The Launching Pad: Rozier’s Increased Role & How Will Everything Fit With Everyone Back

Insight3 months ago9 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!

To start off the round-up, we’ll be going through some of the basketball stuff that happened in the games from the week. Whether it’s going through particular plays, focusing on a player, or breaking down the main reason why they won or lost a game. Key here is focusing on the Xs & Os from the week

Games from the week!

  • 126-120 win vs Utah Jazz
  • 118-110 win vs Detroit Pistons
  • 108-114 loss vs Dallas Mavericks

Stats from the week!

  • Offensive rating: 123.9 (131.3, 125.5, 114,9)
  • Defensive rating: 120.8 (126.3, 114.9, 121.3)
  • Net rating: +3.1 per Cleaning the Glass
  • eFG%: 59.1% vs 54.2%
  • TOV%: 9.5% vs 11.3%
  • ORB%: 22.0% vs 30.6%
  • FTr: 20.5 vs 22.5

We’ve been seeing a lot more Terry Rozier in the last two games where he’s taken 17 shots in each of the games. We’re seeing him a lot more on the ball, running a bunch of pick-and-rolls and taking control of the offense. It had both great possessions doing so and at times, tried too much or settled for tough shots.

As a whole, this has been a good thing. It gives them a legitimate option as another ball handler who is capable of running pick and rolls, getting downhill, and making good reads. Related to this, is that this is his strength. This is what he’s been good at and as a result, it puts other players in the right roles with the right responsibilities.

At the same time, though, this can’t be a high-volume thing. It has been for many different(valid reasons), but with how a lot of these possessions go down you can’t just rely on that as your offense.

That was all of Rozier’s offense against the Pistons:

  • Comes off a handoff, gets a drive, and forces up a tough-contested shot
  • Creates no advantages and just passes it to Adebayo who then settles for a long mid-range
  • Coming off a handoff and goes right into a tough contested jumper
  • Gets a drive baseline and dumps it off to Adebayo in traffic
  • Comes off the screen for another very quick contested jumper
  • Turns the corner and gets right to the rim
  • Settles for a tough isolation long jumper
  • Can’t get create anything and pass it off
  • Turns the corner and draws the defense up to open up Adebayo for the dump off dunk
  • Goes for another tight jumper
  • Passes to Adebayo but creates no advantages
  • Creates no advantages and passes it off
  • A bad pocket pass turnover
  • Another quick contested jumper
  • Turns the corner and gets to the rim

That’s six shots where it’s a contested, tough jumper. That’s six possessions where it’s not a great offensive process. Then there are possessions where he didn’t create any advantages and passed it off. That’s where you can’t rely on that kind of offense

But there are games like he had against the Mavericks where it’s much better:

Look how he got those points though. It wasn’t hitting those tough jumpers he took in the PNRs. It’s three straight isolation possessions where he’s able to create space for a good look or get to the rim. It’s also being used off ball as a screener then popping for 3pt. That’s the scoring burst that you want from Rozier and where’s good at. His offense shouldn’t be relying on those “hooper” shots.

He also did his job as a passer in the Mavericks game. This was one of the best games for him. They weren’t passes that just gave the player the ball and created no advantages. He had three(!) lob passes and a dumpoff. All of his assists in that video are at the rim. That’s exactly where he’s needed.

What’s Been Heating Up!

Moving on to the main part of the round-up, this is where we look at some of the main topics, news, narratives, stats… anything that is worth going into for the week and dig deeper into them.

Staying on the Rozier conversation, this is exactly what the offense needs in the starting five:

This is(kind of) how it’s meant to be. This is where both Butler and Rozier fit well together where they have a legitimate ball handler who can create his own shot, give that downhill threat, and make reads.

Rozier is already leading the team in assists at the rim per 100 possessions. He’s also second in assists for 3pt. And if imagine this with playoff Butler where he gets more of the touches, there is high potential for this. In a way that they haven’t had since Goran Dragic(though Rozier is nowhere near what they had with Dragic, but it’s as good as they’ll get).

Offensively, this has looked good in this context. This is what they lacked last year in the playoffs or in 2022. They didn’t have another primary ball handler like this.

With that said, right now it’s still going in the direction of “too much” Rozier, but that’s more on Butler still being in regular-season form and building this out.

That leads me to Tyler Herro. A big reason why this has been working is the fact that he’s been out. When they were all healthy before the All-Star break, all of the pick and rolls that you’re seeing Rozier run, that would’ve been Herro. All of that usage with Rozier goes to Herro. That changes how the shot distributions go and that makes question how they will integrate all of the players.

This is the true shooting attempts for the season:

  • Herro: 19 TSA per game
  • Adebayo: 17
  • Butler: 17
  • Rozier: 14

Compare that to the last five games(not counting the Thunder game):

  • Butler: 19
  • Adebayo: 17
  • Rozier: 15
  • Duncan 10

Now, let’s compare that to the eight games before the injuries where the top four played together:

  • Butler: 16
  • Herro: 15
  • Rozier: 13
  • Adebayo: 13

So, how do we integrate Herro’s 15 or so shots? That’s a lot of shots that don’t fit in so easily. Right now, Robinson is taking that place but his volume is low in the first place and he’s getting those shots differently. That’s where the fit with Herro kind of has me questioning things.

And that’s kind of where I don’t see the takes people have that the Heat really need Herro. They don’t need him chucking up 15+ shots. He’s had 15 games with 20+ shots. The Heat don’t need that. The Heat shouldn’t want anyone to have that kind of volume outside of Butler. I agree Herro helps and is needed, just not like this, especially with the starters.

The starters fit better with Rozier handling the ball more because he brings a different dynamic as a ball handler than Herro. They fit better because Robinson doesn’t take up 15 of the shots to himself. That’s where I struggle to see this current Herro with them unless we’re talking about a whole different idea of Herro, which does exist — in the 2022 playoffs, he was second on the team with 12 shots per game. That will do. That’s around what he did in the bubble too. That can work.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out for the rest of the season and how that will change in the playoffs because they are two very different places. Butler turning himself into a volume scorer changes everything for guys 2-15. That’s again what makes this whole thing at looking at the team and trying to take things away because almost everything we talk about is all in theory. They aren’t building habits or building an offense they’ll be seeing in the playoffs. Their offense in the playoffs is based on what we know Butler did in the past and in theory how others will now fit in. We haven’t seen that yet.

Things That Caught My Eye!

Finally, before finishing off the round up, here’s just a bunch of tidbits, stats, individual plays, and any little thing that I found interesting, shocking, encouraging, disappointing, or things to track

  • Butler’s isolations against the Mavericks:

A Butler isolation is one of the most effective ways to get the defense to do something… except that’s only true when Butler does look to attack. And a lot of the time, it’s clear that he’s not looking to do so. There are clear games where you can tell that’s looking to facilitate but that doesn’t end up being the best thing all the time. There are stretches where the defense says bet, go attack and we won’t send help. When they don’t send help and Butler is only looking to pass, it becomes very predictable

  • SPACING MATTERS:

Have a watch of some possessions from the Mavericks and look at the Heat’s spacing. Look at the defense helping off, guys cutting at the same time, and guys just being placed in spaces where it makes everything so cramped