The Miami HEAT are 9-11, No. 11 in the Eastern Conference with a Net Rating of -1.1, No. 21 in the NBA. They’re about to embark on another four-game road trip with two games against the Boston Celtics sandwiched in the middle. Here’s what we’ve been noting and noticing.
Have you ever noticed how Bam Adebayo rarely takes hook shots? He certainly can and has used them, but as a downhill, pick-and-roll player Adebayo has most often gravitated toward push shots and floaters to capitalize on momentum. Even when contact turns him away from the rim, or he initializes contact out of a post-up, he’s typically not going over one shoulder for a hook, preferring to keep two hands on the ball – which has the benefit of allowing him to pump fake and draw fouls – so he can get to a short jumper.
The fact that it’s a jumper he leans on at all is unusual. Most bigger players, non-Nikola Jokic division, don’t have the touch to shoot a regular jumper from such short range. Even Adebayo didn’t quite have that touch earlier in his career – he says playing HORSE and trying circus shots has helped him there – but now he’s reached the point where he can effectively pullup from anywhere in the paint with a normal follow through much in the same way Kevin Durant can.
For a player who sometimes struggles to score against elite length and rim protection, it’s a critical skill. Push shots and floaters are shots that you shoot going into a defender and going into size isn’t always a wise decision. With a jumper, Adebayo can both get elevation on the ball with two feet underneath him while also add some fade to get it over the top of