What should fans expect from the HEAT summer league team? Let's take a look by the numbers and the matchups.
This article uses Win Score and Wins Produced, statistics created by sports economist David Berri. Since an average team's winning percentage is 0.500, an average player produces 0.100 wins per 48 minutes (WP48). A star player produces 0.200 WP48 and great players produce 0.300 WP48. See the HEAT Produced Page for more information on Win Score and Wins Produced.
Summer League Players to Watch, By the Numbers
The HEAT begin summer league with 2 open roster spots and 2 needs to address: PG and PF/C. See this HEAT Check article for more information.
Analysis of the HEAT's summer league roster shows the most productive candidates to address are:
- PG: Norris Cole, Kyle Weaver and Jason Clark
- PF/C: Jarvis Varnado, Damian Saunders, Dexter Pittman and Robert Dozier
The spreadsheet below lists the position-adjusted Win Score per 40 minutes (PAWS40) each player produced in college. PAWS40 measures how productive a player was in college compared to every NCAA player drafted since 1995.
The spreadsheet also lists the estimated or projected WP48 for each player in the NBA. Est.WP48 is used for players with NBA experience and projected WP48 is used for players without NBA experience. All projections are from Arturo Galletti.
Point Guards to Watch
Cole was the most productive college player of any PG on the HEAT's Summer League roster, but he had a very unproductive rookie season with -0.049 est.WP48 even though he was projected to produce 0.058 est.WP48. The HEAT could have won 3 more games if Cole produced as projected, but he struggled in every category of the box score except offensive rebounding and shot attempts.
Weaver played both guard positions in college and had the second best NCAA career among the HEAT's summer league PGs. Unlike Cole, Weaver has been productive in the NBA, but he hasn't been able to land a permanent job in the last 4 years. It will be interesting to see if he has the championship DNA the HEAT are looking for in their players. At 6'6", 200 lbs, his size could be a tremendous advantage for the HEAT backcourt and he could really challenge Terrel Harris (who was unproductive in few minutes his rookie season) for one of the final 2 spots on the roster.
Clark had the third-most productive NCAA career among the HEAT's summer league PGs and as a Hoyas fan, I'm excited to see him on the roster. He's projected to only produce 0.026 est.WP48 in the NBA. That won't set the world on the fire, but it would be more productive than Cole actually played last season. If he performs in summer league, he could be a decent third option at PG if Mario Chalmers or Cole get hurt, but I consider him a long shot to claim one of the final 2 spots on the roster.
Big Men to Watch
Varnado had the most productive college career on the HEAT's summer league team, regardless of position. As a result of his college production, Varnado also had the highest projected est.WP48 in the NBA and dominated the 2010 summer league with 0.271 est.WP48. See the article For Love or Productivity for more on Varnado. He could be the perfect player to develop as Udonis Haslem replacement as UD's production begins to decline.
Saunders was a combo SF/PF that projected to be an above average rookie in the NBA with 0.059 WP48 (avg. rookie produced 0.050 WP48) but he was not selected in the 2011 draft. He seems too small to play PF in the NBA at 6'7" and 210 lbs so consider him a longshot to make the roster.
Pittman had the fourth-best college numbers (right behind Cole), but like Cole he hasn't been productive in the NBA yet. Last season he produced -0.051 est.WP48 despite above average production in scoring and rebounding. Pittman has 2 problems staying on the floor: conditioning and fouls (he averaged 11.5 fouls per 48 minutes last season). Regardless how well he plays in summer league, the HEAT already guaranteed the next season of Pittman's contract. Consider it compensation for hitting Lance Stephenson in the throat.
Dozier was slightly better than the average NBA draft pick at PF in college, but he's been playing overseas since he was drafted in the second round. It's going to be a longshot for him to outplay Varnado for a spot on the final roster.
NBA Summer League Action from Las Vegas on NBA TV: What to Watch
SUNDAY, JULY 15
6:30 – 8:00 p.m Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat. With Ed Davis and Daniel Orton on the Raptors' roster, this game should be a good test of big men like Varnado, Pittman and Dozier. Look out for how Harris and Weaver perform against lottery pick Terrence Ross, too.
MONDAY, JULY 16
8:30 – 10:30 p.m. LA Lakers vs. Miami Heat. I've got no interest in this game. It's for die-hards only.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 18
10:30 – 12:30 a.m. Golden State Warriors vs. Miami Heat. The big matchups in this game should be Harris and Weaver vs. Klay Thompson and Saunders vs. Draymond Green.
SATURDAY, JULY 21 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers vs. Miami Heat. This is a big backcourt matchup. Cole vs. lottery pick Damian Lillard and Harris vs. one of the most productive SGs in college last season, Will Barton. This game will be the second big backcourt matchup in 2 nights for the HEAT. On July 20th, Cole will be matched up with one of the most productive PGs in the draft, Marcus Denmon.
Enjoy the summer league matchups. They're a nice distraction until LeBron hits London.
All college stats for this article came from DraftExpress.com.