Saturday, November 17, 2012

The 2012-13 Heat: Pick Your Poison

A lot of what the Heat have been running this year is really simple.  They are so effective because of LeBron James and the multitude of shooters.  Think about it, every player the Heat trot out on a regular basis can hit an 18-footer and the majority can step outside for three.  The Heat have been using the threat of James and the sheer number of shooters to run some nearly unstoppable sets.  Here I break down one of them.

Norris Cole enters the ball to James at the high post and begins to cut to the corner.   Notice the floor spacing.  The lane is almost completely open.  If Jordan Hamilton (in the nearside corner) chooses to help on a potential James drive he's leaving deadeye Mike Miller (not visible) alone in the corner.

This is where the fun begins.  On the far side, Shane Battier begins to take a screen from Norris Cole. If Andre Iguodala goes under the screen, Battier goes over.  If Iggy goes over, Battier goes under.  And if Iguodala overpursues, Battier can just pop right back out for an open three.  Battier knows that if he can free himself, James will find him for an easy basket.  On the other side of the court, Chris Bosh trots over from the elbow to set a little pindown screen for Mike Miller.

Battier goes over the screen, but Iguodala lives up to his moniker as one of the best defenders in the League not letting Battier free himself.  Meanwhile, Mike Miller is coming around on a curl, but is also defended well.

So this is what usually happens when all the options are covered.  The best player on the team ISOs on top usually ends up with a fall-away 20 footer.

But wait!  A simple back screen is here to save the day.  It blows my mind how easy this is to execute.  Most teams expect a simple ISO and are unprepared in this situation.  Wouldn't any team rather have a three point specialist stepping into a wide open shot than their star taking a stare-down jump shot?  Just another reason why the Heat are the unquestioned title favorite and team to beat.   

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