Heat

Rozier Embracing New Role With Heat

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It’s been about three weeks since the Miami Heat decided to cash in on Kyle Lowry‘s expiring contract by flipping him and a 2027 first-round pick for Terry Rozier.

Rozier was in the midst of a career year with the Hornets before the trade, averaging career-highs in points per game (23.2) and field-goal percentage (45.9%).

Through ten games with the Heat, those numbers have dipped to just 12.6 points per game on 35.9% shooting. Rozier enjoyed the ball in his hands a lot during his time with Charlotte. His usage rate of 27.4% with the Hornets this season was the highest mark of his careerโ€” that number is down to 22.1% with the Heat which is lower than any point during his five seasons with the Hornets.

Since being inserted into a starting lineup with three other 20-point-per-game scorers in Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo, it’s been an adjustment period.

After all, Rozier’s first full practice wasn’t until Friday.

The shotmaking has not been there up to this point but he’s still finding ways to be impactful.

His self-created drives should continue to help Miami going forward. Rozier leads all Heat players in assist percentage off drives at 12.8% albeit a small sample size. The downhill burst he provides gives the Heat a dynamic that they didn’t have at the position prior to the arrival.

Rozier has recorded at least five assists in six-straight games including reaching double-digit assists for the first time in a Heat uniform against Sacramento. His playmaking has made up for the shooting woes.

One of the most underrated impacts of the trade is that it’s reduced Adebayo’s workload. From the start of the season until Rozier’s first game as a Heat, Adebayo averaged four mid-range shots per game. That’s down to 1.3/gameย since the trade and just 0.8/gameย in the month of February.

Adebayo is averaging only 13.6 shot attempts per game this monthโ€” the lowest mark of any month of his season. Again, it’s a small sample but it’s led to a 60% shooting month so far. When Adebayo isn’t tasked with having to do so much offensively it allows him to be at his best defensively.

Another area where Rozier has helped Miami is in the transition game. The Heat are in the bottom five in the league in fastbreak points per game (12.5) this season but over the last three games that number has jumped to 17.3. Miami had 27 fastbreak points in Tuesday’s win over Orlando.

Rozier’s speed allows them to play at a different pace than usual.

As for the fit with Herro, the offense has been great. The defense not so much. But with Butler, Adebayo and Spoelstra, they usually end up figuring it out on that end.

In a recent change to the rotation, Herro and Rozier are playing together more while Butler acts as the point guard for the second unit. Butler is averaging 15.5 potential assists per game with the second unit, so they might have found something there.

Rozier looks more comfortable in the offense and continues to impact the game in a number of ways. He’s certainly an upgrade over Lowry. But if the Heat want to make another deep playoff run, they’re going to need his shotmaking.

About Frankie Richetti

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