The Miami Heat are enjoying a renaissance. After missing the playoffs last season, the gang down on South Beach has played inspired ball through the first three-quarters of the year. They sit at 40-22, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
While they may lack the intense media focus of, say, the Boston Celtics, they've beaten up on much-vaunted Philadelphia and taken great pleasure in becoming the team many believed the Sixers would be.
The success has been a byproduct of widespread contributions and perhaps the most unexpected have come from Duncan Robinson. The second-year sharpshooter has exploded in productivity.
As a rookie out of Michigan, Robinson played in 15 games with one start. This season he's been in the starting lineup 57 times, presenting a matchup problem for opposing defenses with his innate ability to fill it up from distances.
His minutes per game have nearly tripled, his scoring average has climbed from 3.3 to 13 and his 3-point shooting percentage has risen to 44.6. He's fifth in the league in total triples made and has the fourth-highest percentage of any shooter.
Robinson has a realistic chance to set the record for most triples made in the first two years of a career, as well as the Heat's single-season mark from beyond the arc.
Not too shabby for a someone who went drafted. Not too bad for a guy who 70 percent of the league, according to his coach Erik Spoelstra, can't name.
Robinson is unbothered,
“I would probably say more than that,” Robinson said of the 70 percent comment. “But no, no, that doesn’t bother me. You’ve got to expect that. The path that I’ve taken is a little unconventional, but hopefully at this point I’ve garnered some respect in that regard.”
If the Heat are to make some noise in the playoffs -- and they are certainly capable -- Robinson will be a key cog.