Udonis Haslem is shooting 27.4 percent on shots away from the basket.
If you look at just his shots taken from 3-to-15 feet from the basket, he's 3-for-19 (15.8 percent). That's about as bad as it gets. Overall, the 27.4 percent ranks as the eighth worst conversion rate among regulars with 50 shots inside the arc not at the rim.
It's still early, but the results are hard to ignore. You never want to rank 135th among 143 players in any statistic, much less one that is typically your strength. . . . Here are his shooting percentages over the past six seasons from 3-to-23 feet: 41.9 percent, 41.0 percent, 43.5 percent, 43.8 percent, 48.5 percent and this season's 27.4 percent.
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What's the issue? Our own coach and scout David Thorpe might know.
Thorpe has actually worked with Haslem on his shot before. Thorpe runs the Pro Training Center in nearby Clearwater where NBA players come and go for training in the summer months, but Thorpe hasn't had any workouts with Haslem in recent years because the Heat forward has been nursing offseason injuries.
After watching some tape on Haslem, something caught Thorpe's eye right away: there's no follow-through on his shot anymore.
"Holding his follow-through and shooting with great balance are the two biggest keys we worked on when he first came to me years ago," Thorpe said. "But his follow-through is non-existent now. His balance is just OK, not great on every shot."
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[T]he truth is that before the season started, Haslem didn't pick up a basketball for 11 of the previous 12 months due to injuries. For a 31-year-old, each day away from the court might feel like two. The Heat desperately needed him to play in the playoffs, but Spoelstra knows that the month on the court probably set him back from a habit standpoint and a physical one, too.
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Knowing all this, it's expected that Haslem might experience some rust to begin the season, but it's more than rust at this point. Another concern is his shots blocked rate.
Haslem took three shots in Wednesday's game and all three were blocked by Detroit defenders, including a jumper from the baseline. According to Hoopdata, Haslem is getting blocked almost four times as often as he did last season (12.8 percent of his shots vs. 3.5 percent) and more than twice his rate in previous seasons.
Spoelstra is aware of these numbers and suspects that his timing, more than anything, is off after the extended time away from the court.
[C]onsidering his foot issues and the fact that practice time has been essentially eliminated this season, the cards are stacked against him. Haslem might be a rebounding machine this season, but if he can't find his knock-down jumper, then much of his value is lost.