Leonard has gone from starter to out of rotation. What gives?
When Meyers Leonard didn’t play in the Miami Heat’s opening win over the Denver Nuggets last Saturday, Erik Spoelstra said that, “I have not forgotten about Meyers. He is fully in our mix. It’s just the way the game went tonight.”
In the two games since, Leonard — who started every game he appeared in for the Heat this season — still hasn’t played. Even with Jimmy Butler out last night and Spoelstra starting Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo together, Leonard couldn’t find any playing time. Spoelstra staggered the minutes of Adebayo and Olynyk so at least one of them was on the floor at all times.
What happened? It’s not like Miami has played the Houston Rockets in the bubble. Even when Enes Kanter grabbed five offensive rebounds against the Heat last night, Spoelstra didn’t counter with Leonard.
A few trends are at play here. Number one, Jae Crowder has somehow continued to shoot lights-out since he put on a Heat jersey. After shooting 29 percent on six 3-point attempts per game with the Grizzlies this season, Crowder has shot 41 percent from deep on nearly seven attempts per game with Miami. Crowder can get his shot off much quicker than Leonard can, so starting him makes sense.
Another player who has shot lights-out since February is Kelly Olynyk, who saw his minutes fluctuate earlier in the season. Since the All-Star break, Olynyk has shot 29-for-53 from deep. The former Gonzaga player has also shown that he offers more ...
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