Cup of Joe: Letting The Good Times Roll
While there are always ebbs and flows to a season, the HEAT have continued to let the good times roll entering the month of December.
Fresh off a gritty victory over the Nets on Sunday, Miami now leads all teams in true shooting percentage and is still ranked in the top third of the league in net rating, assist percentage and rebound percentage.
In other words, this is who they are at this point.
So, without further ado, let’s get into what you may have missed from the past two weeks.
Nunn Stays Making History
Simply put, Kendrick Nunn has had one heck of a start to his career.
After totaling the most points by an undrafted player through his first five games, Nunn continued his scoring prowess and became the first undrafted player to score 300-plus points in his first 19 games with his 11 points on Sunday.
“He’s a very serious guy about this game and his approach,” Erik Spoelstra said about Nunn. “He understands that this is a tremendous opportunity for him and our team. And he’s gone through a lot and overcome a lot to be able to get to this point, and he’s trying to take advantage of everything.”
Part of taking advantage of everything is playing well in your hometown. And Nunn did just that against the Bulls on Nov. 22, as he set the tone with 13 points in the first quarter and came through with a big-time drive and finish with Chicago threatening to make a comeback in the fourth.
All told, Nunn is shooting a team-high 55.1 percent on drives (minimum of four attempts per game) and 37.8 percent on catch-and-shoot treys.
It hasn’t been just about scoring, though.
Nunn has also worked hard to improve his playmaking skills.
“People understand that he’s a knockdown open shooter,” Spoelstra said. “And when he has the ball in his hands, he’s pretty dang efficient on pick-and-rolls and handoffs…he’s going through his quarterback reads, and all the players that have had success as ballhandlers and playmakers have to go through that at some point.”
Let’s take a look at some of his best quarterback reads from the past two weeks.
So…Nunn has a pretty good chance to became the first HEAT player to win rookie of the month since Josh Richardson in 2015-16.
Time will tell.
Dynamic Duo Off The Bench
While Nunn has been balling, Miami has another rookie who can flat out shoot the ball.
You may have heard of him. He goes by the name of Tyler Herro.
Seriously, though, the 19-year-old out of Kentucky has continued to display consistent shooting mechanics and impeccable footwork both on and off the ball.
As a result, he’s shooting 48.4 percent on catch-and-shoot threes and 45.0 percent on pull-up twos.
“He’s coming in playing with veteran guys as well, so we’re able to keep his role simple while his game is growing behind the scenes and his confidence and all the work that he is putting into player development,” Spoelstra said. “…he’s a heck of a shooter, particularly on the move and off the dribble when he gets stuck in certain circumstances. And that’s a skillset that he’s really developed with a lot of hours behind the scenes.”
In particular, Herro’s chemistry with Goran Dragić has certainly paid dividends. Thus far with the two on the floor, the HEAT have scored 110.7 points per 100 possessions, which is one of the highest totals for a two-man lineup on the team (minimum of 200 minutes played).
What’s more, 18 of Dragić’s 90 assists this season have gone to Herro.
This one was undoubtedly his best:
If you ask Dragić, he’ll say Herro’s aggressiveness is what made it all happen.
“Tyler is amazing,” the Slovenian said. “I mean, his confidence is high, and we want him to be aggressive because it makes our jobs so much easier.”
Herro feels like it’s a symbiotic relationship.
“Really, [Goran] teaches me something new every day, whether it’s with the ball, without the ball, defense, everything,” Herro said. “He’s been through it all. He’s an All-Star, so [I’m] just learning as much as I can. I’m blessed to have him and Jimmy on my side.”
Protecting Home Court
Thanks to guys like Herro and Dragić, Miami is one of just four teams that haven’t lost at home. Philly and Toronto are 9-0, while the HEAT are 8-0 and Boston is 7-0.
Coach Spo considers it a step in the right direction.
“We wanted to be very intentional about it from the very first day of training camp to be able to create a place [that] is not an easy place for teams to play, but you have to earn that,” Spoelstra said. “And you have to do it over and over and over and build consistency doing that before you build any kind of real reputation about it. But this is a step in the right direction, [and] guys are taking it to heart.”
Kelly Olynyk, who has picked up some stream of late, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“Good teams take care of their business at home. They make it a tough place to come play,” Olynyk said. “When teams come in here, we have to win. Plain and simple. When you get in the playoffs, you have to win on your home floor. So, it starts now, and we’ve gotten off to a good start, obviously, at home, and we want to keep that rolling.”
Odds and Ends
-One guy who’s been rolling recently is Duncan Robinson.
The 25-year-old out of Michigan is shooting an impressive 42.3 percent from deep on 6.5 attempts per game.
And although this has been an all-season thing, nothing quite touches his outing against the Cavs on Nov. 20 when he set franchise records for threes in a quarter and threes in a half.
After the game, Spoelstra lauded Robinson for his commitment to getting better.
“You couldn’t be more happy for a guy like Duncan because he puts in so much time,” Spoelstra said. “I see it day after day. He has a perseverance about him that he’ll continue to grind and work and put in the time knowing that there’s no guarantees to that. This has been steady improvement over the course of 14, 15 months.”
Hopefully we’ll be talking about more steady improvement in two weeks.
Until next time.