After 14 games the Miami Heat are again off to a slow start, sitting at 6-8. They have been in a lot of close games and with the injury to Rodney McGruder, Coach Erik Spoelstra is still tinkering with rotations to find the right mix. One issue that has plagued the team so far is turnovers. At the moment the Heat are averaging 16.6 turnovers per game and are giving the ball away on 15.3% of their possessions which is 27th in the NBA.
Dion Waiters has been a main culprit leading the team in turnovers per game at 3.3, which is well above his career average of 1.9. At times he has forced the issue and made ill advised passes on the break, at other times he has driven the ball into the teeth of the defense and given it up. His decision making must improve and this should be an issue that can be resolved quickly.
Next on the list is James Johnson who is second on the team in turnovers per game at 2.8, which is double his career average. Johnson has more ball handling and distributing responsibilities than your typical power forward so this may be part of the problem. If he is surrounded by other capable ball handlers, especially when he is leading the second team, he should be able to play off of the ball more and cut down on the turnovers. Johnson is one of the most important players on the Heat and his unique skill set make him very valuable. His other statistics have been very solid, and if he can fix this one issue he is poised to have another great season.
Obviously so early in the season this is not the time to panic, and once Spoelstra can find consistent and productive rotations this will likely lead to fewer turnovers. In any offense the distributors have to know where everyone else on the court is going to be, right now due to their unfamiliarity with each other this is not the case.
Per advanced stat site NBAMiner.com, the Miami Heat commit 6.9 “Bad Pass” turnovers per game which is currently the worst total in the league. These mistakes have put other teams in transition for easy baskets and cost Miami possessions, with a razor thin margin for error to begin with this has been a major factor in their slow start.
There is a long way to go in the season and Miami has a top coaching staff which is surely breaking down the film and working on a solution. Once there are consistent rotations established and poor decisions are cut down, the Heat can be an above average offensive team. In the weak Eastern Conference there is plenty of opportunity to figure it all out.
Follow us on Twitter @MiamiSportsWave