Monday, July 23, 2012

HEAT Summer League: Terrel Harris Made the Strongest Case to Make the Roster

Jarvis Varnado led the HEAT against the Blazers, but Terrel Harris led the five players that stood out on the HEAT Summer League team.

This article uses Estimated Wins Produced, a statistic created by sports economist David Berri. Since an average team's winning percentage is 0.500, an average player produces 0.100 est. wins per 40 minutes (est.WP40). A star player produces 0.200 est.WP40 and great players produce 0.300 est.WP40. See the HEAT Produced Page for more information on Est. Wins Produced.

Most Productive Players vs. Blazers
The game against the Blazers was highlighted as one to watch in the Summer League Preview but the anticipated backcourt matchup didn't happen because the HEAT didn't play Norris Cole and Terrel Harris and the Blazers didn't play Damian Lillard but played Will Barton the entire game. It would've been nice to see how Harris played against Barton, an underrated SG prospect that produced like a lottery pick in college.

Varnado was the most productive HEAT player that suited up in the team's 26-point loss to the Blazers with 0.1 est. wins produced in 20 minutes (0.253 est.WP40) from 4 points, 40% shooting efficiency, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 fouls and 1 turnover. Even though it was a blowout, it was good to see Varnado be productive coming back from his abdominal strain injury after his terrible 2012 Summer League debut against the Spurs.

Robert Dozier, the other HEAT draft pick stuck overseas the last 2 seasons, was the 2nd most productive HEAT player with 0.1 est. wins produced in 18.4 minutes (0.266 est.WP40) from 2 points, 33% shooting efficiency, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 2 steals and 1 foul. Dozier was also playing in the Vegas Summer League after an injury, and like Varnado, it was good to see him be productive after a bad performance  against the Spurs.

Big men Dexter Pittman and Justin Hamilton were also productive against the Blazers. Big Pitt came off the bench to produce 0.1 est. wins produced in 20 minutes (0.245 est.WP40) from 13 points, 75% shooting efficiency, 5 rebounds, 4 fouls and 1 turnover. Justin Hamilton got his second start at center and produced 
0.1 est. wins in 18.4 minutes (0.230 est.WP40).

Barton was only the third most productive player for the Blazers with 0.2 est. wins produced in 40 minutes (0.163 est.WP40) from 27 points, 71% shooting efficiency, 2 assists, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls. Would've been nice to see if Harris's defense could've locked down Barton. The HEAT held opposing guards to 41% shooting efficiency and forced them into 4.9 turnovers per 40 minutes in the Vegas Summer League.

The spreadsheet below lists the wins produced estimated from the box score for all players in the game against the Blazers.

Most Productive HEAT Players in Vegas Summer League
Only five players provided above average production on the HEAT Summer League team and four of those names should be no surprise:

Since Harris, Cole, Pittman and Gladness were all on the HEAT roster last season, it should be no surprise that they were the most productive players on the Summer League team. As the Golden State Warriors found out, Viney was definitely a surprise.

Summer league is a pool of mediocre talent by NBA standards, but the combination of skill and hustle showed by the 5 most productive players on the HEAT Summer League team shows they either deserve to be on an NBA roster or the chance to fight for a spot in training camp. The HEAT declined the option to guarantee Harris's contract for next season, but he was nearly twice as productive as Cole in the Vegas Summer League. If the HEAT can't find a productive option to be the 3rd PG on the roster, then Harris deserves a spot on the team.

The spreadsheet below summarizes the wins produced estimated from all 5 games for HEAT players in the Vegas Summer League.

Who Should Get Invited to Training Camp?
The goal of players in the Vegas Summer League without guaranteed contracts is to get an invitation to training camp. The only two players on the HEAT Summer League team with a guaranteed contract for next season are Norris Cole and Dexter Pittman.

After signing Rashard Lewis, the HEAT have 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts and only two open spots on the roster. Harris, Viney and Gladness earned invitations to training camp to compete for those two spots with their Summer League play.

Below is a run down of how the training camp prospects look for the rest of the Players to Watch from the HEAT Summer League team.
  • Kyle Weaver: The player with the most NBA experience on the HEAT Summer League team was also the least productive guard on the roster with -0.028 est.WP40 and -0.1 est. wins produced. He wouldn't get a training camp invitation from me.
  • Jason Clark: The All-Big East First Team guard from Georgetown didn't play well in Vegas with just 0.013 est.WP40 and zero est. wins produced. Alonzo Mourning should have to pull some strings to get him an invitation to training camp.
  • Jarvis Varnado: An abdominal strain limited him to -0.069 est.WP40 and -0.1 est. wins produced in 2 games. He was the least productive forward on the 2012 HEAT Summer League Team, but the injury and his production on the 2010 HEAT Summer League get him a pass. He bounced back to be productive in his last summer league game and deserves a shot to compete for a roster spot in training camp. Especially since the HEAT need a young big man.
  • Damian Saunders: His production ranked 6th on the HEAT Summer League team but it was below average with 0.083 est.WP40, 0.2 est. wins produced. He was the 2nd most productive forward, but 2nd place isn't good enough when the HEAT are so loaded at small forward. No training camp invitation for him.
  • Robert Dozier: He only produced 0.053 est.WP40, 0.1 est. wins produced in summer league, but was recovering from injury. He was drafted in 2009 and the question is, "How long do you keep him in the HEAT pipeline?" His next training camp invitation should probably be his last and I consider him a longshot to make the roster.

That's a wrap for the 2012 HEAT Summer League: 15 players, 5 games and 7 prospects to invite for training camp.

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