Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Prestige: Miami Heat Expose Dwight Howard and Orlando Magic As Illusions In 26-Point Blowout

This article will use Win Score and Estimated Wins Produced, statistical models created by Professor David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's boxscore statistics contributed to their team's performance.  An average player produces an estimated 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (EWP48), a star player produces 0.200+ EWP48 and a superstar produces 0.300+ EWP48. More information on these stats can be found at the following links:




Game Recap
Whenever you heard a radio/TV analyst talk about the Miami Heat, they always said that a team like Orlando could beat them because Miami doesn't have enough size in the middle to stop Dwight Howard.  The Howard argument is a cute magic trick haters liked to use before the Heat destroyed the Orlando Magic 96-70 in their home-opener at American Airlines Arena.

The problem with the Howard argument is that it wasn't a complete magic trick. It only had two of the three parts every great magic trick needs.  It had the first part, 'The Pledge', where the magician shows you something ordinary.  In this case, haters presented Howard, whose post-game was completely ordinary last season and his play against the Heat was no more than average.

The Howard argument also had the second part of every great magic trick, 'The Turn', where the ordinary does something extraordinary. With this trick, there were several turns - 1) the marketing video of Howard working on post moves with Hakeem Olajuwon on youtube; 2) the blowout of the Washington Wizards in the Magic home-opener; and 3) the 19 points Howard scored in the first half against Miami. Despite trailing by six points at the half, 'The Turn' probably had Magic fans and Heat haters feeling pretty good about themselves.

And that's when the Howard magic trick stopped working - after 'The Turn.'  The third part of every great magic trick is 'The Prestige', which is the hardest part.  As I mentioned in the recap of the win over the Sixers, the Heat have been killing teams in the third quarter. After two games against the Celtics and Sixers, the Heat had outscored opponents by 27 points in the third quarter. The Heat opened the third quarter with a 14-0 run and outscored the Magic by 18 points entering the fourth quarter.

Howard scored no points in the third quarter (or the fourth quarter). In the first half (during 'The Turn'), he was dominant and produced an estimated 0.612 wins per 48 minutes.  In five minutes of playing time in the third quarter he was feeble with one missed shot, one turnover, three fouls and an estimated -1.252 WP48.  No Prestige for Howard.

The Heat, on the other hand, had plenty for the third part of the game. Miami has produced 59% of their wins  (1.2) in third quarters so far.  Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, LeBron James and Eddie House brought 'The Prestige' against the Magic in the third quarter of last night's game. The list below shows how those players performed in the third quarter.

PLAYER - MINUTES, EWP48, EST. WINS PRODUCED
Dwyane Wade - 10.9 minutes, 0.933 EWP48, 0.212 EWP
Udonis Haslem - 6.7 minutes, 0.996 EWP48, 0.139 EWP
LeBron James - 7.4 minutes, 0.855 EWP48, 0.132 EWP
Eddie House - 4.6 minutes, 0.567 EWP48, 0.054 EWP

In the third quarter alone, those four players provided 49% of the Heat's wins produced for the game.  The figure below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the game's boxscore (the top two players and worst player for each team are highlighted). You can also view an easier-to-read version at Google Docs by clicking on the spreadsheet labeled MAGIC-102910.




The Big Picture
Chris Bosh had his third consecutive great first quarter (0.703 EWP48) only to get worse in every quarter afterwards - 0.050 EWP48 in second quarter, -0.176 EWP48 in third quarter and -0.114 EWP48 in the fourth quarter.  Wade had his third straight, bad first quarter.  I don't know why he starts every game off poorly and Bosh doesn't.

The most productive player for the Heat was Carlos Arroyo with 0.445 EWP48 and 0.232 EWP in the game.  By themselves, his original boxscore numbers don't look that impressive but when you compare them to Orlando's guards, then they stand out.  Jameer Nelson and Chris Duhon produced an estimated -0.111 wins at point guard for the Magic during the game.

The most productive players for the Magic were reserves Ryan Anderson (0.447 EWP48) and Marcin Gortat (0.802 EWP48), who only played 11.8% of the minutes available for Orlando.  Rashard Lewis played the worst game of any Heat opponent so far with a truly mind-boggling -0.875 EWP48 and -0.452 EWP.  He missed every shot he took and committed three turnovers before fouling out.  He almost single-handedly lost the game for Orlando.

The Bigger Picture
After three games, Dwyane Wade leads Miami in "Heat Produced" with an estimated 0.417 wins produced and 0.189 EWP48.  Wade has been above average in scoring volume, rebounding, steals, blocked shots and assists and below average in shooting efficiency, turnovers and personal fouls.

Udonis Haslem leads the team in productivity on a per-minute basis with 0.254 EWP48, the highest among all players in Coach Erik Spoelstra's nine-man rotation.  Haslem is averaging 19.6 rebounds per 48 minutes.

The spreadsheet below lists the Wins Produced by each member of the Heat at this point in the season. You can also view a an easier-to-read version at Google Docs by clicking on the spreadsheet labeled 2011-REG-SEASON-SUMMARY.


The least productive players in the rotation so far have been Joel Anthony (0.017 EWP48, 0.02 EWP) and reigning, back-to-back MVP LeBron James (0.020 EWP48, 0.046 EWP).  With LeBron's uncharacteristically low production so far, the Heat are only on pace to win 54 games.  If everyone else's production this season so far stayed the same, and LeBron played at the level he was at last year (0.429 WP48), then the Heat would be undefeated and on pace to go 81-1.

The future for the Heat looks bright indeed.

Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from popcornmachine.net and espn.com.

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