Saturday, July 16, 2011

Heat Check: Best In Class

Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade have
led the Miami Heat on and off the court.
Picture from

LeBron James did not need a college education to be a valuable player for the Miami HEAT, but Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade proved their time in college made them very valuable players. No HEAT players with three or four years in college have been more productive than Mourning or Wade in franchise history.

From college seniors to high school seniors, let's take a look at the best HEAT players in each class.

This article will use Wins Produced, a statistical model created by sports economist David Berri from the Wages of Wins Journal, to measure how much a player's box score statistics contributed to their team's efficiency differential and wins. An average player produces 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (WP48), a star player produces +0.200 WP48 and a superstar produces +0.300 WP48. The stats used in this article are powered by NerdNumbers. More information on this stat can be found at the following links:

What Wins Produced Says and What It Does Not Say
Calculating Wins Produced
Frequently Asked Questions

Best College Seniors
This spreadsheet lists all players in HEAT history that spent four years in college. Seniors produced 62% of  HEAT wins in 23 seasons. Nine of the ten most productive players in team history were seniors.

The most productive senior in franchise history is Zo with 73.8 wins produced (0.203 WP48) in 11 seasons. The second-most productive senior is Eddie Jones with 44.9 wins produced (0.153 WP48) in six seasons. Udonis Haslem (42.6 wins produced), Tim Hardaway (39.3 wins produced) and Rony Seikaly (34.7 wins produced) are other productive HEAT players that entered the NBA after four years of college.

Best College Juniors
This spreadsheet lists all 17 players in HEAT history that spent three years in college. Juniors produced 22% of the wins in franchise history.

Wade is the most productive junior in team history with 110.2 wins produced (0.258 WP48). The second-most productive junior is Shaquille O'Neal with 25.5 wins produced (0.226 WP48). Only three juniors were drafted by the HEAT — Wade, Mario Chalmers (8.4 wins produced, 0.067 WP48) and Harold Miner (0.6 wins produced, 0.008 WP48).

Best College Sophomores
This spreadsheet lists the 12 players in HEAT history with two years of college experience. Sophomores only produced 3% of the HEAT wins since 1989.

The most productive sophomore in team history is Lamar Odom with 12.6 wins produced (0.201 WP48). The second most productive sophomore is Quentin Richardson with 8.7 wins produced (0.202 WP48). Caron Butler (8.1 wins produced, 0.079 WP48), Antoine Walker (-2.0 wins produced, -0.024 WP48) and Mark Blount (-3.4 wins produced, -0.092 WP48) are the only sophomores to play more than one season with the HEAT.

Best College Freshmen
This spreadsheet lists the five players in HEAT history with one year of college experience. Freshmen produced 1% of the HEAT wins all-time.

The most productive freshman in team history is Chris Bosh with 7.9 wins produced (0.136 WP48). The second-most productive freshman is Michael Beasley with 3.9 wins produced (0.043 WP48). Freshmen were the least productive class of HEAT players with just 0.042 WP48.

Best Foreign Players
This spreadsheet lists the five foreign players in HEAT history. Foreign players produced 1% of the HEAT wins in the NBA.

The most productive foreign player in franchise history is Vladimir Stepania with 9.8 wins produced (0.189 WP48). The second-most productive foreign player is Sasha Danilovic with 0.7 wins produced (0.017 WP48). No foreign player stayed on the roster more than two seasons.

Best High School Players
This spreadsheet lists the three high school players in HEAT history. High schoolers produced four percent of team wins all-time.

The most productive high school player in franchise history is LeBron with 22.8 wins produced (0.358 WP48). The second-most productive high school player is Dorell Wright with 15.4 wins produced (0.180 WP48). Jermaine O'Neal (2.2 wins produced, 0.037 WP48) is the other high school player to wear a HEAT uniform.

All-Time Heat Team, by Class
Now that the hard part is out of the way, let's name the starters and reserves for the best in class HEAT team.

PG - LeBron James, High School
SG - Dwyane Wade, Junior
SF - Lamar Odom, Sophomore
PF - Chris Bosh, Freshman
C - Alonzo Mourning, Senior

G - Eddie Jones, Senior
C - Shaquille O'Neal, Junior
G/F - Dorell Wright, High School
C - Vladimir Stepania, Foreign
G/F - Quentin Richardson, Sophomore
F - Michael Beasley, Freshman
G - Sasha Danilovic, Foreign

Of course, the captains for my best in class HEAT team would be Mourning and Wade. They make a good team, as evidenced by their work for Zo's Summer Groove which kicks off next weekend.

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