Breaking Down the Sets Each Heat Player Benefits in Next to Kyle Lowry
Breaking Down the Sets Each Heat Player Benefits in Next to Kyle Lowry
Jun 18, 2024 11:14 AM

The Miami Heat have finally added the three-level scorer, point of attack defender, and facilitator that they’ve needed for some time now. Kyle Lowry is undoubtedly a major upgrade at the point guard position from an all-around perspective, and it starts with making guys better on the offensive end.

Yes, the starting point is always Bam Adebayo with this acquisition, but the truth is that every main player for Miami has a chance to really thrive on that end of the floor if they’re put in the correct spots. So, let’s hop right into the sets that they can really benefit with Lowry on the floor, and there’s no better place to start than Miami’s young centerpiece, Adebayo…

Bam Adebayo:

Although many have heard me talk about that coveted pocket pass for some time now, just know that isn’t an overstatement. A guy that can attract a blitz in the pick and roll with a respected jumper above the break, while being capable of passing through tight windows on the roll will do wonders for Adebayo.

No more forcing him to constantly catch in traffic and figure it out. It’s now about getting him in space and letting him go to work.

Let’s go through some of the clips above to get an idea of how this will work exactly. The first play just shows the downhill gravity that Lowry has on the attack, much like Jimmy Butler has displayed over the last two years in Miami.

Just like Aron Baynes does on this play, Adebayo would stop at the free throw line or elbow where he is most comfortable, then expand from there. Once Joel Embiid falls for the fake and gets up in the air, Baynes drifts inside for the easy lay-in.

Maybe a defense wouldn’t give Adebayo as much of a runway, but it’s definitely possible to just allow Lowry and Adebayo to build a PnR connection early on, and utilize each of their biggest strengths to their advantage.

The next two plays above show how Adebayo can receive the ball on the move, especially against drop. Lowry can pick that type of stuff apart, especially when a skilled and athletic player like Adebayo is the quick diver on these possessions. Hitting him early will be important once they get going a bit, since his mid-range jumper dropping to begin the season can really propel his effectiveness.

This is the combo that seems to be getting discussed the most, and there’s a reason. The sets may not look as complicated as others I’ll display next, but that’s the exact point: make it simple for him.

Jimmy Butler:

Of course the constant staple with Lowry and Jimmy Butler is their off-court connection, but is there a chance the chemistry on the floor could be stronger?

It’s definitely a possibility.

To state the obvious, the secondary attacking is a major deal when talking about the way the spacing may look to begin the season. Will there be moments where Butler is stationed on the weak-side corner or dunker-spot? For sure, but the way they can maximize the two together can go in a bunch of different directions.

Something I’ve mentioned many times in the past is that it’s not a coincidence that the Goran Dragic-Butler PnR was one of their most effective sets. Angling Butler to flow into a hard attack or hitting him on the short roll usually leads to good outcomes.

But there’s more layers to be added in Lowry-Butler actions. Looking at the first clip above, using Butler as a DHO guy at times with Lowry can definitely be one way of going about it. It allows Lowry to play to his strengths of shooting off the hand-off while Butler can score and play-make on the reception of the dive.

If there’s one thing we know about Butler, he loves the sprays once he gets under the basket, which isn’t always a good thing. But gathering eyes when he’s down there can lead to plenty of offense on the perimeter and truly maximize that “spacing.”

The second clip is an action that I believe we see a lot more of next season in Miami, especially after Lowry thrived in it with Toronto. It’s also the same set that another Heat player will be utilized in, except in a role reversal, but I’ll touch on that down the line.

Butler would be in the spot Gary Trent is in, grabbing the ball in the high post, which is where he does most of his damage as a play-maker anyway. After Lowry makes the pass, it turns into a pin-down for a wing triple, and this is where those “layers” come into play.

We’re going to see plenty of Lowry in an off-ball role next season, just due to the fact he is so comfortable in that spot. He shot 42% on catch and shoot threes this past season, and there’s a good chance that number could increase in a Heat system.

Although that play may be simple, this could turn into the points I made about Adebayo on the roll. If a blitz occurs after Butler feeds Lowry the ball, it’s Adebayo’s time to take advantage of the 4 on 3 on the back-side.

There’s obviously many more things I can go over in this space, but the consensus is that Lowry and Butler can be used in an endless amount of ways, and in my opinion, the fit should be seamless.

Duncan Robinson:

Part of me doesn’t even want to discuss the fit of Lowry and Duncan Robinson, just because there isn’t anybody in the NBA that wouldn’t fit with Robinson. A player that can fly off screens, shoot the ball from deep like no other, and eliminate defensive free-lancing seems like quite the fit in general.

Lowry is going to make a lot of Heat player’s jobs easier, but I believe Robinson, specifically, will make Lowry’s job much easier. Without going into too much depth in the first clip, the usual feed into a guy coming off an off-ball screen will do wonders for Lowry’s assist numbers.

Having that many options in the offense forces the defense to make constant choices. Miscues occur in those spots all the time, where two guys pop out on the shooter, which is where Lowry excels. Waiting til the defense makes a mistake, then forcing a pass to a rolling Butler down the baseline.

Mixing a player that waits for miscommunications and a player that forces miscommunications is definitely a solid duo.

The second clip above is something that I’ve touched on in the past, but can be used in more ways with these two. Guard screening should be a sticking point next season, either with Robinson or Butler, to hunt mismatches for any of Miami’s main guys.

Slipping these screens at the top of the key, like the play above, is another way to really space out the floor. If Robinson comes up and shifts to the wing, 9 times out of 10 the defender will stay with him. This gives Lowry an opportunity to go one-on-one with zero help, which is an ideal situation for him.

If there’s one person that’s going to have fun scheming up plays for these two, it will be Coach Erik Spoelstra, who can throw out some interesting things in a playoff series with Lowry and Robinson in an empty corner.

Tyler Herro:

And finally, we get to Tyler Herro. The other players discussed will be lined up next to Lowry in the starting lineup, but the same doesn’t go for Herro, and it’s clear they’ll still get plenty of run together.

For one, the Heat currently don’t have a back-up point guard, but the thought process is that it isn’t a necessity because there won’t be many moments that Lowry, Butler, and Adebayo are all on the sideline together.

That basically means we will probably see Butler get pulled a bit earlier, then inserted back in when Lowry exits.

The role of Herro next season is a bit up in the air at the moment, just due to it having a chance to go in so many different directions. Will spot-up numbers rise back up to be used that way? Is there going to be more on-ball reps with an increased handle and extra shot creation?

We will find that out soon enough, but either way they can find a way to balance the back-court of Lowry and Herro. Looking at the clip above, this is where I mostly see him being used next to him, and it relates back to the play about Butler.

It’s the same exact set, except Lowry isn’t the one spotting up, he’s the one creating. Although he’s a point guard, his size allows him to play from the post often, which will 100% be used next season.

Herro would feed the ball into Lowry, act as if he’s going to clear out, then pop out to the wing for a spot-up triple off the pin-down. Even if there is major improvement on the ball, the catch and shoot stuff will be needed to make it all come together. Lowry will be able to get him in his spots, which is why this isn’t just about Miami’s stars.

I’m intrigued on how they’re going to form the offense to begin the season, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we will see this type of stuff. Lowry is a flexible offensive player, which once again, really fits the Erik Spoelstra mold. Just in this piece alone, it’s clear there’s a much longer list of options than previously, just because of one veteran addition to the roster: Kyle Lowry.



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