Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is Miami Better Than We Think?

I just found an article on which addresses one of the things that has me feeling a lot better about Miami's chances and the work that Spoelstra has put in this season:

It shows that Miami is a top 5 defensive team along with Orlando, Charlotte, Milwaukee and Boston. The article shows statistics that prove that defensive oriented teams tend to do better than offensive oriented teams. While I agree that these numbers prove that Milwaukee, Charlotte and Miami are not flukes and will be ready to play D when it matters most, I was more pleased when I took a closer look at our unbalanced team (defined as a team that has a gap bigger than 10 spots between their offensive and defensive efficiency rankings).

Miami is tied for 3rd in the league in defensive efficiency, but is just 19th on the offensive side. The cool thing is that when you look at the best teams in the NBA, they have large numbers when you subtract their defensive efficiency rating from their offensive efficiency rating:

Orlando: 9.0
Cleveland: 8.1
LA Lakers: 5.3
Phoenix: 5.3
San Antonio: 5.2
Utah: 5.0
Boston: 4.7
Atlanta: 4.5
Denver: 4.4
Ok. City: 4.3
Portland: 4.3
Miami: 3.6
Dallas: 3.4

The middle of the pack does not:

Charlotte: 1.4
Milwaukee: 1.2
Houston: -0.9
Toronto: -1.7
Memphis: -2.3
Chicago: -2.4
New Orl.: -2.6

I believe Coach Spoelstra spent most of the season neglecting the offensive side of the ball because he was busy getting the guys to buy into winning with defense. Recently there have been signs of life on the offensive end, with the reinsertion of Carlos Arroyo into the lineup, increased opportunities for Quentin (he's shooting more 3's and posting up as well) and feeding the big man - Jermaine O'Neal. We are even seeing more offense from Haslem, Wright, Chalmers and Joel Anthony. This trend will have to continue for Miami to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

As far as doing the impossible, I am not holding my breath, but I think they have more in common with the 2005-06 NBA champs than we may realize. Let me break it down position by position, using rounded up per 36 season averages:

'06 Dwyane Wade
25 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts, 2 stls


'10 Dwyane Wade
26 pts, 5 rebs, 7 asts, 2 stls


'06 Shaquille O'Neal
24 pts, 11 rebs, 2 blks


'10 Jermaine O'Neal
17 pts, 9 rebs, 2 blks

Edge 2006

'06 Antoine Walker
16 pts, 7 rebs, 3 asts, 2 3pts


'10 Michael Beasley
18 pts, 8 rebs, 2 asts, 0 3pts


'06 Alonzo Mourning
14 pts, 10 rebs, 5 blks


'10 Joel Anthony
6 pts, 7 rebs, 3 blks

Edge 2006

'06 Jason Williams
14 pts, 6 asts, 1 stl, 2 3pts


'10 Carlos Arroyo
10 pts, 5 asts, 1 stl, 0 3pts

Edge 2006

'06 Udonis Haslem
11 pts, 9 rebs, 1 stl


'10 Udonis Haslem
13 pts, 10 rebs, 1 stl

Edge 2010

'06 James Posey
9 pts, 6 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 2 3pts


'10 Quentin Richardson & Dorell Wright combo
12 pts, 6 rebs, 2 asts, 1 stl, 2 3pts

Edge 2010

'06 Gary Payton
10 pts, 4 rebs, 4 asts, 1 stl, 1 3pt


'10 Mario Chalmers
10 pts, 3 rebs, 5 asts, 2 stls, 2 3pt


'06 Jason Kapono
11 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts, 1 3pt


'10 James Jones
10 pts, 3 rebs, 1 asts, 1 stl, 3 3pt


Obviously, the 2005-06 was a better team. Their production from the Center position allowed them to play inside outside and created a lot of open 3 pointers for their shooters. This team does not create as many open looks from beyond the arc, but does not hesitate to shoot them when they are open. In 2006, Antoine Walker played the role of the maddeningly inconsistent forward chucker and this year Michael Beasley has played that role. Many Miami fans turned on Antoine in 2006, even booing him at times, but Pat Riley found a way to get great production out of him. If Spoelstra finds a way to get great production from Beasley, who has lost the faith of many Heat faithful, I wonder how far Wade can carry this group of guys.


  1. So, it turns out the Celtics get the tiebreaker with the Hawks based on winning their division. Miami could end up facing the Hawks if it gets the fifth seed making this a perfect opportunity to atone for last year's missed opportunity to beat Atlanta and face the Cavaliers.

    I feel confident against the Hawks... against the Cavs, I expect Miami to surprise people... then again, taking two games would surprise people. This is what I thought would happen last year, I will be happy if they do it this year.

    I want to see the young guys step up... Dorell's value could increase the way Trevor Ariza's did last year, but he would be a free agent steal for us if we can count on him as our future at the SF position.

  2. YES to Dorell!!!!

    BTW, is there a relationship between the offensive stats and the defensive stats? What I mean is, if we play slow and horrible on offense on purpose in order to slow down the game, does that add to our defensive stats? Kind of like Wannsted choosing to punt, run short yardage, etc, to keep games tight and low scoring as the Dolphin's coach?


    Charley Rosen judging Miami on their game against Philadelphia... says the Heat will get a dose of reality in the playoffs. 57% of voters envision the Heat getting out of the first round, depending on matchup.

  4. Good question about the efficiency ratings... no, these numbers are simple:

    Offensive Efficiency - the number of points a team scores per 100 possessions.

    Defensive Efficiency - the number of points a team allows per 100 possessions.

    Here are those numbers for the entire league:

  5. helium said...
    YES to Dorell!!!!

    BTW, is there a relationship between the offensive stats and the defensive stats? What I mean is, if we play slow and horrible on offense on purpose in order to slow down the game, does that add to our defensive stats? Kind of like Wannsted choosing to punt, run short yardage, etc, to keep games tight and low scoring as the Dolphin's coach?

    APRIL 8, 2010 7:49 PM

    Of course. With a slower pace, everything happens at a slower rate, including scoring. So the defensive points allowed #'s are lowered which is good if you're a bad defender.

  6. But Cyrus is right too using Defensive/offensive efficiency ratings.. I was thinking general +/-.

  7. 10 game winning streak or will the Pistons break the Heat's heart(Again?)

  8. 10 game winning streak. I want to see the team make these final games about Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal going offensively.

    Last time we played them, March 31st in Detroit, Jermaine was out and Beasley went off for 28 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk... let's see if that performance gives him confidence for tonight. Jermaine should also be motivated going against Big Ben, Tayshaun and Rip... the hated rival that cost him $4 million, 1 year probation and his best chance at a title thanks to that infamous brawl at the Palace in Auburn Hills.

    Detroit has won 2 straight including a victory over Atlanta, so they don't look to be in tank mode. Expect Miami to come out strong and try to put this game away early. If they cannot get that done, it could be a hard fought defensive battle. Either way, it should be a great tune up for the post season, as long as the Pistons don't throw the towel early.

    I expect Wade will not take it easy on these guys. I think he will try to earn some 4th quarter rest, since he cannot sit out games like LeBron and Kobe.