Cup of Joe: Reinforcements Have Arrived

Cup of Joe, Jae Crowder, Andre Iguodala
by Joe Beguiristain

As we rapidly approach the All-Star Break, the HEAT have found themselves amidst a three-game losing streak for the first time all season.

And like every team, Miami has had to deal with injuries of late. But when one of those guys on the injury report is named Jimmy Butler, things get rather arduous.

Luckily enough, reinforcements have arrived in Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. In particular, Iguodala and Crowder made some noise in their HEAT debuts against the Blazers on Sunday.

Let’s get right into what they did, shall we?

Making An Instant Impact

Ok, so, it’s not hard to figure out why Miami traded for Iguodala and Crowder in the first place. Due to their gritty approach and knack for winning plays (word to Coach Spo), both guys are a perfect fit for the organization.

And that really showed in Portland.

How so?

Well, Crowder knocked down five treys and exuded HEAT culture thanks to defending multiple guys, diving to the floor for loose balls and drawing a charge on Carmelo Anthony.

And when you put it all together, the 29-year-old recorded a double-double with 18 points, 11 boards, three assists, two steals, a block and a plus-nine rating.

“Besides shot making, I’m going to compete at a high level. Besides what happens on the offensive end, each night, I bring my hard hat and I compete for my teammates. And I put it all on the line,” Crowder said.

“You come here and you hear, ‘compete, compete, be a competitor’, and it just fits right in. Just all the little stuff that people don’t want to do in this league: dive on the loose balls, the rebounding, boxing out, it’s key in this organization.”

Of course, Iguodala also does all those little things that won’t necessarily show up in the box score. And on Sunday, the 36-year-old played hard-nosed defense and grabbed a number of offensive rebounds.

Goran Dragić knows what Iguodala’s all about.

“He’s an unbelievable player. Maybe he doesn’t put a lot in the stats, but when you watch, you can see how much little things he does for the team,” Dragić said. “He’s a very versatile defender who can play all five positions. And he’s a great player who can read the situation…get everybody involved and [run] the floor.”

Jones Jr. Finding The Range

We all know what Derrick Jones Jr. brings to the table defensively.

In addition to being a menace at the top of the zone, he also answers the challenge in man against the opposing team’s best offensive players.

But we need to start talking about his improved stroke from downtown.

Over the past six games, Jones Jr. has shot 10-of-19 from deep, with a vast majority of those makes coming off spot-up opportunities.

Above all else, Erik Spoelstra likes the work Jones Jr. has put in behind the scenes.

“Derrick has been much better. Each year, he’s learning what it means to become a pro, what it means to become consistent, what it means to really develop a work ethic and see results from putting in the time,” Spoelstra said. “And then ultimately what we want to do is have him learn what it means to become a real winner. And he’s on track for that.”

Long story short, teams better stop giving “Airplane Mode” room on the perimeter.

The Bam/Duncan Connection

It's no secret that Bam Adebayo’s ability to facilitate offense has been key for Miami this season.

And you know who’s benefited the most from that?

Duncan Robinson.

Now, Robinson has done his part by relentlessly moving off the ball and getting to his spots, but Adebayo finishes the job with effective dribble handoffs and screen assists.

When you crunch the numbers, 59 of Adebayo’s 254 assists this year have gone to Robinson. That’s the most he’s assisted any player, as Kendrick Nunn is the next closest at 47.

And per second spectrum, the Adebayo/Robinson handoff action has produced 1.308 points per possession.

That’s quite impressive.

Coach Spo has definitely taken notice of how Adebayo’s passing unlocks so much for the HEAT.

“He has a variety of different ways to help his teammates get open shots,” Spoelstra said. “Guys can cut; he can make those passes now. He can dribble handoff to people. He can just play out of the elbow or in the low-post and let actions develop and make easy passes to guys. That certainly adds to our offense and makes it probably a lot more dynamic if you’re preparing for us. Everybody is live when he has the ball.”

It’s always good to be live.

Until next time.

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