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Duncan Robinson’s evolution gives Miami Heat another dimension on offense

Duncan Robinson’s evolution gives Miami Heat another dimension on offense

Miami Heat guard Duncan Robinson has had his fair share of ups and downs in the NBA.

After going undrafted and becoming a key player in the 2020 NBA Finals, he got paid the big bucks and then was unplayable at times in the playoffs. Now, Robinson has once again emerged as a vital piece in Miami’s offense under Erik Spoelstra.

At 6-foot-7, Robinson can shoot the lights out. The threat of his shooting from beyond the arc stretches the defense out, allowing Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to operate from inside the paint.

However, over the past two seasons, Robinson was close to unplayable (especially in the postseason) as teams exploited his inability to put the ball on the floor by running him off the three-point line and attacking him on defense. 

Robinson made it a point in the offseason to develop his in-between game and how to attack closeouts off the catch (either getting to the rim or dishing to teammates). This work paid off, as Robinson is currently averaging a career-high 2.8 assists in addition to his 13.2 points and 40.6% shooting from deep.

By improving his ability to put the ball on the floor on dribble handoff actions – a staple of the Heat’s offense – Robinson is earning significant playing time again. He now makes it a point to find his rim-running teammates and make kick-out passes to the wings.

On Monday against the Sacramento Kings, this was on full display as Robinson dished out a career-best 11 assists as the Heat played without their main playmakers Butler, Terry Rozier and Tyler Herro Robinson’s previous career-high in assists was 7 (which he did four times -- three of which came this season). This is a testament to his incredible growth as a facilitator, and he deserves credit for correcting his biggest weakness.

Most of Robinson’s assists were from Adebayo’s dribble-handoff actions, finding him multiple times by going downhill and dropping it off in the paint. When Adebayo wasn’t available for the roll, Robinson kicked it out to Caleb Martin for a corner three. 

On these couple of possessions, Robinson connected with Kevin Love in another dribble handoff that flowed into a pick-and-pop three as well as finding Love on the run for a transition triple.

Robinson is giving Miami's offense a different look and an additional option. Rather than just shooting off of screens, he's looking to set up his teammates by picking his spots and playing at his own pace.

Gone are the days when teams can run Robinson off the three-point line because he can't attack closeouts, and that's great news for Miami come playoff time.

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