Heat needs to get out in transition more than they are. Posted by Matt Moore
The Heat has its problems. Among them has been their dysfunctional half-court offense. The Heat simply don't operate well on that end of the floor yet. Players are often out of position, both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James seem to initiate the sets without full confidence in where their perimeter men are nor when to pull up and take jumpers versus attacking the rim, and in general the offense is out of sync. Except when the team is running. With James and Wade gunning up and down the floor with guards that work better in the open floor and the kind of athletes they employ, their transition game is sharp and effective.
According to Synergy Sports, the Heat shoot 62% in transition, which is really very good. But, they only run transition plays 12.8% of the time, which is 15th in the league. Think about that. The best team suited to get out and run the fast break only does it 13% of the time and that's 15th worst in the league. Despite being better suited to score in that position than any team in the league (well, the ones that play defense to any degree anyway), they simply don't get the ball out. They are a slow team.
How slow? Pace is a stat which estimates the number of possessions a team plays in per game. More possessions equals a faster game, or pace. The fastest team in the league currently is the Minnesota Timberwolves, which makes sense since their offensive system right now is akin to a flock of birds after a buckshot rings out. Meanwhile the Heat is the fourth slowest team in the league .
Here's the trick. Getting out in transition with the ball in the hands of one of two of the best players in the world is a pretty good plan. Thing is, that involves Erik Spoelstra loosening his grip on the offense. And as Spoelstra is cut from the Pat Riley cloth, that's just not likely to happen. Furthermore, considering James' sometimes questionable ability in decision making with new teammates, the issue gets more complicated.
The Heat need to get out and run, but that would mean a shift in power even more in the balance of James and Wade. And we're already pretty far down that road already.