The Miami Heat concluded their preseason games with a 110-104 defeat to the Rockets in Houston on Friday night. As the regular season is set to begin on October 25th against the Detroit Pistons at Kaseya Center, let’s take a look at what we have learned about the Heat this preseason.
1. Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson need to play together as much as possible
During their time in the Bubble, the Miami Heat surprised the rest of the league by using a two-man game between Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson. This involved dribble handoffs from Adebayo, a 22-year-old center in his second season, to Robinson, an unknown undrafted 3-point shooter.
Four seasons have passed since then, and the two-man game remains an important part of Miami’s offense. Adebayo and Robinson have developed their chemistry, added new moves, and even switched roles at times. Adebayo, now 26, is now one of the best screen-setters and passing big men in the league. Robinson, on the other hand, has improved his dribbling and passing skills as teams have become more aggressive at chasing him off the line.
During a recent preseason game against the Nets, Adebayo scored 14 points and had three assists in the first half, while Robinson missed five of his six 3-point attempts but had four assists, most of which were to Adebayo as he rolled to the basket. Erik Spoelstra, the Heat’s coach, praised Robinson’s passing skills, saying that he had worked hard to improve them.
Robinson struggled to make shots on a certain night, but he was still able to create a plus-15 impact during the game. This would have been impossible just a few years ago. Together, Adebayo and Robinson have developed a strong partnership that the Miami Heat will continue to rely on.
Last regular season, Robinson only assisted Bam 12 times. This was because he was barely on the court, enduring the worst shooting slump of his career. On most nights, he was benched, while Max Strus and Gabe Vincent earned bigger roles. However, Robinson refound his stroke during Miami’s Finals run and was among the Heat’s brightest contributors in the playoffs. He assisted Adebayo 12 times in the playoffs alone, reclaiming his spot in the rotation.
Now that Robinson is expected to be part of the nightly rotation again this season, the Heat will rely on his partnership with Adebayo even more. They have already developed a strong connection, with Bam dribbling to Duncan, pick-and-rolls, and other types of passes. However, teams are now scheming against Robinson, forcing him to go to the basket more. This has led to new kinds of passes, and the two of them continue to evolve and work on it together.
Spoelstra believes that the two of them are a great weapon for the team. They work on it, communicate about it, watch films together, and drill on it. The league is already taking notice of their action in the shootaround, and they are forcing the league to cover their action.