Miami Heat Offensive X Factor: Duncan Robinson

Duncan Robinson‘s NBA emergence has been an incredible story. Just two years ago he went undrafted before joining the Heat on a two-way contract. Now, he’s a key contributor on a 41-24 Miami Heat team preparing for a playoff run.

Robinson is 3rd on the team in minutes per game and has appeared in all 65 contests for the Heat. While Robinson is just the 5th highest scorer on the team, his impact goes far beyond points per game. Evidence of that lies in his team-leading +/- of 4.8. Simply put, the Miami Heat are a better team when Duncan Robinson is on the court.

Here, we break down what makes Duncan Robinson the Miami Heat offensive X-factor.

Elite Shooter

There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Duncan Robinson is the best 3PT specialist in the NBA today. It sounds crazy, given his short time in the league and his path to getting where he is today. The numbers support him having an argument, though, as does the film.

The video below is full of evidence. Specifically, watch the play Erik Spoelstra runs for Robinson at the 36-second mark.

Duncan Robinson shoots a very good 44.8% from deep. He needs little time to get set, and can get a quality attempt off from just about any play. Like many shooters, once he gets going, good luck slowing him down.

Robinson’s 450 catch and shoot 3PT attempts are most in the league by a wide margin (second is Davis Bertans at 397). His 45.8% success rate incredible. No one who has taken over 250 3PTA in catch-and-shoot situations matches his shooting percentage. In terms of points scored on catch and shoots, his 9.8 points per game are the top mark in the league. Incredibly, he’s nearly in double-digit scoring just off of these shots on a nightly basis. Not only is he effective here, but he’s also consistent on a nightly basis.

Duncan Robinson’s shot attempts are more interesting the deeper you look. He takes 8.2 3PTA’s per game compared to just 1.1 2PTA’s per game. Not only is he effective from deep; he’s effective from deep without forcing defenses to worry much about him inside the line. That means defenses are going to be comfortable playing him tight without the fear of consistent back door cuts that lead to baskets.

In total, Duncan Robinson scores 88.6% of his points from deep. 88.6%.

That brings a whole new meaning to the term ‘Three-point specialist’.

Duncan Robinson On vs Off

The Heat is outscored by opponents when two players are not on the court: Jimmy Butler(the league’s best trash talker?) and Duncan Robinson. For Butler, it’s a +/- of -0.2 per game. For Robinson, it’s a +/- of -1.6 per game.

So, why does Miami seemingly play there worst basketball when Robinson is on the bench? It’s all about there offensive efficiency.

First, his 3 point shooting doesn’t just help himself. It has often been said that three-point shooting is contagious, and when Robinson is on the court the team shoots an incredible 40.1%. On the other hand, when he is on the bench, they shoot just 34.9%.

Second, he forces defenses to stay on his hip. That means limited help to be sent at guys like Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. If help is sent, teams have to make sure they don’t rotate off Robinson. That leads to an oftentimes easy back door cut or someone left with too much space somewhere else.

Play Him

The Heat have three players average over five assists per game, all of which can score the ball. Goran Dragic, Adebayo, and Butler. That makes Robinson all the more important. Willing passers, but efficient scorers need shooters by their side. Robinson makes each and every Miami Heat player’s life easier.

As a result, Duncan Robinson holds the highest net rating of anyone in the Miami Heat rotation.

As the season resumption looms, Miami is looking to make a deep Eastern Conference run. To do that, Duncan Robinson will need to continue his breakout season.

Stats via 

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