Monday, December 20, 2010

Heat Produced: The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be

The Miami Heat went 4-0 last week as they extended their winning streak to 12 games. Which players made the biggest contributions to the streak last week and what are the odds the Heat can extend that winning streak to 13 against the Dallas Mavericks?

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:

The Heat offense averaged 111 points per 100 possessions last week while the defense gave up an average 99.9 points per 100 possessions for an efficiency differential of 11.2 points per 100 possessions (i.e. offensive efficiency minus defensive efficiency). A team with that differential would have been expected to produce 3.4 wins last week and Miami came close with an estimated 3.3 wins produced. The spreadsheet below shows which players were responsible for those 3.3 estimated wins produced.

Most Productive Player of the Week: Dwyane Wade
The most productive player for the Heat last week was Dwyane Wade with an estimated 0.8 wins produced and 0.243 EWP48. This shouldn't be a surprise to regular readers of the Miami Heat Index because Wade has led the team in estimated wins produced for most of the season.

Wade had two big games last week against the New Orleans Hornets and New York Knicks with 0.572 EWP48 and 0.426 EWP48, respectively. Those were the two most productive games for any Heat player last week. The figure below lists the top 5 performances by Heat players last week.

As you can see, Wade wasn't the only player to have a big game against the Knicks. LeBron James produced 0.393 EWP48 on his way to a triple-double and Carlos Arroyo produced the sixth-best performance of the week for Miami with 0.408 EWP48. In fact, four of the five Heat starters had an EWP48 greater than 0.300 against New York. Chris Bosh only produced 0.198 EWP48 while holding Amare Stoudemire to 0.077 EWP48.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Knicks. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @KNICKS-121710).

Enough has been written on the Internet about the Knicks-Heat game. As for the Hornets, Wade's productivity against them shouldn't be a surprise to regular readers of this blog because he had a big game against them six weeks ago, with 0.491 EWP48. Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Hornets was posted HERE.

Surprises of the Week: Point Guards & Big Men
What should be a surprise is that the Heat got more production from the point guard position than the shooting guard position last week. Despite the myth that the Heat are weak at point guard, they actually held the point guards for four teams that started Chris Paul, Mo Williams, Raymond Felton and Kirk Hinrich to an estimated zero wins produced while Arroyo and Mario Chalmers combined to produce an estimated 0.8 wins.

The two point guard stats that jump out are shooting efficiency and turnovers. Miami held opposing point guards to an adjusted shooting percentage of 31.5 percent while Heat point guards shot 56.5 percent and only averaged one turnover per 48 minutes.

The biggest game for a Heat point guard last week was Saturday night's wild game against the Wizards. Chalmers was the most productive player for the Heat in that game with 0.426 EWP48. Seventy-nine percent of Chalmers' production came in the second quarter, which was the team's best period in the game and kept them in striking distance by cutting the lead to one point at halftime. The Heat produced an estimated 0.618 wins produced against the Wizards and 53 percent of that production came in the second quarter led by Chalmers.

Point guard has been the third-most productive position for the Heat this season (after small forward and shooting guard) with an estimated 4.5 wins produced. But hey, let the world keep selling that story about weaknesses at point guard and Chalmers will keep crushing it.

Another interesting stat from that Wizards game is Chris Bosh's fourth quarter. Israel Gutierrez did a great job summarizing Bosh's performance on the Miami Herald blog.

Bosh produced -0.346 EWP48 through three quarters against the Wizards with eight points on seven shots, five rebounds and six turnovers in 26.2 minutes. In the fourth quarter, Bosh made up for all of that with 12 points on three shots, four rebounds and one turnover in nine-and-a-half minutes to produce 1.083 EWP48. Bosh's fourth quarter was the most productive quarter in the game for any player. He scored half the Heat's points, took half their free throws and grabbed 36 percent of the team's rebounds.

While Bosh owned the fourth quarter in Washington D.C., it was still his worst performance of the week. Surprisingly, the best power forward in the game was Juwan Howard with 0.593 EWP48 and an estimated 0.148 wins produced. Howard scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in 12 minutes to keep the Heat competitive until Bosh took over.

Howard's performance was surprising this week because he's been below average for the season with just 0.059 EWP48. He was the least productive player on the floor against the Hornets and Cavs earlier in the week (-0.283 EWP48), but put together back-to-back, above average performances against the Knicks and Wizards to end last week with an average of 0.101 EWP48.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Wizards. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled @WIZARDS-121810).

Most Productive Position Last Week: Small Forward
The most productive position for the Heat last week was small forward. That should be no surprise because it's also been the most productive position for Miami this season. Last week, the Heat small forwards produced an estimated 0.9 wins and 0.8 of those came from LeBron James.

LeBron's backup, James Jones, had a productive week with an average of 0.153 EWP48, but most of that production came when he wasn't playing small forward. Jones only produced 0.049 EWP48 at small forward but 0.249 EWP48 when he played guard. Jones only had one above average game at small forward last week. It was against the Cleveland Cavaliers and he was the most productive player for Miami with 0.478 EWP48 as he shot 3-4 from three-point land.

The second-most productive player in that game? LeBron James with 0.242 EWP48. Oddly enough, LeBron had the opposite problem of James Jones last week. LeBron was most productive at small forward, with 0.266 EWP48, and actually had a negative impact on the Heat at guard, with -0.416 EWP48.

For the season, Jones is averaging 0.171 EWP48 at guard and 0.127 EWP48 at small forward. Jones usually plays guard when he's on the floor with LeBron and forward when he's on the floor with Wade. Since the primary driver behind Jones' productivity is his shooting efficiency, it seems that he shoots more efficiently when he plays with LeBron. That makes sense since LeBron is the better passer and leads the Heat in assists.

The spreadsheet below contains the Wins Produced analysis of the box score for the game against the Cavaliers. You can also view it at Google Docs (click on the spreadsheet labeled CAVALIERS-121510).

You can find all of the updated stats for Estimated Wins Produced by Miami Heat players on the Heat Produced page.

Unless referenced otherwise, original game data used for this post was taken from and

Mavericks vs. Heat
The Heat have a 59.6 percent chance of beating the Mavericks in the regular season for the first time in six years. But with the odds below 60 percent, this is another "pothole game" that Miami fans prefer the team doesn't fall into again.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers used to determine the Heat's probability of winning:
  • Miami Heat (21-8)
    • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.158 (see the Heat Produced page)
    • Average Possessions Per Game: 90.9 (see
    • Days Rest: One  (last game was 95-94 win at Washington D.C. on 12/18/10)
    • Location: American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL (low altitude)
  • Dallas Mavericks (21-5)
    • Average Wins Produced Per 48 Minutes: 0.139 (according to the Wins Produced Viewer)
    • Average Possessions Per Game: 91.0
    • Days Rest: Two (last game was 106-91 win vs. Phoenix on 12/17/10)

This game presents a few worrisome challenges:
  • Numerology - The Heat are trying to win their 13th game in a row by ending a 13-game losing streak to the Mavericks.
  • Wade's Shooting Touch - Wade shot 16-41 from the floor in his last two games (39 percent). In the ten games before that, he shot 99-168 (59 percent). Are the last two games the beginning of Wade's regression to the mean or a result of the left wrist getting banged up against Cleveland? Either way, it could be trouble if Agent D3 can't dominate another day.
  • Coming Off a Bad Game With No Practice - Coach Erik Spoelstra said the Heat played "a horrible game" against the Wizards on Saturday night and he was right. It was the team's least productive game during the current winning streak, with just an estimated 0.618 wins produced, but the next practice isn't scheduled until after the Mavs game. Will the players be able to clean up the sloppy play they showed in D.C. without a practice?
  • Glazing the Donut - Tyson Chandler had the most productive game against the Heat this season with 0.579 EWP48 and an estimated 0.437 wins produced when they played the Mavs in Dallas. The Heat's centers had a good run last week, but will they be able to continue their improved play against Chandler this week?

Okay, that's what should make Heat fans nervous. What should make them confident? 

  • Return of the King - LeBron played his worst game of the season against the Mavs in Dallas with -0.199 EWP48. If LeBron had just managed to hit James Jones' average production, then Miami would've won the last game.
  • Dampier's Improved - The last game against Dallas was Erick Dampier's first game as a member of the Heat and he was terrible with -0.144 EWP48. He now averages 0.111 EWP48. The Heat could use that production in the middle against the Mavs' Chandler since they only got an estimated -0.127 wins produced from all Miami centers in Dallas.
  • The Bucks - The Mavs were beaten at home by the Milwaukee Bucks last week. Seriously. The Heat should be able to beat any team the Bucks can beat.
  • Big Game Hunters - The Heat have risen to the occasion in big games against the Cavs and Knicks and rematches with the Jazz and Hornets.

Whether the fans are nervous or confident, it should be a good game tonight.

Predicted score: Heat 95, Mavericks 91

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