Thursday, January 19, 2012

HEAT Check: 2012 NBA GM Survey

The 2012 NBA General Manager Survey results show front offices spend more time thinking about the Miami HEAT than the Los Angeles Lakers and every other team in the league.

HEAT Dominate the Survey Results
The HEAT made more appearances in the NBA GM Survey than any other team.

Number of appearances in the NBA GM Survey
  • 20+ appearances: HEAT (43), Thunder (31), Bulls (24)
  • 10+ appearances: Celtics (15), Lakers (15), Suns (14), Clippers (12)
  • 5+ appearances: Sixers (9), Timberwolves (9), Mavericks (8), Pacers (7), Spurs (6), Blazers (5), Bucks (5), Magic (5)
  • 2+ appearances: Nuggets (4), Knicks (3), Cavaliers (2), Grizzlies (2)
  • 1 appearance: Hornets, Kings, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Warriors, Wizards
  • 0 appearances: Bobcats, Hawks, Jazz, Nets

There were a lot of haters in the NBA’s GM ranks last year as the HEAT got less credit than they deserved. Those Children of a Lesser God learned to bow down to something greater than themselves this year. Their new HEAT beliefs are listed below.

NBA Title: 74% of NBA GMs picked the HEAT to win the NBA title this season after 63% of them picked the Lakers to win the title last season. The HEAT currently rank 4th in the Schedule-Adjusted Ratings at, which measure the difference between points scored and points allowed per possession based on strength of schedule. Bloggers on the HEATcast season preview agreed with the NBA GMs.

Eastern Conference Champ: 96% of NBA GMs picked the HEAT as the Beast in the East, which is an increase from the 70% that picked them last year. They’ll need to play like that to pass the Bulls in the East Fanalyst Rankings.

Southeast Division Winner: 96% of GMs picked the HEAT to win the division, which is an increase from the 74% that picked them last year. The Atlanta Hawks have played three points better than the HEAT this season, according to

Most Underrated Player Acquisition: 89% of GMs thought LeBron James was the biggest player acquisition by a team last year, but this year (in their religious zeal, I guess) 11.5% of GMs are giving the HEAT too much credit picking Shaved Monkey Nuts aka Shane Battier as the most underrated player acquisition behind the Celtics signing Brandon Bass and the Pacers signing David West. These articles explained why:

Best Defensive Team: Two-thirds of the GMs picked the Bulls as the best defensive team in the NBA. The HEAT and Celtics tied for 2nd with 11% of the vote. According to, the HEAT are 4 points behind the Bulls in defensive efficiency but 3 points ahead of the Celtics.

Most Fun to Watch: 33% of GMs voted the HEAT most fun to watch this season after 52% voted for the Thunder last year. HEAT fans have to wonder if the GMs prefer watching Spo’s new Pace & Space offense over the Scotty Brooks’ boring Two-Man Game sets or they just prefer scouting the HEAT and plotting ways to break up the Three Kings. Or maybe they just paid attention to the TV ratings.

Best Homecourt Advantage: While the media promoted stories about empty seats at American Airlines Arena or bandwagon HEAT fans last season, some GMs learned the truth from the White Out in last year’s playoffs and gave them votes for Best Homecourt Advantage. With the HEAT Back In Black this season, don’t expect any letdown from the lockout.

Watch the Throne
Like the HEAT, LeBron James started to get his swagger back among NBA GMs. Some of the rocks GMs threw at the throne last season were put back in their pockets for this survey.

MVP: 44% of GMs picked LeBron to win the MVP award. That’s less than the 56% that picked Kevin Durant for MVP, but last year 67% of GMs picked Durant to win the award. According to The NBA Geek, LeBron leads the NBA in Wins Produced this season and has produced 1.5 more wins than Durant despite playing two less games.

Best Franchise Player: 37% of GMs chose LeBron and Durant as the best players to start a franchise with and 3.7% chose Dwyane Wade (probably Pat Riley’s vote). LeBron vs. Durant has been the premier matchup in the NBA the last two seasons, but LeBron has dominated the comparisons:

Best Small Forward: 78% of GMs picked LeBron as the best small forward in the league which is an increase from the 68% that picked him last year. Thanks to LeBron, the HEAT SFs have been 3.5 times more productive than they opposing SF because they outscore them by 11 points per 48 minutes, shoot 12 percentage points better from the floor and rack up nearly four more assists per 48 minutes (see the HEAT Produced Page). Durant finished second with 19% of the vote and Carmelo Anthony was third with 3.7%. According to The NBA Geek, the top three small forwards in Wins Produced are LeBron, Andre Iguodala and Durant.

Question: If more than 3 out of 4 GMs think LeBron is a better small forward than Durant, then why was there a split in the vote for best franchise player?

Best Perimeter Defender: LeBron finished third with 11.5% of the vote behind Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo. Wade got 3.7% of the vote. It’s a little surprising since LeBron’s defense decimated MVP Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it’s understandable after watching LeBron allow every small forward he faced launch open jumpers on their west coast road trip. HEAT opponents produced a 44% shooting efficiency at SF before the west coast trip to play the Warriors, Clippers and Nuggets. Here’s the shooting efficiency of opponents’ SF since:
  • Warriors - 48%
  • Clippers - 54%
  • Nuggets - 62%
  • Spurs - 69%

Declining Athleticism? LeBron was voted the Most Athletic, Most Dangerous in the Open Floor and Best Finisher but his percentage of the vote decreased in each category. Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose seemed to be the biggest vote thieves in those categories. For what it’s worth, Blake has 11 more dunks than LeBron this season, according to the CBS Sports Dunk-o-meter.

Where’s Wade County? Right Here!

Best Franchise Player: Wade finished behind LeBron, with the fifth-most votes. Does that mean NBA GMs think the HEAT are LeBron’s team? If so, then they need to read the article, Did the King Murder Wade On His Own Shit?

Best Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade finished second behind Kobe Bryant. As last year’s game against the Lakers in Miami indicated, Wade is the much better player and has been for years. In their head-to-head matchups, Wade produced a Win Score of 5.2 compared to Kobe’s 3.5. Below is a list of the Wins Produced by each player since Wade came into the league:
  • 2004: Wade (5.9) < Kobe (10.3)
  • 2005: Wade (11.1) > Kobe (8.0)
  • 2006: Wade (15.3) > Kobe (9.2)
  • 2007: Wade (9.6) < Kobe (11.1)
  • 2008: Wade (4.0) < Kobe (12.9)
  • 2009: Wade (17.8) > Kobe (11.2)
  • 2010: Wade (15.0) > Kobe (7.3)
  • 2011: Wade (14.9) > Kobe (7.4)
  • Total: Wade (93.6) > (Kobe (77.4)

Wade has produced 16 more wins than Kobe since he was drafted by the HEAT and was more productive in 5 of 8 seasons. Last season, Wade was twice as productive as Kobe by being better at shooting efficiency, getting to the free throw line, rebounding, shot-blocking and taking care of the ball. See more stats comparing Wade and Bryant with The NBA Geek Comparison Engine.

Miscellaneous: Wade also received votes for Best Defensive Player, Best Perimeter Defender, Most Athletic, Best at Getting His Own Shot, Most Dangerous in the Open Floor, Best Finisher, Toughest Player and Taking a Shot With the Game On the Line.

The Rookie & the Champ

The Rookie: 11% of GMs voted Norris Cole as the Most Athletic Rookie behind Derrick Williams, Kenneth Faried and Jan Vesely. 44% of GMs voted Cole as the Rookie Most Likely Sleeper Success, but he’s been the least productive player on the HEAT so far this season. Despite his athleticism, Cole’s been below average at getting to the free throw line, rebounding and shot-blocking. His rookie mistakes and bad decision-making have also resulted in him being below average at shooting (poor shot selection), turnovers, assists and fouls. A lot of work needs to be done for Cole to become a “Sleeper Success”.

The Champ: Re-signing James Jones was a no-brainer and the NBA GM Survey shows why. Jones was 1 of only 5 players that received votes for Best Pure Shooter. Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony are the only rotation players shooting more efficiently than the reigning Three-Point Champ this season (Mike Miller’s performance against the Spurs was excluded).

The media gave Erik Spoelstra two votes for 2011 Coach of the Year while they spent most of the season saying he should be fired. The article Spo Earned a Contract Extension, Not a Pink Slip explained how good a job Spo did with the team last season, but he seemed to get the same level of respect from NBA GMs this year that he got from the media last year.

Spo got a vote for Best Manager/Motivator of People and Best Offensive Coach from the GMs, but got no votes for Best Head Coach or Best Defensive Coach even though he coached the 5th-best defense last season and 6 coaches got votes in this year’s GM survey.

David Fizdale got a vote for Best Assistant Coach, so maybe GMs credit him for the HEAT defense. Shaved Monkey Nuts aka Shane Battier got a vote for Player That Will Make the Best Head Coach Someday, so maybe GMs prematurely gave him credit for the HEAT defense this season. In true Shaved Monkey Nuts fashion, the defense only ranks 7th this season in points allowed per 100 possessions. Juwan Howard also got a vote in this category.

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