The Launching Pad: Is There a Conversation to Have with Jaquez and Herro?

News3 months ago12 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.

The Heat You Missed!

This was an interesting week. The Heat were looking to extend their win streak after a great win in Chicago and defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers without Bam Adebayo. Except instead of extending their winning streak, they decided to drop three straight before getting back on track against the Indiana Pacers.

Each game was a very different one. In each game, there was a different starting five and a closing five.

Before diving into the key points from each game, here are the key stats from this week alone:

  • -4.6 net rating per Cleaning the Glass(23rd in this span)
  • 116.4 offensive rating
  • 121.0 defensive rating
  • 53.5 points in the paint
  • 58.0 points in the paint allowed

Vs New York Knicks

This was one hell of a game from the Miami Heat through three quarters. Through 36 minutes, they were showing how good they can be. They played to their strengths and executed to perfection.

The biggest story was with their defense. That’s how they were winning this game. Before the fourth, the Knicks only had a 23% offensive rebound and had a 20% turnover — both numbers were one of the highest for the team.

That was the key question coming into the game. Who was going to win their game. The Knicks are known to be safe with the ball, keeping their TOV% low — they’re currently eighth. As well as crashing the board like no one else where they’re second. Yet, the Heat were able to completely take them out of their game. They took their strengths away and capitalised on them

That was until everything that went right for them, went away in the fourth. This was one of the worst fourth quarter execution I’ve seen out of any team — even the announcers were confused why the Heat were doing what they were doing.

Their half court defense started off decent. There weren’t many issues there. The issues started once they got their stops and their approach on offense. Instead of pushing off misses, everyone slowed everything down. It was walking up to the half court. Once they got over, it was holding the ball before getting into the first action. Once they got into their first action, it was more holding the ball until the late clock and a bad shot coming out of it.

Rinse and repeat. That continued until the Knicks were killing the Heat in the same way they hurt the Knicks in the previous quarter. Off a miss, just run and get easier looks. The Heat’s defense in general suffered because they were constantly put into transition defense. You can’t set your defense if you can never score.

That was the story of how they blew it to the Knicks.

Vs Brooklyn Nets

There wasn’t much to takeaway from this game. A very short handed team with the Heat missing both Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. They were lucky enough to be where they were throughout this game.

The only upside was how both Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr looked. With the short handed team, they needed all of the scoring that they can get. It was a great sign to see Martin go off for 22 points on 8-for-14 from 2pt, 1-for-4 from 3pt, and 3-for-3 from free throw.

But it was Jaquez that impressed me the most with everything he did where he finished with 18 points, but it was how he got them:

It was attacking in isolations against great defenders. Getting to the paint to his spots with ease and hitting open 3s when needed.

Vs Milwaukee Bucks

This was a game. It was unfortunate that they lost in the end but to be in this game and to do it the way they did without Butler was fun to see.

They had a slow start, which kind of showed that this was going to be a long night. But that changed quickly!

The Heat still ended up having a 124.0 offensive rating for the night and had 62(!) points in the paint against the Bucks.

Their offense turned around once they started to push pace. That’s how they got easier looks that included Kyle Lowry driving to the paint, Duncan Robinson drilling 3s in transition, and generating many open 3s.

Then they followed that up with the third best quarter at the time with 160.0 offensive rating going 12-for-17 from 2pt, 3-for-4 from 3pt, and 7-for-12 from free throw, whilst adding zero turnovers.

A lot of it started with Jaquez. He was impressive — taking guys off the dribble like it was nothing, getting to his spots with ease, and doing a good job creating for others.

The disappointing part of the game came on defense. That wasn’t good — poor point of attack defense vs drives. The Bucks were getting anything there, especially at the rim where they went 22-for-27 there. Their transition defense continues to hurt them. But it was also their screen navigation that hurt them with giving up open 3s or allowing drives, which forced help, which forced open 3s.

Vs Indiana Pacers

THIS WAS A GAME UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’D SEE FROM THE HEAT.

It was interesting to see how the game was going to turn out with both teams playing a whole different kind of basketball. It’s literally as if they play a different sport with how they approach things on both ends.

Somehow, though, it ended with the Heat beating the Pacers in their own game. The Pacers are going to push. They’re going to push a bit more. And then they will still push even more. Whether that’s off a miss or a make, if you’re not back on defense quickly, they already scored.

Their offense was great. The high pace meant everyone was eating. Six players were in double digits and it was a well rounded offense.

Though there was a stretch where Butler needed to take over and that he did. In the third, he ended up with 16 points getting almost all of the points in isolation and post ups by drawing fouls. That was a stretch where Butler went to work.

That kept them in the game. They were still down in the fourth and that changed in a blink of an eye. That’s where they beat the Pacers at their game. The Pacers were hit with some unfortunate luck when it comes to 3pt shooting and that sparked the Heat to run.

This was the complete opposite of what they did against the Knicks. They had a 10.7 pace WITH Butler on! I never seen the Heat run that much and look how it paid off. That’s how they were able to gain the lead and never look back.

What’s Been Heating Up

So, there was one particular thing that sparked a conversation on Twitter.

After the Bucks game, I asked a question how long until the conversation where Jaime Jaquez Jr is a better and more impactful player than Tyler Herro becomes a thing.

Oh, boy, that caused an outrage. I understand that it’s very early and premature. I don’t think we’re there… just yet. This has been a small sample size with Jaquez. Herro has proven more, has faced better defenses, has shown a lot of great stuff, and just overall there’s a bigger sample of seeing his game

But outside of those concerns, what Jaquez has been doing, I can definitely see why this can be a genuine conversation by the end of the year.

I recently went through a whole bunch of things that Jaquez does well. Everything he does well is everything that you’d want from a guy in his role.

The conversation around Herro and Jaquez for me comes down to what I personally value more and what I believe to be more important in given roles.

The main thing right at the top is rim pressure. That’s something that Jaquez has no issue with at the moment. That’s his best strength that he’s able to do through various ways — whether it’s beating closeouts, attacking in post ups, in isolations, and drives. He can get to the rim and that in itself raises a ceiling for the player, especially when they can do that at a high level.

What he’s shown so far in that department is amazing, not even just for a rookie. He’s taking solid defenders off the dribble like it’s nothing. He’s running the pick-and-roll getting to the rim with ease. He’s able to back down guys in the post to get to his spots and is able to now draw defenses to make reads.

That kind of rim pressure adds so much value. He’s shown that even when he himself isn’t scoring, he’s still able to either take guys off the dribble or attack closeouts so well that he collapses the defense to then continue the advantage with the drive and kick.

That to me has more value than what an elite shooter can do or if a player may have better on-ball creation.

Herro is definitely a better PnR player. He’s tiers above as a better shooter period. He’s a better passer. He may be a better ball handler and “creating” a shot but that matters less when you consider the shot he’s creating.

It may seem very simplistic, but it’s that difference in rim pressure that does the heavy lifting for Jaquez. There’s way too much value in being good at that skill that offers more than being good at other things.

That’s also not considering Jaquez other strengths. His passing has been getting better as the season goes. He’s been making so many better reads. He’s been elite as a catch-and-shoot guy. He’s also been showing up on defense(though I’m not there yet that he’s a clear positive yet)

Although this might be premature, I don’t think it’s that wild to think that this can be a thing as the season goes on.

Things That Caught My Eye

I’ve been loving what I’m seeing from Lowry. In the last five games, he’s averaging 20 points per 75 possessions on 69.4% eFG and 69.8% TS with an 18.2% usage. He’s shooting 57.1% from 2pt and 51.5% from 3pt!

He’s had an impressive week. This is all they need from Lowry. Be more aggressive to score. He’s even upped his drives to eight per game! That’s wild for Lowry. He’s taking 2.6 shots there and 4.4 passes. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do.

Continuing with positives on offense, both Martin and Josh Richardson have been looking much better on that end. Both are in double digits scoring but are struggling from 3pt but they make up for it with their great 2pt shooting. That’s good to see. Their shooting will probably be streaky, but as long as they’re taking the right shots, aren’t forcing anything and make up for it by getting easier shots around the paint, then that’s great.

Did you know that Robinson is shooting 44.2% from 3pt on 7.1 attempts? He’s almost at his 2020 efficiency and volume. This is incredible stuff.