The Heat offense is floundering big time

Dragic has struggled this season, but is still immensely important to the offense.
Steve Mitchell/Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Heat have hardly been atop the NBA’s list of best offenses this season, but Miami’s offensive attack of late has been particularly disconcerting.

Even with all the talent on the Heat roster, the offense keeps sinking, now ranked 17th in points per possession on the season, behind unexpected teams like the Knicks, Jazz and Kings. Things have gotten even worse without Goran Dragic, too.

Dragic has missed the Heat’s last three games, the second half of a road trip that saw Dragic’s team go 2-4, capped off with an embarrassing 99-74 loss in Oklahoma City, during which Miami scored just 30 points in the second half. It wasn’t the first time the Heat have had a poor offensive performance in a half—they went for just 38 during the second half of the Clippers game two contests earlier, over which period, they blew a 16-point lead—but it was possibly the ugliest of all the ugly offensive scenarios we’ve seen from the Heat this season.

In the three games since Dragic left the lineup with a calf injury, the Heat are averaging just 91.3 points per 100 possessions against the likes of the Clippers, Nuggets and Thunder. To put that in perspective, that’s almost three points per 100 worse than the 76ers’ season-long 30th-ranked offensive rating. 

The Heat have averaged more than two points per 100 possessions fewer without Dragic on the season, so his absence could contribute to the recent struggles. That number has become far more exaggerated since Christmas, when Dragic, who got off to the slow start this year, began to play more like the Dragic we’ve become so familiar with over the last few years. Over that time, the Heat offense is more than seven points per 100 possessions better with Dragic on the floor.

The fact that Miami just reeled off a six-game road trip, which is only sort of over, could be contributing to the struggles, as well. But the Heat come home for one game against the Bucks before playing eight of their next nine on the road once again. It’s not like the schedule is getting any easier for a little while.

There’s reason to worry about Miami, and its not because of the defense, which still ranks within the NBA’s top five. It’s on the other side of the ball. The Dwyane Wade isolations or Chris Bosh jumpers haven’t saved the Heat so far, and if the buckets continue to be tough to find, the Heat could see themselves dropping almost as many games as points during this rough, road stretch.