Grantland’s Zach Lowe has a long post today about the X’s and O’s of why the Miami Heat are so good this year.
In the post, Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew explains that there is one fundamental principle behind the Heat’s offensive explosion: unselfishness.
Here’s how he described it to Lowe:
“They really, and I underline really, move the ball. It just whips around the perimeter. You may be able to defend the initial thrust of the play, but then the ball will touch two or three other hands before they take a shot. You can see they are totally in tune with one another. They play so unselfishly.”
The narrative surrounding the Heat is that they are a top-down team. In 2010 they dissolved their team, brought in three stars and surrounded them with bargain spare parts. Miami became the model for a new way to build an NBA team — start from scratch, acquire multiple established stars, and fill out the rest of the roster with minimum-wage players.
But Drew is saying that the nature of the Heat’s success is their cohesiveness as a five-man unit. He’s saying they’re winning with a brand of hoops that favours the collective over the individual.
The eye test certainly backs this up (the number of open 3s they get is astonishing), and so do the stats.
Miami is 6th in the NBA in assist rate. So despite the fact that they have three great one-on-one scorers in LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, a relatively large percentage of their makes are assisted.
They also lead the league in overall shooting percentage and three-point shooting percentage, which implies that they’re getting open shots.
They’re also 1st in offensive efficiency, and score the 5th-most points per game despite playing the 9th-slowest pace.
To make it short, the reason the Heat are a juggernaut is because they have elite players playing within an unselfish, ball-movement-based offence.
This is what happens when a collection of great players plays fundamental basketball.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.