Coup’s Notebook Vol. 60: Jaime Jaquez Jr. Delivers The Mail, Erik Spoelstra Shows His Respect, The World’s Fastest Possession, Duncan Robinson Bends The Floor And Miami’s Defense By Design

The Miami HEAT are 11-9, No. 7 in the Eastern Conference with a Net Raing of +1.3, No. 14 in the league. With this being In-Season Tournament week Miami only has two games in the next eight days, so this should be one of the quieter periods of the year. Here’s what we’ve been noting and noticing.


There are many unusual things about Jaime Jaquez Jr.’s game. His footwork. His poise. The way he can so casually finish in the paint through contact, even with a smooth double-clutch over a shotblocker. The fact that he’s shooting 39 percent from three is remarkable given his college numbers – even if they were better than they looked when you separated out catch-and-shoot opportunities. Hitting on a player with the No. 18 pick is a massive boon for a franchise living well within the luxury tax.

One of the items that has been most interesting in these early weeks is Jaquez Jr.’s post delivery system. It’s not that it wasn’t his game at UCLA. It’s that his game from UCLA has so thoroughly translated to the pros. Among the 43 players who have used at least 20 post-ups this season, Jaquez Jr. is second at an absurd 1.75 points-per-post (including assist opportunities), trailing only Kristaps Porzingis’ 1.77 on 32 opportunities.

What’s more, there’s a specific time for Jaquez post-ups. Ready to get annoyingly granular? In the first two minutes of the fourth quarter – when Jimmy Butler is typically resting on the bench, and with Tyler Herro out the bench hasn’t had its typical ballhandlers – Jaquez Jr. is tied for second-most post-ups with four, trailing only Jonathan Kuminga’s five. Jaquez Jr. should be in the lead with six, but the two that came early in the fourth Saturday against Indiana, despite being catches with his back to the basket, were logged as isolations.

On the first, Jaquez Jr. patiently waits for Duncan Robinson to clear the lane after a cut before he goes to work. He spins baseline, keeping his dribble alive to he can spin back toward middle to draw a foul.

Notebook 60: Jaime Post 1

Now here’s where things got interesting. On the very next possession, on the other side of the court, Jaquez Jr. gets the ball in similar position. He again waits for the geography of the floor to solidify, but this time Indiana brings help with T.J. McConnell sliding over. Jaquez Jr. calmly takes the pressure, waits for Orlando Robinson to cut middle and makes the simple play.

Notebook 60: Jaime Post 2

Nothing complicated, but we often talk about just how precious every single instance of drawing two defenders to the ball is in Miami and for a rookie wing to do so with the semi-lost Shinobi art of the post-up is noteworthy to say the least.

More on Jaquez Jr. coming soon, but in the meantime keep an eye on those first two minutes of the fourth quarter, at least while Herro is out. That’s been Jaime Time.


The third greatest respect a coach can give to an opposing guard is to refuse to give them the switches that they want. After Tyrese Haliburton spent most of the first half on Thursday torching both Miami’s drop coverages and their switches – Haliburton was wise enough to find another switch when he didn’t like the initial matchup – Erik Spoelstra went to the usual show-and-recover scheme to stall the ball without giving up a disadvantage.

Notebook 60: The Third Respect

This was a little hit or miss overall, as Haliburton still had time to read the coverage and comfortably find his rolling big man, leading to multiple short roll finds of Obi Toppin along the baseline.

The second greatest respect a coach can give to an opposing guard is to actively try and get the ball out of their hands, whether via a trap, a double or a hard blitz off a screen. Rather than showing out relatively flat on Haliburton as he did in the third quarter, later Kevin Love pushed up and trapped him along the sideline with Jimmy Butler.

Notebook 60: The Second Respect

The first greatest respect a coach can give to an opposing guard it to effectively say, ‘Once you give up the ball, you aren’t getting it back.’ And at various points in the second half, when it was appropriate, you could find HEAT defenders well past the three-point line stuck to Haliburton.

Notebook 60: The First Respect

Coaches will tell you about that respect, too.

“Haliburton reads the scheme and coverage probably as well as any player in this league,” Spoelstra said Thursday night. “He can process extremely fast and then find the weakness in the coverage. A lot of that was his assertiveness getting into the gaps. He was shooting that pocket three in between the scheme or just driving into the lane. He’s really improved and that put us in a lot of situations where we had to be physical, be disruptive and then utilize brain speed to scramble through several schemes. But that’s what great players force you to do.”

Then again, scoring 44 points on 28 shots with 10 assists is going to siphon respect out of most anyone. Spoelstra has long been selective about his praise – you can tell when he’s finding something nice to say versus echoing longer, schematic conversations he’s presumably had behind closed doors – and the way he spoke of Haliburton on Thursday wasn’t too short of the respect he put into words about Jalen Brunson following that Second Round series last year.


When you watch a lot of games one of the more fun things to track are the type of possessions that force coaches to take an immediate timeout. We’re not talking about plays that cap off an 8-0 or 10-2 run that would spur any coach to stop the game. This is about the plays that create an immediate reaction – usually they are defensive possessions that violate the principles of a given scheme. For Erik Spoelstra, those timeouts will come after one or two layups allowed in succession, or a particularly egregious stretch of transition defense.

For Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, such a possession happened late in the first quarter on Saturday. After Isaiah Jackson hit the second of his free-throws in a four-point game, Kevin Love whipped an outlet past past halfcourt to Caleb Martin, who jogged in for a layup.

Notebook 60: World's Fastest Score

Two things to notice here. First, Jimmy Butler was already the man back as he generally does on free-throws to establish early post position. The help man, then, was technically there, he just never helped. Second, Carlisle was settled into his seat on the bench and clearly not intending to call a timeout at that point having just come off a dead-ball situation. The defensive breakdown was so great – to be clear, Miami had some pretty poor defensive possessions themselves in the two-game Indiana series – he jumped up to interrupt play.

Tracking this sort of thing is not an exact science given how Second Spectrum’s filters work, but as best we can tell this was the first score this season, off a made free-throw, that took four seconds or less – excluding situations where the free-throw was followed up by a timeout, or the point guard rolled the ball up to halfcourt to keep the clock from starting. So, after a free throw at least, here’s your current league leader for fastest score of the year. Such are the gifts of Love’s outlet passes.


If Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo are on the floor together, they are going to run handoffs. Even as Robinson’s place in the rotation has been in flux after his first two breakout seasons, adjusted per 100 possessions the pair have never used fewer than eight handoffs in their minutes. Even though the volume is a tick lower this season as Robinson runs more direct pick-and-rolls, and the efficiency (1.09 points per possession) isn’t at the heights of 2019-20 (1.29 points-per), it has always been one of Miami’s most consistent actions for one specific reason – it’s their best way of drawing two defenders to the ball.

That’s become a little less true as time goes on as teams adjust their scouting reports, blitzing Tyler Herro, doubling Jimmy Butler and committing extra defenders to Adebayo’s rolls into the paint, but all of that tends to be opponent specific. In the Finals, the handoff was Miami’s only action that truly gave the Nuggets fits. When Robinson is healthy and in rhythm, there’s no quicker way to bend the defense out of shape than have him fly around an Adebayo handoff.

In turn, that’s how Miami gets Adebayo going downhill – Robinson has improved dramatically as a read-and-react playmaker able to automatically hit the pocket pass – where he can create.

Notebook 60: Ol' Reliable Handoff

Miami has never quite been able to fully realize Adebayo’s potential as a short-roll playmaker largely due to personnel, lineup fit and spacing inconsistencies – while Herro and Kyle Lowry will draw extra attention off screens when they’re hot, only a select few players draw that coverage every night and defenders will still cheat off some of Miami’s wings – and even though he short rolls twice as often as he did even two years ago, those lead to upper paint jumpers far more often than they do assist opportunities. Adebayo passes out of the short roll 1.6 times per 100 possessions as compared to 1.2 times per 100 in 2021-22, though the numbers are very good when it does happen and small gains are meaningful in that category, as Drew Eubanks, playing in Portland with Damian Lillard, at 2.9 short-roll passes per 100 was the highest rate last season.


Just as they’ve been in the past three seasons, Miami is once again Top 7 (Top 5 before Saturday’s game) in opponent turnover rate, generating giveaways 15.6 percent of the time. They’re No. 16 – No. 10 before Saturday – in Defensive Rating largely because of that, which is by design. Erik Spoelstra has built a disruptive scheme with loads of help and pressure. They should be forcing turnovers.

Miami also needs to be. If you remove all turnover possessions from their Defensive Rating, thus leaving you with the other two natural conclusions to a possession in shots and fouls, the HEAT are allowing 1.34 points-per-possession – the 1 to 30 range being 1.22 to 1.39 – which ranks No. 23 in the league. Again, this is generally consistent with the past few seasons so it’s not particularly alarming given the success this system has had. When you allow the fourth-most threes in the league, there’s going to be some good-luck bad-luck variance. Helping and playing the passing lanes is inherently a high-risk, high-reward prospect, with the reward being not just stops on one end but run outs and transition chances on the other.

The slight change we’ve seen this season, so far at least, is that opposing teams are getting to the rim a little more often than usual, up to 30.8 percent (Rank 10) of their total attempts, up from 29 percent (Rank 4) a season ago. That might not seem like much of a different, but considering those are shots that teams are making over 70 percent of the time even one percentage point increase can mean allowing another point and a half a night. And this is in a season where teams are shooting four percent fewer shots at the rim with Adebayo, still having one of his best individual rim protecting seasons (55.8 percent allowed), on the floor.

Long way to go with all of this, still. Early season can sometimes be skewed by the opponents you’ve been playing. Just worth keeping an eye on those rim numbers. Giving up threes at a high-volume is built into Miami’s defensive style, which is inducing the appropriate number of turnovers even though they’re strangely down at No. 23 in pick-six turnovers. Rim attempts, however, are not part of the design, though that’s largely an issue with non-Adebayo minutes.


-The 10 and-ones Miami allowed to Indiana on Thursday night are tied for the most an NBA team has given up in a single game in the past 10 seasons.

-After Thursday’s game, Indiana’s 36 paint field goals were tied for the most Miami had allowed in the last 10 seasons. Indiana then made 37 shots in the paint on Saturday.

-Thursday’s contest with Indiana was also the ninth time in the Jimmy Butler era that Miami had a free-throw rate (free-throws per field goal attempted) greater than .520.

-Going into Saturday’s match, Miami was 98-1 in games in which they posted an Offensive Rating of 129 or better. Logical, given that the HEAT have typically been a very good defensive team. An elite offensive game has almost always been an insta-win. The previous loss came last March to the Knicks when Julius Randle elastico’d the ball to himself for a fading game-winning three. The HEAT are now 98-2 in those games.

-Indiana’s Offensive Rating of 144.5, with both Bam Adebayo and Tyrese Haliburton sitting, is the third highest ever allowed by the HEAT franchise, with previous highs of 145.1 coming against Cleveland in 1991 and 149.4 last March to Brooklyn

-Kyle Lowry currently has the highest effective-field goal (61.2) and true-shooting (63.5) percentages combined with the lowest usage rate (13.5) of his career.

-After two consecutive nights with a GameScore above 26, via basketball-reference.com, this is Jimmy Butler’s 15th such streak of his HEAT tenure and tied for the third longest. His longest streak of 26+ games is seven, back in 2021, and last March he had one of six. For reference, the longest streak in the postseason, since 1983, is LeBron James in 2008 with a run of eight games, while Nikola Jokic had a run of six during the postseason last year. Michael Jordan’s longest playoff streak was also six.