Let’s take a look at how the Miami Heat use their power forwards and why Kelly Olynyk should remain in the starting lineup until the trade deadline.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra appears to have found a temporary solution for the hole left by Jae Crowder in the starting lineup. Kelly Olynyk has started the last three games at power forward after Andre Iguodala, Meyers Leonard, and Moe Harkless shared starting duties over the first five games.
But should Miami stick with Olynyk as the starting power forward barring injury or a violation of health and safety protocols? The answer is yes, as he possesses the skill set to excel as a power forward in Spoelstra’s offensive system.
Olynyk has excelled as a floor spacer throughout his career, converting 38.3 percent of his catch and shoot threes on 3.0 attempts per game. The conversion rate allowed him to score 3.5 points per game, 35.9 percent of his scoring output.
Catch and shoots were responsible for 98.1 percent of his threes as he has a career shooting percentage of 37.4 percent from behind the arc on 3.1 attempts per game. The field goal percentage helped him generate 3.9 points per game from behind the arc, 40.2 percent of his scoring output.
Olynyk’s shooting ability makes him an ideal choice to start power forward as Spoelstra uses power forwards in the role of floor spacer. Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder took more than 53 percent of their shots from behind the arc last season, averaging 2.2 and 6.4 attempts per game.
Over 76 percent of those attempts were catch and shoots as Iguodala and Crowder took 1.9 and 4.2 catch and shoot threes per game, respectively.
Spoelstra has continued to use the power forward position as a floor spacer this season. Harkless, Iguodala, and Olynyk have taken more than 69 percent of their field goals from behind the arc, attempting 0.7, 3.1, and 6.6 per game.
At least seventy percent of those attempts were catch and shoots. The Miami Heat currently have two of those players thriving in the catch and shoot department Olynyk and Igoudala. Olynyk is making 40 percent of his field goals on 5.7 attempts per game. On the other hand,
Iguodala is making 42.9 percent of his catch and shoot threes on three attempts per game. Unfortunately, Igoudala is on a hot streak as he has shot 35.7 percent on catch and shoot threes since 2013 on 2.1 attempts per game.
Iguodala’s track record has led defenders not to guard him as 96.8 percent of his threes have been uncontested as he is taking three open attempts per game. The unwillingness to guard Iguodala has contributed to subpar team performances as they shoot 47.3 percent from the field on 29.6 attempts per game, creating 37.9 points.
They have been outscored by 2.6 points with Iguodala on the floor this season. On the other hand, the team has excelled, with Olynyk on the floor shooting 48.1 percent from the field on 45.7 attempts per game. The conversion rate has helped the team outscore by 2.4 points as they have created 61.9 points per game.
Conversely, the team sees a decrease in production when he rests. The team shoots 47.9 percent on 41.5 attempts creating 54.4 points per game. The decrease in output led to them being outscored by 3.3 points per game.
Therefore he should remain the starting power forward until the trade deadline. At the deadline, the team should see if Otto Porter Jr is available for trade as he is a perfect fit for the team. Porter has converted 42.2 percent of his catch and shoot threes since the 2013-14 season on three attempts per game.
Furthermore, Porter’s trade value should be very low as he is coming off back-to-back injury-riddled seasons. He was held to 56 games during the 2018-19 season due to various small injuries. For example, Porter missed the last 11 games of the season with a strained right shoulder.
Porter’s injuries continued during the following season as he only played 14 games because of a broken left foot. Consequently, the team will not have to deplete their depth to acquire him in a potential trade. According to TradeNBA, the Miami Heat could acquire Porter by offering Kendrick Nunn and Iguodala.
Even though Spoelstra has experimented with different players starting at power forward this season, he should stick with Olynyk for the foreseeable future as he is best equipped for the role.