Coup Book Vol. 8: Erik Spoelstra’s Favorite Play, The Unwritten Miami Collective, and the Let It Fly Tariff

The Miami HEAT, still shorthanded largely through injury, is 20-13 and sits 4th in the Eastern Conference. Here’s what we noticed and noticed:


“My favorite game, by far, without a doubt, of the season and the game and everything.”

This is Erik Spoelstra speaking after Miami’s scathing victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. Here is the piece he is talking about:

“These guys might have competition for their entire careers and the rest of their lives, which can draw more accusations,” Spoelstra continued. “Who ended up being charged? “

“It’s not a double accusation. I got the charge, ”Lowry made sure to let everyone know about ten minutes later.

Miami drew six charges against the Pistons on Thursday, the most in a single game for any team in this or the past three seasons. They now have 54 over the year. Second place is Brooklyn with 27.

“We don’t have shot blockers, so we have to find ways to protect the paint,” Lowry said. “That’s why I’m taking the lead. I think it’s contagious, to help and to be in the right places and to sacrifice your body. A charge deflates for the opposing team.

Lowry leads both the team and the league with 19 charges taken this year. No one on the HEAT catches up with him, but the race for second place is hotly contested with Dedmon, Tucker, Strus and Vincent, all between five and seven.

“We are small,” Strus said. “We are undersized. We have guys who are just serious and in the right places at the right times. Kyle is generally a league leader in charge, and that’s a place I want to be, too. I love to take the lead.


You may have heard before that this season’s HEAT squad is filled with undrafted players. The league’s undrafted population is only growing with so many new players signed with hardship exemptions as regulars come in and out of health and safety protocols, but HEAT is still among the best in the league with eight. players (Robinson, Strus, Vincent, Martin, Dedmon, Yurtseven, Haslem and Garrett) who were not selected in the first two rounds of the draft.

What you might not know is how the production Miami gets from these players compares historically.

The 83 points Miami earned from undrafted players against the Orlando Magic on Dec. 17 was the second biggest this season (86, Houston) and in a tie five for eighth ever in a single game. The record for points not drafted is 94, set by the Indiana Pacers last May. HEAT got 27 points from Gabe Vincent and 32 from Max Strus in Orlando, each setting a new career high.

Miami also totaled 1,412 undrafted points this season, which is the sixth-highest number of all time in the first 33 games of the season. This season’s Houston Rockets, led by Christian Wood with 17 points per night, are currently the all-time leader in this category with 1,687 points. There’s a good chance they’ll break the undrafted points record in a season set by the 1999-2000 Orlando Magic, led by Darrell Armstrong, Chucky Atkins, John Amaechi, Bo Outlaw and Ben Wallace.

Undrafted players have always been kind of a market inefficiency just because it all depends on what you can do with them as a franchise. If you have the necessary combination of good scouting and good player development, there’s nothing stopping you from signing a player, all other teams in the league have an equal chance of making it to court. For teams like the HEAT that are used to trading their draft picks, especially second-round players, getting first or second round production from the free agent pool is very beneficial.

It’s a different game today than it used to be. When Udonis Haslem was not drafted in 2002, he went to play in France for a year while working on his conditioning before signing with Miami the following offseason. With the NBA G-League an increasingly viable option for players coming out or even bypassing college, and most NBA franchises tied to a single team, you now have teams signing players like Duncan Robinson after the draft. , or Strus and Vincent from other G-League teams, and fully integrating them into their programs. Summer League. Training camp. Off-season training. G-League. Two-way contracts. It’s much more of a true minor league system than it has ever been before, and as such records for undrafted players, scoring and otherwise, are increasingly likely to be broken.


Blitzing the pick-and-roll is more popular than ever, strangely enough. After more than half a decade of the league’s most popular covers focusing on keeping players off the spin and the ball in front, it was truly surprising how the average NBA team performed. more pick-and-rolls this season (3.1 per 100 possessions) than they did in 2013-14 (2.4 per 100), which goes as far back as follow-up data for the second spectrum. Granted, the blitz was already losing popularity by then with only Finals-related HEAT supporting its use, but there’s no doubt that teams like Portland and Minnesota have themselves fallen out of the trend. Miami led the league last season with about nine blitzes per 100 possessions, while the Blazers and Timberwolves are at that number today.

HEAT blitz use has declined this year, for a while, as Erik Spoelstra focused coverage on the Miami benches when Dewayne Dedmon was on the ground. But now, with Dedmon – who injured his knee and left Thursday’s game against Detroit – in place of an injured Bam Adebayo, they’re back to nine blitz for 100 themselves.

It is predictable when Spoelstra will use it. If a team relies heavily on a single, heavily used playmaker, especially one who threatens to withdraw from three behind a screen – Doncic, Curry, Lillard, Beal, Young, etc. – so the only surprise is that Miami doesn’t. don’t jump two on the ball and force more one-dimensional players to make plays.

Just as they didn’t waste time giving Doncic the All-Star treatment during his rookie year, Miami did the same with Cade Cunningham last week. The expected results unfolded as Cunningham took just four shots (Detroit missed Jerami Grant) and committed four turnovers. But for the most important part of the game, Cunningham was in the lead enough to play in cover and get over the weaker shooter.

“In the fourth quarter, they released themselves for open days,” Spoelstra said. “Cunningham made some good games with our traps, with our blitz, just intoxicating games for a young player.”

In the end, the HEAT lost this game because they couldn’t muster enough attacks, and aggressive cover was absolutely the right move given Detroit’s lack of playmakers and shooters (8 of 32 out of three in that one). But credit is due to the No.1 pick in the draft for adjusting on the fly and making two big plays on the stretch with Miami giving him blitz respect.


We already discussed Miami’s recent three-point rate hike earlier this week, so we don’t need to dwell on that, but in this article we have noted that Miami takes three points at one rate. historically high. So, for proper context, here are the top 10 teams since 2010 when it comes to the percentage of the team’s total field goals taken from beyond the arc:

1. Houston (2018-19): 51.9
2. Houston (2017-18): 50.2
3. Houston (2019-20): 50.1
4. Utah (2021-22): 49.1
5. Utah (2020-21): 48.8
6. Golden State (2021-22): 47.3
7. Houston (2016-17): 46.2
8. Minnesota (2021-22): 45.9
9. Houston (2020-21): 45.9
10. Dallas (2019-20): 45.7

In December 11 games since the fall of Adebayo, the HEAT is at 47% (this is a different version of the metric we used in the previous article, for historical purposes), so they would be right at # 8 on it. the wolves of this season.

If you’re curious, the league leader in the 1989-90 season was Cleveland at 12.2 percent. Ten years later, the Boston Celtics led the league at 25.2 percent, followed by the HEAT 2000-01 at 22.1 percent. Different times, those.


-HEAT has the lowest free throw rate in the league in December. This follows, given that they missed the only two players on the squad averaging over three free throws per game. Since reaching the line is a skill, it’s not fair to expect other players to suddenly commit more shooting faults just because the ball is more in their hands. This is not how it works. Something to keep in mind the next time there is a big free throw disparity with opponent Miami. Sure, there are missed calls in every game, but overall free throws aren’t part of the winning formula for this version of HEAT.

-Since November 1 – it’s not just an injury issue – Miami has fallen to 15th in offensive rebound percentage ( Over the same span, they allow teams to transition on live rebounds more often (30.5% of possessions) than any other team outside of Sacramento (33.4%). It’s still one of the more interesting statistical relationships to watch out for, and it’s pure cost-benefit analysis for Spoelstra. Obviously, there’s value on the added possessions that come with hovering around the league average on the offensive glass.

– No team in the league commits less live turnovers with 48.6% of Miami’s gifts leading to a save.

Udonis Haslem’s third seven-point quarter against Detroit was his first quarter since April 2019, and his second quarter since November 2015.

– Coming in December, the last time HEAT gave a green light three in the last 40 seconds of a game was Tyler Herro’s memorable shot against Philadelphia in December 2019. Miami now has two of those shots in the 10 last few days, with Gabe Vincent hitting the game winner against the 76ers and Max Strus hitting a corner against Detroit on Thursday.

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