Defense Still A Work In Progress For Heat's Duncan Robinson

Shandel Richardson

Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson has made great strides in plenty areas this season.

He's made a career-high 42 starts, averaging 12.1 points and shooting 43 percent from the 3-point line. The one area, however, he has struggled is defense. That was evident in the Heat's 109-101 loss to the Boston Celtics Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

He had issues defending Celtics forward Gordon Hayward, who had 29 points on 10 of 14 shooting. The Celtics were clearly going to Hayward when he was guarded by Robinson.

"He's gotten a lot better," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's not something that's new. They weren't targeting him to switch. We were trying to show and it's a coverage."

Still, Spoelstra said the 6-foot-7 Robinson has improved as a defender. He said Robinson will only improve once he gains the respect of referees around the league. Some players are given more leeway on defense because of their reputation. Robinson is only in his second season after going undrafted out of Michigan.

"Now, the level of detail and his level of technique has to be extraordinary," Spoelstra said. "I don't need to go fight to get Jimmy Butler a lot of respect. I can put together a highlight film of Duncan Robinson's touch fouls. He drills on it more than anybody in this league. He's diligent. He's got great technique. He has good size. We'll just have to find a way to keep working on it and overcome it. As he spends more time in the league, he'll earn more respect. He's becoming a much better team defender. The biggest part of that with officiating is the respect and everybody understanding what you're capable of."

Comments (2)
No. 1-1

Right now he can’t cover his head with a hat. An absolute liability defensively. He has committed some of the absolute dumbest fouls for And 1s on layups when he isn’t in position. Just let it go. Those are the things they drive me mad. And he got embarrassed by Hayward. I would guess he is why we play so much zone. I hate when we play zone.