly doubled. I don’t feel like the Heat does a good job at attacking those most of the time. That still goes back to the spacing. It’s easy to double Butler in the post when guys are already in the paint standing around. That’s been an issue all year round(even last year).

Finally, I was reading Mo Dakhil’s piece on selective pressing. He talked about how pressing hasn’t been a thing for the most part, but can be very advantageous if used in bursts correctly — hello, Miami!

I’ve been loving the more frequent use of the full-court press from Miami. I feel like they’ve done an excellent job at picking times to do well. It’s usually done after a free throw or at times, any time they just need a boost defensively. There have been plenty of times where this kind of press gave them a momentum shift(which happened literally against the 76ers)

And that’s it for this week’s Launching Pad!