Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Suns vs. Heat: Miami Favored To End Its Losing Streak Against Elite Point Guards

"Steve Nash droppn 30 tonight"

That's the text message my brother sent me this afternoon before the Phoenix Suns play the Miami Heat at 7 P.M. There's been a lot of talk about the Heat's struggles with elite point guards and my brother decided to add his own thoughts to the conversation. Can he be right? Will Nash torch the Heat at the point guard position tonight?

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 box score 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:

Elite point guards have been three times more productive than the average point guard against Miami but they are only averaging 14 points per 48 minutes so I don't think Nash will be dropping 30 points, but he could definitely cause havoc, as the spreadsheet below illustrates.

The Heat have faced three of the five most productive point guards in the league - Chris Paul (0.512 WP48), Rajon Rondo (0.324 WP48) and Deron Williams (0.217 WP48). Steve Nash has been the fourth most productive point guard this season with 0.282 WP48 (which is close to what elite point guards have averaged against the Heat).

I think it's safe to say the Heat will struggle defending Steve Nash tonight if they play like they have in the first 10 games. Will Nash be enough to keep the Heat winless against the NBA's best point guards? gives the Heat a 78 percent chance of ending that losing streak against elite point guards. Based on the Wages of Wins Network's formula for determining a team's probability of winning a single game (which uses Wins Produced), the Heat have a 75.4 percent chance of beating the Suns.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers used to determine the Heat's probability of winning:
  • Miami Heat (6-4)
    • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.151 (see the Heat Produced page)
    • Average Possessions Per Game: 91.4 (see
    • Days Rest: Three  (last game was 109-100 win over Toronto on 11/13/10)
    • Location: American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL (low altitude)
  • Phoenix Suns (6-4)
    • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.110 (according to the Wins Produced Viewer)
    • Average Possessions Per Game: 94.7
    • Days Rest: One (last game was 100-94 win over Denver on 11/15/10)
I hope the Heat turn this game into a track meet since they're coming off three days rest while the Suns only had one day rest and had to travel cross-country. I want to see aggressive traps of Nash on the pick-and-roll and a lot of LeBron and Wade in transition.

Predicted score: Heat 115, Suns 106


  1. Well looks like you called this game perfectly . . .
    The Suns are getting torched right now

  2. More importantly, the Heat did to the Suns at home what the Lakers couldn't - destroy them.