One Team, One Stat: From the corners in Miami
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann gets you ready for the 2016-17 season with a key stat for each team in the league and shows you why it matters. Today, we look at the Miami Heat, who put themselves in the corner.
39 percent of the Miami Heat’s 3-point attempts last season came from the corners, the highest rate in the league by a wide margin.
That in itself is good math. The league shoots about four percentage points better from the corners than on 3-pointers from around the arc.
The Heat shot below the league average from both areas, but the corner 3s still yielded about an extra point per 10 attempts. They shot 35.8 percent on corner threes (though much better from the right corner than the left) and 32.7 percent from around the arc.
They took 39 percent of their threes from the corners, while no other team took even 33 percent. But the Heat still ranked just 12th in total corner threes, because only three teams took a lower percentage of their total shots from 3-point range last season.
The Charlotte Hornets were the most improved offensive team in the league because they shot better and much more often from 3-point range. The Heat, meanwhile, were the most improved offensive team from before the All-Star break (101.4 points scored per 100 possessions, 24th in the league) to after it (109.0, sixth). But their improvement came from scoring more in the paint, not from beyond the arc.
They averaged 42.9 points in the paint before the break (14th in the league) to 52.8 (first) after it. They actually took fewer 3-pointers after replacing Chris Bosh with Joe Johnson in the starting lineup and Dwyane Wade went more than four months without making a 3-pointer.
There are 345 players who have attempted at least 1,000 3-pointers in their career and only one (Charles Barkley, 26.6 percent) has shot them worse than Wade (28.4 percent). Now, Wade is in Chicago and the Heat have replaced him with better shooters.
But the Heat will miss his mid-range game, his attacks, and his playmaking. Wade led the Heat with 55 assists on corner 3-pointers last season, and it will be difficult for them to maintain that league-leading corner three ratio without him.
10 MORE HEAT NOTES
Defensively, the Heat had the second biggest improvement in opponent effective field goal percentage, the second biggest improvement in defensive rebounding percentage, and the second biggest improvement in opponent free throw rate from ’14-15. But they had the second biggest drop-off in opponent turnover rate. Overall, they were the fourth most improved defensive team, allowing 2.3 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in ’14-15.
Allowed their opponents to take only 56.4 percent of their shots from the restricted area or 3-point range. That was the third lowest rate in the league and down from 61.6 percent in 2014-15. That decrease of 5.2 percent was the league’s biggest decrease.
The Heat allowed 98.2 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs, down from 101.5 in the regular season. That improvement was the best among the 16 playoff teams.
According to SportVU, 83.6 percent of the Heat’s 3-point attempts were catch-and-shoot, the highest rate in the league. (The league average was 73.2 percent.)
The NBA season is made up of 73 different 10-game stretches (Games 1-10, Games 2-11, Games 3-12, etc.). In 65 of those 73 stretches last season, the Heat won five, six or seven games.
Allowed 99.0 points per 100 possessions in 2,232 minutes with Justise Winslow on the floor and 104.9 in 1,734 minutes with him on the bench. That difference (5.9) was the ninth biggest among 265 players that logged at least 1,000 minutes for a single team last season.
Hassan Whiteside shot 74.4 percent in the restricted area, the second best mark among 131 players that took at least 200 shots there. Goran Dragic (65.3 percent) and Wade (64.8 percent) ranked third and sixth among guards.
Whiteside averaged 3.68 blocks per game, the highest average since Theo Ratliff averaged 3.74 in 2000-01. Opponents shot 46.9 percent at the rim when he was there to defend it, the 13th best mark among 60 players who defended at least five shots per game at the rim in at least 40 games.
Josh Richardson shot 53 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break, the best mark among players who attempted at least 75 post-break threes.
Luke Babbitt shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range last season, well above the league average, but down from 51.3 percent in ’14-15. That was the biggest drop-off in 3-point percentage among players with at least 100 attempts both years.
NBA TV’s Heat preview premieres at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
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