Miami Heat Summer League Game Winning Lob and the Origin of the Play
Random summer league games the Sunday of 4th of July weekend rarely offer any insight into an organizations’ culture. A majority of the players representing these teams will never put on that same teams’ uniform during an actual regular season game. For the Miami Heat, they used Sunday as an opportunity to show just how in tune they are at all levels of the organization.
The Miami Heat summer league entry are coached by current assistant Dan Craig. Like Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, Dan Craig has risen through the ranks of the Heat’s video department to the bench. He is often considered to be Coach Spo’s right hand man and spending all that time together has only aligned their train of thought even more.
With the Heat trailing by 1 with .4 left on the clock they needed to free someone for a quick look. Per NBA rules, .4 is enough time for a catch and shoot but it needs to leave your hands almost simultaneous with the catch. Miami’s 10th overall pick and super star in waiting Justice Winslow was inbounding the ball, having used his past State Championship and National Championship to earn his reputation as a winner.
Coach Craig dialed up a player that was almost exactly the same thing that the Heat ran at the beginning of the 2011 season with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. The Miami Heat Summer League entry play is initiated by running a shooter away from the rim. In both instances they ran a shooter along the baseline from the weak side corner to the strong side corner. As soon as the cutter and his defender clears through a down screen is set for the cutter curling to the rim.
The difference between the set Miami Heat Summer League entry ran against Brooklyn on Sunday and against Minnesota in 2011 is that the newest version only used 1 screen. Miami popped James Ennis away from the rim drawing his defender and had the big Willie Reed set a screen for Tyler Johnson to curl to the rim.
The Heat used a big in both instances to set the screen to eliminate a switching opportunity. The person defending the curler has no choice but to trail them with so little time left on the clock. If the defender cheats underneath the cutter can just step behind the screen and be wide open for a catch and shoot. The action is run so fluid that the defender just trails the play before they know what exactly is going on. On Sunday Winslow made yet another winning play with a perfect pass to Johnson at the rim.
Where exactly did the Miami Heat Summer League entry come up with this action that withstood the test of time throughout the organization? From the Boston Celtics of course. LeBron James admitted after the game in 2011 vs. Minnesota that “we stole it” and that they used a set that the Boston Celtics ran against them the previous season.
With the Celtics trailing by 2 with .6 left Pierce threw a perfect lob to the rim for Rondo. The Miami Heat Summer League play is set up slightly different, a player positioned far on the weak side and they send a shooter from the block to the perimeter. However, the end action is the same, a curl to the rim, as was the result. All 3 play diagrams and Youtube can be seen below.
Coach John Zall just completed his first season as an Assistant Coach at Division II Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. This past season Franklin Pierce University won 20 games and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Zall arrived at Franklin Pierce after spending the past 3 seasons as the Associate Head Coach/Head JV Coach at O’Bryant High school in Roxbury, MA. During his tenure at O’Bryant the program improved from 4 wins to 12 wins and qualified for the MIAA State Tournament twice.
Coach Zall also has experience as an AAU Head Coach for the Boston Warriors. As Head Coach for the Warriors his team won the 2011 16U State Title and twice competed in AAU Nationals down in Orlando, FL. On top of being a student at Northeastern University, Zall was named Head Coach of the Men’s Club Basketball team for the 2012-13 season. During his lone season as Head Coach, Northeastern finished second in the Northeast Regional Tournament featuring colleges from throughout the East Coast. Coach Zall has also spent time as a Head Coach in the Bay State Games where his team won the Bronze Medal in 2012 and at various camps including: Five Star, Boston Celtics, NIKE, Franklin Pierce University, Hoop Group and The Elite 75.
Click on the pdf link below to download the Miami Heat Summer League Game Winning Lob and the Origin of the Play: