While his shooting and overall scoring production have been inconsistent through Miami’s first 22 games of the season (this was a takeaway from my previous article), his offensive impact extends beyond his ability to score the ball.
He has been able to run the Heat’s ball-screen heavy offense to a tee, and his ability to manipulate defensive coverages has improved the play of his teammates. Take P. J. Tucker, for example. He has flourished this season as a short-roller, and while credit must be given to Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra and his staff for recognizing this talent of Tucker’s, credit also has to be given to Lowry, who has put Tucker in ample positions to score the ball throughout this season.
The area of the Heat’s offense that has seen the most improvement since last season has been their capability to score in transition, and Lowry’s hit-ahead passing ability and inclination to push the ball up the floor are a major reason for this. Miami ranks 13th in the NBA in transition possessions per game with 17.6; this is in contrast to last season’s Heat team that ranked 18th in the NBA in that statistic with 15.8 transition possessions per game.
With expectations out of Miami that Adebayo could miss weeks due to his thumb injury, Lowry will have to find his scoring stride and offer the Heat more consistent production in that department. Through his first 20 games of the season, Lowry is only averaging 12.3 PPG, which would be his lowest scoring average since the 2012-13 season.
His three-point percentage has also been unusually low, as he is only converting on 30.6% of his attempts from beyond the arc, which if continued for the entirety of this season, would be Lowry’s most inefficient season in over a decade from deep.
When Lowry is hitting his three-pointers, he offers Miami a smart and savvy off-ball mover who can relocate to open spots around the arc and a nifty ball-handler who can counter dropping big men by shooting at the top of ball-screens.
Throughout this upcoming stretch of games, Lowry will have to attain more rim pressures to account for Adebayo’s absence. When attacking the basket, Lowry makes up for his lack of vertical presence and explosive burst by using his compact upper body to muscle his way to the rim.
When he has gone inside the paint, Lowry has been very efficient, converting on 76.5% of his attempts this season from less than five feet away from the basket. When the defense collapses on his drives, Lowry has also displayed the ability to either dump the ball off to cutting teammates or kick it out to open shooters.
While he has drastically improved Miami’s offense thus far this season, an increase in Lowry’s overall offensive consistency will be crucial for a Heat team looking to capture yet another illustrious championship this summer.
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