BoxScore Geeks' 2014 Miami Heat Preview

The Numbers

  •  Average Seed
    6
  • 📉 Pessimist
    30.8 wins
  •  Realist
    38.6 wins
  • 📈 Optimist
    46.4 wins
 First Seed
 
2.0%
⋆ Division
 
21.1%
 Top 4
 
23.9%
👍 Over (44.0)
 
23.5%
ğŸ‘Ž Under (44.0)
ğŸŽ€ Playoffs

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.

William Arthur Ward

The Brief

Lebron has taken his talents back to Cleveland. There is absolutely no way that this is not the headline for the Heat heading into this upcoming season. Lebron is quite simply the best all around player in the NBA, particularly if one considers durability, which quickly discounts Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. He's an all-time top 30 player in his prime and the history of what happens to teams that lose transcendent superstars like him is generally a cautionary tale.

The Heat, however, can point to a particular example and hope. In 1993, for some reason that I won't speculate on (what are the odds?) , Michael Jordan decided to go play baseball and retire. The Bulls were able to overcome losing the best player of his generation in his prime thru a combination of great coaching (Phil Jackson) , savvy acquisitions (Kukoc and Kerr) and just happening to have another two all time greats on their roster in their primes (Pippen and Grant) and only lose 2 wins from their regular season record.  Can the Heat replicate this success? I'm thinking Pat Riley hopes so. 

The Story

The central problem for the Heat can be summarized succinctly in looking at who they were last season using our new metric.

 

Lebron was the clear dominant force on the Heat. This is of course what you'd expect from an all time great in his prime. Dwayne Wade, even though by my numbers he had his worse season since 2008, was still 95th percentile overall, above average at everything but handling the ball, and easily a top five shooting guard. It is on him that the majority of the Heat's hopes will rest. Bosh was more problematic. He was below average overall (42nd percentile) and in fact last year was his worst since 2005. The Heat really need him to get back to his 2006 to 2011 form. This is not something that historically happens with big men in their 11th year, especially after three years of steady decline.  

Last Year

  •  Actual Wins: 54
  •  Expected Wins: 56.2
  • ⚅ Lucky Wins: 1.0

 

 

Player Minutes Age WP48 Wins
LeBron James  2902.0 29 .327 19.7
Chris Bosh 2531.0 30 .078 4.1
Mario Chalmers 2178.0 28 .117 5.3
Norris Cole 2014.0 25 .004 .2
Ray Allen  1936.0 39 .130 5.2
Dwyane Wade 1775.0 32 .193 7.1
Shane Battier 1468.0 35 .024 .7
Chris Andersen 1396.0 36 .279 8.1
Rashard Lewis 971.0 34 .059 1.2
Michael Beasley 831.0 25 .085 1.5
Udonis Haslem 653.0 34 .075 1.0
Toney Douglas 410.0 28 .081 .7
Roger Mason 260.0 33 .010 .1
James Jones  236.0 33 .207 1.0
Greg Oden 212.0 26 .030 .1
Justin Hamilton 68.0 24 -.025 0
Joel Anthony  37.0 31 -.006 0
DeAndre Liggins 1.0 26 2.939 .1

 

 Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.

  • 56.2 total Wins Produced
  •  4 players leaving
    (5111.0 minutes, 26.0 wins)

 

It's really hard to look at this data and not see the giant hole left behind by the return of the King to Ohio.

This Year

  •  Projected Wins: 38.6
  •  Conference Rank: 6
  • % Playoffs: 70.0

 

 

Player Position Minutes Age WP48 Wins
Luol Deng  3.0 2330.4 30 .086 4.2
Chris Bosh 5.0 2164.7 31 .089 4.0
Mario Chalmers 1.0 2007.6 29 .133 5.6
Dwyane Wade 2.0 1847.2 33 .198 7.6
Josh McRoberts  4.0 1802.8 28 .105 4.0
Norris Cole 1.0 1249.9 26 .056 1.5
Udonis Haslem 4.0 1158.3 35 .058 1.4
Danny Granger  2.0 1142.9 32 .053 1.3
Chris Andersen 5.0 1120.3 37 .135 3.1
Shawne Williams  3.0 1055.3 29 .035 .8
Shannon Brown  2.0 696.3 29 .054 .8
Justin Hamilton 5.0 449.9 25 -.012 -.1
Shabazz Napier  1.0 409.4 0 .100 .9
Khem Birch  4.0 309.8 0 .111 .7
Tyler Johnson  2.0 282.8 0 .100 .6
Andre Dawkins  2.0 282.1 0 .032 .2
James Ennis  2.5 280.6 0 .064 .4

 

 Indicates that the player is new to the team.

  • 📅 36.8 WP last year
    by these players
  • 🔀 -13.4 WP (roster changes)
  • ⏲ -.6 WP (age/experience)

 

Perhaps no player has more at stake from a historical legacy perspective this year than Dwyane Wade. If he can summon the will and find that extra gear that made him a superstar earlier in his career, he can carry this team to a fifty plus win season and a deep playoff run. By doing that, he can put himself in the public conversation as the true successor to Jordan.

He needs some help though. The baseline for this Heat season is 39 wins and it's rightly earned. I figure a throwback Wade year gets this team in the 45 win range. Bosh as mentioned is in the middle of a classic big man decline. Newcomer Luol Deng has been fantastic before but is also in the middle of a late career decline and had his worse year ever last year. Our draft model loved Napier and Birch but we don't know if they get on the court. McRoberts was great last year but he's already banged up.

There are a lot of ifs on this team.

The Wrap

The basketball fan in me wants the Heat to follow the path laid out by 1993-94 Bulls. It's a better story and it'll make for an overall better season in the East. The pragmatic analyst and number cruncher looks at all this risk and sees a likely fall in the Heat's future.

I suspect hovering around five hundred is the most likely outcome.

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