Friday, March 30, 2012

Miami HEAT: Are They Better in 2012 Than 2011?

The numbers say the 2011 Miami HEAT were better than the 2012 squad so far.

A Twitter follower sent the tweet below during the HEAT's win over the Dallas Mavericks...

The numbers, however, don't support the claim that the HEAT are a better team this season. The table below lists the best HEAT teams in franchise history based on margin of victory.

While the HEAT's winning percentage is two points higher this season than last season, the margin of victory is almost 0.2 points lower in 2012 than it was in 2011. Point differential is nice but efficiency differential, which is the basis of Wins Produced, is better.

The HEAT outscored opponents by 8.2 points per 100 possessions in 2011 and have only outscored them by 7.8 points per 100 possessions in 2012. How is that possible?

Despite all the hype about Erik Spoelstra's new "Pace & Space" offense at the beginning of the season, the HEAT only average 1 more possession per game in 2012 than they did in 2011 and the offense is scoring 3 less points per 100 possessions this year than last year.

The HEAT are a better offensive rebounding team this season, but there are Three Factors in the decline of the HEAT's offensive efficiency from 2011 to 2012:
  • Shooting efficiency declined from 52.4% to 51.6%. Fans can blame that decline on Udonis Haslem's struggles with his jumper and Shane Battier aka Shaved Monkey Nuts taking minutes from James Jones.
  • Turnovers increased from being 13.5% of HEAT possessions to 14.4%. That's the Norris Cole aka Rookie PG effect. Mike Bibby and Carlos Arroyo had their problems but they didn't turn the ball over.
  • Free Throws decreased from 28% of shot attempts to 24% of shot attempts. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are averaging nearly 3 less free throw attempts per 48 minutes this season.
The HEAT are holding opponents to the same shooting efficiency as last season and the defensive rebounding has declined, but there are Two Factors in the improvement of the HEAT's defensive efficiency from 2011 to 2012:
  • Opponents' Turnovers increased from 12.6% of their possessions to 15.7%.
  • Opponents' Free Throws decreased from 22.3% of shot attempts to 20.7%.
Unless these numbers turnaround, the 2012 HEAT won't be a better team than the 2011 squad even if they win the championship this June. It will just reinforce how Brian Cardinal robbed them of a great chance to win the title in 2011.

Of course, if the team was better in 2011 and lost the title, then what does it say about their chances of winning the NBA Finals in 2012? Maybe that's why I've been so pessimistic...

No comments:

Post a Comment