Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mario Chalmers: Point Guard Competition Is None


How does Mario Chalmers compare to eight other options at point guard for the Miami HEAT?

Tuesday’s article, “Ghost of Point Guard Past, Present and Future,” argued that Chalmers was the best point guard option for the Miami HEAT, but reader Gio Valladares and Feature Columnist Ethan Norof at Bleacher Report suggested eight other point guards that could be better options: Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich, Ramon Sessions, D.J. Augustin, Sebastian Telfair, T.J. Ford, Jonny Flynn and Shaun Livingston.

This spreadsheet compares each players’ statistics from last season and their estimated wins produced to Chalmers’ numbers.



Brooks vs. Chalmers
Brooks was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, free throw shooting, scoring and assists. Chalmers was better than Brooks at shooting efficiency, rebounding, steals, turnovers, shot-blocking and fouls.

Brooks provided 73 percent less production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Brooks played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have lost four extra games. Advantage: Chalmers

Hinrich vs. Chalmers
Hinrich was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, scoring, turnovers, shot-blocking, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Hinrich at free throw shooting, rebounding and steals.

Hinrich only provided six percent more production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Hinrich played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have won the same amount of games but it would have cost the organization an extra eight million dollars and change. Hinrich is also five years older than Chalmers and on the wrong side of 30. This Jayhawk swap is a no-go. Advantage: Chalmers.

Sessions vs. Chalmers
Sessions was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, scoring, rebounding, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Sessions at shooting efficiency, steals and turnovers.

Sessions provided 69 percent more production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Sessions played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have won four more games. Unless two of those wins came against the Chicago Bulls, the HEAT would still have finished with the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Sessions, however, is not a free agent and it would be hard to imagine the Cleveland Cavaliers making a trade with the HEAT anytime soon. Additionally, the only available player with a salary that’s within 25 percent of Sessions’ salary is Joel Anthony (assuming Udonis Haslem is not on the trading block). The HEAT likely don’t have the players Cleveland would want in a trade. Advantage: Chalmers

Augustin vs. Chalmers
Augustin was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, free throw shooting, scoring, turnovers, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Augustin at shooting efficiency, rebounding, steals and shot-blocking.

Augustin provided 23 percent more production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Augustin played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have won an additional game but would not have improved their playoff seed. Another problem is that Augustin does not become a free agent until 2012 and the HEAT don’t have anyone signed to a salary they could trade for him straight up. Is one extra win from Augustin worth a 2012 first round pick? Probably not. Advantage: Chalmers.

Telfair vs. Chalmers
Telfair was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, scoring, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Telfair at shooting efficiency, rebounding, steals and turnovers.

Telfair provided 54 percent less production Chalmers provided per 48 minutes. If Telfair played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have lost three extra games. Advantage: Chalmers

Ford vs. Chalmers
Ford was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, scoring, rebounding, shot-blocking, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Ford at shooting efficiency, steals and turnovers.

Ford provided 33 percent less production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Ford played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have lost two extra games and lost home-court advantage over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Advantage: Chalmers

Flynn vs. Chalmers
Flynn was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Flynn at shooting efficiency, rebounding, steals, turnovers and shot-blocking.

Flynn provided 79 percent less production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Flynn played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have lost four to five extra games and lost home-court advantage over the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semis. Advantage: Chalmers

Livingston vs. Chalmers
Livingston was better than Chalmers at shooting volume, getting to the line, scoring, rebounding, shot-blocking, assists and fouls. Chalmers was better than Livingston at shooting efficiency, steals and turnovers.

Livingston provided 25 percent more production than Chalmers per 48 minutes. If Livingston played Chalmers’ minutes for the HEAT last season, then Miami could have won an extra game but would not have improved their playoff seed. The problem with Livingston, though, is that his knee cannot carry the same load as Chalmers without swelling. Livingston had his shot with the HEAT in 2009, but one extra win for one less healthy knee isn’t a winning equation for a franchise trying to build a dynasty. Advantage: Chalmers


Summary
Whether it’s timing, availability, cost, injuries or production, the alternative options for the HEAT at point guard all fall down when compared to Chalmers.


Chalmers will provide enough production at the point as long as he doesn’t have the same regression he dealt with his second season. Improvement for the HEAT will come from the improvement of Mike Miller and Haslem’s health.

How much improvement can be expected? 70 wins sounds about right.

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