Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Kevin Durant: Who Will Be B.I.W. in 2012?

Kevin Durant outscored LeBron James in a summer league game but it will require another superhuman effort for him to claim the title of “Best in the World” from Dwyane Wade.

Two events on Tuesday night officially triggered the beginning of the debate over who will be basketball’s Best In the World (B.I.W.) in 2012: the Melo League vs. Goodman League game at Morgan State University and the 2011 FIBA Americas Men’s Championship at Mar del Plata in Argentina.

The game at Morgan State University featured LeBron vs. Durant and the game at Mar del Plata featured 10 teams playing for a berth in the 2012 Olympics. Team USA will not play in the FIBA Americas tournament because it was granted an automatic berth after Kevin Durant led them to the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

David Aldridge from TurnerSports reported August 8th on that while Jerry Colangelo had not begun contacting players regarding the 2012 Olympics, Durant was a ‘probably’ and Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh had not decided whether they would play in the 2012 Olympics if the NBA lockout wasn’t settled.

Diego Quezada from Hot Hot Hoops pointed out on Twitter that if Wade agrees to play in the 2012 Olympics, then USA Men’s Basketball will have the best player from the 2008 Redeem Team on the roster. This spreadsheet summarizes the production of each player on the Redeem Team and also includes game-by-game breakdowns.

As reported in “Three Kings and the Five Rings”, Wade was 6.5 times more productive than the average guard in a Redeem Team game, 5 times more productive than Kobe Bryant and over 1.5 times more productive than LeBron James based on estimated wins produced per 40 minutes.

See the following articles for more information on Estimated Wins Produced:

Wade led the Redeem Team in Wins Produced by a significant margin despite coming off the bench and playing less minutes than Kobe, LeBron, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams.

While Wade dominated the world in 2008, LeBron and Bosh were no slouches. The Three Kings led the Redeem Team in estimated wins produced. Nearly 50 percent of the Redeem Team’s wins were produced by Wade (4.1), LeBron (2.8) and Bosh (2.5).

Last summer in Turkey, Durant came after the Three Kings for that Number One Spot on the world stage. His pursuit of the title was analyzed in the articles listed below.

LeBron vs. Durant: Public Enemies & Public Opinion in the Global Arena
Arachnophobia: Why the Heat Should Fear the Durantula
B.I.W: Durant, LeBron, Bosh or Wade?

While Wade, LeBron and Bosh combined like Voltron during the summer of 2010, Durant produced more estimated wins in FIBA competition than every member of the Redeem Team in 2008 except Wade. This spreadsheet lists the estimated wins produced by Team USA from 2008 to 2010 and includes analysis of the wins produced in each game played on the way to the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

It should be noted, however, that Durant played 50 more minutes in 2010 than LeBron did on the Redeem Team, 150 more minutes than Bosh and 105 more minutes than Wade. As illustrated in last year’s B.I.W. article, when minutes played is taken out of the equation, Durant’s numbers were slightly less than Bosh’s and dead even with LeBron’s.

In last night’s game, Durant reportedly outscored LeBron 59 to 36. Historically, he hasn’t played that well against the King in head-to-head match-ups and Aldridge said Durant played the worst 59-point game he'd ever seen when he talked about their match-up on Tony Kornheiser's ESPN 980 Radio Show in Washington D.C.(skip to the 26:00 mark).

LeBron slightly outplayed Durant in Oklahoma City last season by locking him down after he scored 14 points on five shots and six free throws in the first quarter. Lebron produced an estimated 0.229 wins in the game from 23 points and 13 assists compared to the 0.215 estimated wins produced by Durant’s 33 points and 10 rebounds.

When they played in Miami, Durant outplayed LeBron by putting together a much better shooting performance. Durant’s 29 points on 12-21 shooting from the floor, seven rebounds and six assists produced an estimated 0.212 wins to trump the estimated -0.062 wins produced by LeBron from 19 points on 8-21 shooting, eight rebounds and three assists.

See the articles below for more on last season’s HEAT-Thunder match-ups.

Heat Produced: Three Wins in Four Nights, Can Miami Do It Twice?
Heat Produced: Miami 85, Oklahoma City 96

As the game at Morgan State showed, Durant may have gotten the better of LeBron last season, but he’s still got a long way to go to catch him and Wade for the title of B.I.W. Only time will tell if he’s ready in 2012.

Kendrick Perkins sure wasn’t in 2011.