Heat's Duncan Robinson Talks Smaller Playoff Role: 'It Sucks in a Lot of Ways'

Erin WalshJune 7, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 10: Duncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at FTX Arena on May 10, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Miami Heat veteran Duncan Robinson has finally opened up about his diminished role in the 2022 NBA playoffs, saying on his The Long Shot podcast that not playing was challenging for him.

"Not playing...it sucks in a lot of ways," Robinson said. "Especially when you feel that you're capable and you feel that you can help win. It's a really, really challenging feeling to combat. Especially when you're on the cusp and in the midst of a run where your team is playing really well."

The Long Shot @TheLongShotPod

"Not playing sucks... especially when you feel that you are capable and you feel that you can help win. It's a really challenging feeling." <br><br>Dunc opens up about embracing his changed role in the playoffs. Full ep drops tomorrow.<br><br>Full clip here: <a href="https://t.co/adx2YVCHVg">https://t.co/adx2YVCHVg</a> <a href="https://t.co/gTvRwKneB1">pic.twitter.com/gTvRwKneB1</a>

Robinson had been a staple in Miami's starting lineup during the regular season, starting 68 of the 79 games he appeared in and averaging 10.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.9 made threes in 25.9 minutes. That all changed in the postseason.

The 28-year-old appeared in 13 of 18 playoff games without making a single start while averaging just 12.2 minutes per contest. He only produced 5.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 made threes per game as he struggled to adjust to a bench role.

That said, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra may have opted not to start Robinson because he's limited defensively and, in the playoffs, defense is everything. Robinson had a defensive rating of 112.2 this season, per StatMuse. For comparison, Boston Celtics guard and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart had a 107.1 defensive rating.

Max Strus, who started postseason games over Robinson, is a slightly better defender, equally adept from three-point range and had a defensive rating of 111.7 this season.

That said, Robinson has the size and frame at 6'7" and 215 pounds to be more effective on the defensive end. If he can learn to be a better defender, and still maintain his 37.2 shooting percentage from beyond the arc, he could find himself back in the playoff rotation.

However, if this remains his role for 2022-23 and beyond, Robinson said on his podcast he needs "to do whatever it takes to excel in it."

Robinson signed a five-year, $90 million deal with the Heat in August 2021 and can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024-25 season.