Monday, August 2, 2010

Eddie House and the Dress Coders

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly that Wins Produced has to say about Eddie House, the latest journeyman to sign with the Miami Heat.

The Good
House’s scoring is probably what made him a fan favorite in Miami ten years ago but his overall production didn’t justify it. House’s negative production was an estimated 8.4 wins below average during his first stint with the team, but he returns to Miami an improved player after his most recent stops in Boston and New York. Table 1 illustrates the improvement in House’s production from then to now.

[Click table to enlarge]

Note - Average PG/SG data for 2001-03 from; Eddie House data from; Average PG/SG data for 2010 from except for points per shot and shooting percentages, which are from

House returns to Miami with a minimum salary as a much better shooter, rebounder and ball handler than when he left. He also returns wearing a championship ring with purple-and-gold blood on his hands thanks to his play against the Lakers in the 2008 Finals. With an estimated wp48 of .230, House was more productive than every Lakers guard in that series – including Kobe Bryant. If the Heat face the Lakers in the 2011 Finals, then Miami could use that type of performance again.

The Bad
While House returns to Miami as an improved player with a championship ring, he also returns as a player coming off a major decline in production last year. Table 2 illustrates the decline in his numbers from 2009 to 2010.
[Click table to enlarge]

House’s shooting efficiency, scoring, rebounding and steals all declined from 2009 to 2010, resulting in his least productive season since leaving Miami in 2003. Part of the drop in production could be explained by House being traded mid-season to the New York Knicks, where he shot the ball terribly without the open looks provided by Boston’s Big Three and Rajon Rondo. However, his WP48 with the Celtics before the trade was .024 which is still well below average. A possible explanation for his drop-off with the Celtics could be that he played over 529 minutes with at least two of the Big Four (Garnett, Pierce, Allen, Rondo) in 2009 but only played over 269 minutes with two of the Big Four in 2010. Perhaps the lineups Doc Rivers used him in affected the number of open looks House got, which could explain the decreased shooting efficiency. Beyond the impact of being traded to the Knicks or changes in the way he was used in Boston, the only other primary factors remaining are injury and age. House did miss four games with a sore achilles tendon but no other serious injuries were reported for him last season. He is 32 years old, though, and sports economist David Berri has noted at the Wages of Wins Journal that player performance starts to decline more noticeably after 30. So even if the Heat can put House in the right situations on the floor, he may not be able to match his performance from the last three seasons.

The Ugly
With signing of Eddie House, Heat faces game-night questions – Miami Heat – Sun-Sentinel
In the blog post linked above, Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel argues that the signing of House will push a veteran player out of a jersey and into compliance with the NBA dress code on most nights this upcoming season because league rules only allow a team to designate 12 active players and the Heat currently have 16 players signed to contracts, 14 of which are guaranteed. So which of the players currently under contract should be sitting on the bench wearing a collared shirt, jacket and dress shoes next season? Table 3 ranks the players currently signed with the Heat based on the type of contract they have for the 2011 season and their production from the 2010 season.

[Click table to enlarge]

Based on type of contract and wins produced, it looks like Juwan Howard would be best-suited to form a new Bottom Three with the Heat’s summer leaguers now that Eddie House has signed with the team. There isn’t much difference between Howard and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but I don’t think LeBron convinced “Big Z” to sign with Miami as a model for the latest in big-and-tall fashions on game night. Of course, Wins Produced is a nice way to determine who should be suited-and-booted this upcoming season but scoring typically drives most player decisions in the NBA. Table 4 ranks the players currently signed with the Heat based on the type of contract they have for the upcoming season and their scoring average from last season.

[Click table to enlarge]

If Coach Spoelstra focuses on scoring, then Jamaal Magloire will most likely be joining the “dress coders” on most nights. Or maybe the "dress coders" will just be selected based on fashion. If that's the case, then Howard should be the favorite, but as long as Magloire doesn’t go with the wife-beater look, things shouldn’t get too ugly on the bench.


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