The Miami Heat in 2005-06


Next up in the review of last season is the Miami Heat, the 2006 NBA Champion. During the Finals I commented on the Heat (and the Dallas Mavericks) in the following posts:

Myth and Measurement after Game Three of the NBA Finals

Thoughts after Game Four: The Dallas Mavericks Story

Thoughts after Game Four: The Miami Heat Story

Four Thoughts on Game Five

Is Wade the Next Jordan?

These posts hopefully made each reader quite familiar with who led the Heat in the regular season. Still, if one wishes to see both the Wins Produced (explained briefly HERE and HERE) and Wins Produced per 48 minutes (WP48) of all these players last year, one would need to look HERE.

As noted in June, the most productive player on the Heat last year was Dwyane Wade. Only six players produced more wins than Flash – Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, and Steve Nash – and he was one of only seven players who played 2,000 minutes to eclipse the 0.300 mark in WP48 (average is 0.100). So Flash was good.

In the playoffs Wade had a per-minute Win Score – explained HERE – of 0.237. For the regular season his Win Score per minute was 0.244, so he was essentially the same player in the playoffs as he was in the regular season. In other words, consistent with our examination of NBA playoff performance reported in The Wages of Wins, in both the regular season and playoffs Wade was great.

What of the other Heat star, Shaquille O’Neal? Shaq is still great, but his WP48 of 0.225 was easily the lowest in his career. Of course, on a per-minute basis he is still one of the five best centers in the game. So a below average Shaq is still better than just about anyone else.

Once you get past Flash and Shaq you see a team of mostly above performers. These include Udonis Haslem, Alonzo Mourning, James Posey, and Jason Williams. Of course, “mostly” is not “all.” Both Gary Payton and Antoine Walker were below average last year.

Payton is a bit surprising. Before last year he had always been above average in his career, producing more than 170 wins since 1990. Walker, though, as detailed in this forum and in this excerpt from The Wages of Wins, has not typically been above average. In fact, only in 2000-01 was his WP48 above the 0.100 threshold, and that year he only had a mark of 0.110.

Still, if your team only plays two below average players on a regular basis, you will be pretty good. And the Heat are a very good team.

For 2006-07 they are bringing the same cast of characters back to try and repeat as champions. The expected decline in the Detroit Pistons certainly improves Miami’s chances to reach the Finals again in 2007.

So the Heat have a good chance of winning the title next season. If that happens, that would be the 10th repeat in the NBA in the past 20 years. Given this record, are people sure that its baseball that has a problem with competitive balance?

— DJ

Teams Analyzed Thus Far

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Charlotte Bobcats

Chicago Bulls

Cleveland Cavaliers

Detroit Pistons

Indiana Pacers