2011 NBA Preview

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The much anticipated 2010-11 NBA season is set to debut in just one week. All the marquee free agents have signed and several players returned from injury to participate in the preseason, but there are still many questions to be considered. In this weeks post, I will take a look at which rookies have performed well this preseason, compare 50 years worth of teams with multiple elite scorers, compile a list of the oldest NBA teams in NBA history, and, finally, display my season projections.

As I found in preparing for last week’s post, preseason player stats are tough to come by. The only site with historical player statistics that I could find was nba.com. Rather than try to apply another metric, I decided to use nba.com’s Efficiency as an estimator of value. Efficiency uses a simple formula that adds points for positive contributions such as scoring, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals and subtracts points for negative contributions such as missed shots and turnovers.

Efficiency is usually expressed per game. It may not be the most accurate indicator of player value, but it’s a decent estimator. If a player logs enough minutes, Efficiency per 48 is a more appropriate measure of performance than Efficiency per game, but with limited minutes available in the preseason, I decided to use Efficiency per game.

Rookie Preseason Statistics



The rookie leaders in regular season efficiency over the past five years have won rookie of the year three times and finished second twice. These same five players also led all NBA rookies in preseason efficiency three times, finishing 2nd and 4th the other years, respectively. (For this purpose, I excluded the missed rookie season of Blake Grffin and Greg Oden.) In the following table, I list regular season and preseason efficiency, draft pick and rookie of the year finish for the leaders in regular season rookie efficiency and the Rookie of the Year winners since 2005-06.

Top Rookie Efficiency Ranks

YearPlayerPreseason*Regular SeasonDraft Pick*ROY Finish
2010Tyreke Evans2141
2009Brook Lopez11102
2008Al Horford1132
2007Brandon Roy4161
2006Chris Paul1141
2009Derrick Rose8211
2008Kevin Durant3211



*excludes Blake Griffin in 2009-10 and Greg Oden in 2007-08.


The following table displays the top rookie efficiencies over the past six seasons. (2010 preseason statistics have been updated through Sunday, October 17th games.)

Rookies Preseason Stats

YearPlayerTeamEFFPickGPMPGPPGEFF48ROY Finish
2011Blake GriffinLAC24.51629.517.339.92
2010Blake GriffinLAC18.71728.113.732.01
2010DeJuan BlairSAS17.937717.713.948.34
2008Al HorfordATL173830.111.227.162
2011DeMarcus CousinsSAC16.65525.216.431.64
2011John WallWAS15.81635.516.221.5
2007Marcus WilliamsNJN15.8226281627
2009Brook LopezNJN15.510628.811.825.83
2007Rajon RondoBOS15.421829.211.125.1812
2011Jordan CrawfordATL1527434.816.820.77
2009Greg OdenPOR14.81623.811.530.13
2006Chris PaulNOK14.74626.79.21
2010Tyreke EvansSAC14.44731.415.121.951
2009Michael BeasleyMIA14.32724.616.427.897
2010Ty LawsonDEN14.118718.110.637.64
2009DeMarcus NelsonGSW13.8Undrafted621.39.530.78
2006Charlie VillanuevaTOR13.87630.5162
2010Taj GibsonCHI13.526828.412.422.875
2009Rudy FernandezPOR13.424529.41221.849
2011Evan TurnerPHI13.22532.81019.38
2010Jonny FlynnMIN13.16826.914.623.415
2009Mike TaylorLAC13.155823.912.426.55
2007Steve NovakHOU13.132724.612.125.65
2007Brandon RoyPOR12.96834.814.817.811
2010Stephen CurryGSW12.87828.41021.452
2009O.J. MayoMEM12.83829.615.420.582
2008Anthony RobersonDEN12.8Undrafted527.614.222.2
2006Channing FryeNYK12.7861911.25
2010DeMarre CarrollMEM12.627825.59.923.84
2008Kevin DurantSEA12.3263018.819.821
2011Jeremy EvansUTA12.255517.2834.39
2011Manny HarrisCLE12.2Undrafted519.69.829.92
2009Derrick RoseCHI12.11828.413.920.531
2008Luis ScolaHOU12.157725.19.623.353
2006Danny GrangerIND1217527.210.67
2009Marc GasolMEM11.948825.17.222.668
2007Paul MillsapUTA11.947817.47.932.586
2008Al ThorntonLAC11.814827.616.220.414
2006Andrew BogutMIL11.61727.47.93
2010Omri CasspiSAC11.32372111.725.77
2008Darius WashingtonSAS11.3Undrafted7219.325.81
2011Greg MonroeDET11.27627.2919.7
2006Nate RobinsonNYK11.22162510.2
2009Marreese SpeightsPHI11.116720.49.626.1
2007Tyrus ThomasCHI114819.49.4279
2007Shelden WilliamsATL115822.68.523.34
2009Roy HibbertIND10.9178199.227.74
2010Terrence WilliamsNJN10.911724.711.321.06
2007Rudy GayMEM10.98727.413.919.153
2009Kevin LoveMIN10.85821.28.524.346
2008Rodney StuckeyDET10.815825.612.120.02
2007Leon PoweBOS10.649514.46.234.35
2008Michael HarrisHOU10.5Undrafted213.5537.26
2009Luc Mbah a MouteMIL10.437830.48.116.37
2007Alexander JohnsonMEM10.445820.48.424.65
2009Mario ChalmersMIA10.334723.37.321.211
2009Eric GordonLAC10.37723.614.621.085
2006Sarunas JasikeviciusIND10.3Undrafted622.29.8
2010Brandon JenningsMIL10.21082610.919.053
2009Ryan AndersonNJN10.221613.58.836.01
2006Raymond FeltonCHA10.25625.7114
2011Timofey MozgovNYK10.2Undrafted518.28.426.6
2010Jeff TeagueATL10.119726.912.118.15
2008Aaron GrayCHI10.149717928.47
2008Joakim NoahCHI10.19723.17.621.02
2006Ryan GomesBOS10.150720.77.79
2006Joey GrahamTOR1016427.211
2011Nikola PekovicMIN9.731616.58.728



Overall, the current group of rookies has played pretty well, but Blake Griffin clearly is a notch above the rest. I was initially concerned that his injured knee would hamper his explosiveness, but now I think his biggest worry should be re-injuring himself from one of his reckless plays. (I only saw him play once this preseason, but he fell very dangerously a couple times when he was trying to make low probability plays.)


There were many players who arguably exceeded exceptions in the preseason and went on to exceed them in the regular season such as Blair, Rondo, Horford, Robin Lopez, Paul, Evans, Brook Lopez, Lawson and Villanueva. Of course, other such as Marcus Williams and DeMarcus Nelson exceeded expectations in the preseason, but their value in the regular season never matched up. I’ll be interested to see how Jordan Crawford pans out. (Yes, the same guy who is probably more known for dunking on Lebron.)


The Spurs two most significant rookie acquisitions have yet to impress. The Spurs’ first round pick in 2010, James Anderson, has struggled in limited minutes with an Efficiency of 5.2 in 18.8 MPG. Hopefully, he can improve throughout the season. Tiago Splitter has yet to see action in any preseason games.

Big 3 Scorers



Much has been made of Miami’s Big Three. I wouldn’t hesitate to call this the most significant off-season move(s) of all time. Wade and Lebron are both very good passers, but since those two and Bosh have all been significant scorers, many question how they will be able to share the rock without limiting effectiveness, and justifiably so. In order to look at other top heavy teams and teams who acquired big scorers, I selected the top 15 teams sorted by the percentage of team points last year for each team’s big 3. “Similar Player Mins LY” represents the percentage of player minutes that were similar last year to the measured year. Teams with low figures had significant turnover. The average team has a percentage around 60%. I included last year’s and the current year’s winning percentage.

Big 3's - Teams Sorted by Highest Percentage of Team Points Last Year

TeamYearLY Pts/TmPts Big 3Similar Player Mins LYW%LY Tm W%
LAL2003/0474%54%68%61%
MIA2010/1172%46%57%
SFW1962/6371%56%39%61%
DAL2003/0466%49%63%73%
GSW1972/7365%74%57%62%
UTA1990/9165%79%66%67%
PHI1982/8365%55%79%71%
PHI1975/7665%47%56%41%
WAS2006/0764%72%50%51%
BOS2001/0264%61%60%44%
MIN2004/0564%68%54%71%
SAS1982/8364%38%65%59%
PHI1999/0064%64%60%56%
DEN2006/0764%37%55%54%
ATL1988/8963%63%63%61%



With short term memory, it might be easy to forget the hype surrounding the 2003-04 Lakers, who acquired Karl Malone and Gary Payton. With Kobe and Shaq already accounting for a high percentage of the teams points, the addition of Malone put them above the Miami’s big 3 in the above table. A couple teams such as Wilt’s 1962-63 Warriors and the 2006-07 Wizards simply relied on existing stars to an extreme extent. Others such as the 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks and 2006-07 Nuggets brought in high usage players (Antawn Jamison, Antoine Walker and Allen Iverson).


On this list of 14, the average team wins 49 games, but only one (the 1983 76ers) has won the championship. The thing that really sets the Heat apart from the rest of this group is the efficiency of their stars. The Usage Rates of Bosh, Wade and James nearly add up to 100% over the past two years and their combined offensive ratings exceed 115. The Usage rates pretty much need to decrease by definition, but the Offensive Ratings will increase as these players will now share the heavy workload of low percentage shots. In addition, each can expect to be recipients of much easier scores now that defenses are unable to focus on them with the same intensity as before.

If we expect the Usage rates to fall to 80% and the Offensive Ratings to increase to 120 and each player to play 36 MPG, the remaining players would only need a combined Offensive Rating of 109 to break that all time team single season record. League average has been 108 over the past 2 years.

Oldest Teams



John Hollinger wonders when age will catch up to the Dallas Mavericks in his 2011 team preview. Spurs fans are well aware that their team isn’t exactly an up-and-coming, either. There were several years in which San Antonio has been among the oldest teams in the NBA, but admittedly, most of those veterans were role players. With that said, historically, older teams have done very well:

Oldest Teams

TeamYearAvgAgeW%LYW%
UTA2000/013267%65%
HOU1997/9831.970%50%
UTA1999/0031.574%67%
SAS2007/0831.471%68%
CHI1997/9831.484%76%
SEA1998/993174%50%
SEA1997/983170%74%
UTA2002/0330.954%57%
SAS1999/0030.874%65%
MIA2000/0130.863%61%
DAL2009/1030.761%67%
ORL1997/9830.755%50%
DAL2010/1130.767%
IND1998/9930.771%66%
HOU1996/9730.759%70%
CHI1996/9730.688%84%
DET1990/9130.572%61%
DAL1990/9130.457%34%
SAS2006/0730.477%71%
SAS2008/0930.468%66%
NYK1995/9630.367%57%
BOS1968/6930.366%59%
UTA1998/9930.376%74%
LAL1972/7330.384%73%
NOH2003/0430.357%50%
MIA1998/9930.267%66%
IND1999/0030.266%68%
CHI1974/7530.266%57%
BOS2010/1130.261%
NYK2001/0230.259%37%
MIL1991/9230.259%38%
BOS1989/9030.151%63%
NYK1997/9830.170%52%
MIA2001/0230.161%44%
POR2000/0130.172%61%
SAS1998/9930.168%74%
NYK2002/0330.137%45%
DET1991/9230.161%59%
DET1992/9329.959%49%
LAL2010/1129.970%
SAS2010/1129.961%
UTA2001/0229.965%54%
SEA1996/9729.978%70%
SAS1996/9729.872%24%
LAL2003/0429.861%68%
MIL2002/0329.850%51%
NYK2000/0129.861%59%
TOR2000/0129.855%57%
SAS2005/0629.872%77%
BOS1987/8829.872%70%
CHI1995/9629.857%88%
NYK1996/9729.757%70%
HOU2004/0529.755%62%
UTA1997/9829.778%76%
BOS1977/7829.754%39%
MIN2003/0429.762%71%
PHO2010/1129.666%
NYK2003/0429.645%48%
ATL1998/9929.661%62%
IND1997/9829.648%71%
UTA1994/9529.665%73%
DEN1988/8929.566%54%
UTA1996/9729.567%78%
DET2001/0229.539%61%
BOS1966/6729.568%74%
HOU1998/9929.550%62%
NYK1999/0029.554%61%
POR1999/0029.570%72%
LAL1971/7229.559%84%
DET1989/9029.577%72%
SEA1995/9629.570%78%
SAS2000/0129.565%71%
PHO2008/0929.467%56%
NYK1994/9529.470%67%
BOS1986/8729.482%72%
SAS1995/9629.476%72%
LAL1988/8929.476%70%
BOS1967/6829.474%66%
UTA1995/9629.473%67%
LAL1968/6929.463%67%
ATL1997/9829.468%61%
UTA1993/9429.357%65%
ORL1996/9729.373%55%
IND1995/9629.363%63%
BOS1985/8629.377%82%
BOS2009/1029.376%61%
MIL1990/9129.354%59%
WAS1998/9929.351%36%
POR1994/9529.357%54%
PHO2007/0829.374%67%
SAC2003/0429.372%67%
UTA1992/9329.267%57%
MIA1999/0029.266%63%
CHA1997/9829.266%62%
BOS1991/9229.268%62%
POR2002/0329.260%61%
DAL1989/9029.246%57%
PHO1998/9929.268%54%
PHO1994/9529.268%72%
LAL2000/0129.182%68%
BOS1974/7529.168%73%
MIA2006/0729.163%54%
DEN1989/9029.154%52%
DAL2008/0929.162%61%
LAL1999/0029.162%82%
NOH2002/0329.154%57%
MIL2001/0229.163%50%
NYK1998/992952%54%
TOR2001/022957%51%
POR2001/022961%60%
TOR1999/002946%55%
BOS1975/762973%66%



These teams won an average of 62.3% of their games, down from 64.7% the prior year. The decrease probably has something to do with the effects of age, but remember that both good and bad teams naturally tend to get closer to average.


Another factor of the high success of older teams is that older players seem to often retire with something left to contribute. In other cases, they may are more likely to be removed from a team because a younger players are considered a better investment. In theory, this effect should be lessened by teams utilizing the services of the NBA Developmental League.

Team Projections



Here are my projections for the 2011 NBA season.

2011 NBA Projections

Eastern ConferenceWestern Conference
TeamProjected WinsTeamProjected Wins
Miami69LA Lakers56
Orlando57Utah51
Boston56Portland51
Atlanta44Oklahoma City48
Chicago41Dallas48
Milwaukee41San Antonio48
Cleveland35Houston45
Charlotte34New Orleans44
New York34Denver44
Washington33Memphis40
Philadelphia32Phoenix38
Indiana32LA Clippers34
New Jersey31Golden State32
Toronto30Minnesota26
Detroit30Sacramento26



The Miami Heat project to challenge 70 wins. I feel that Houston and Portland could improve on these win totals if Yao Ming and Greg Oden can make significant contributions. For Denver and any potential trading destinations, a Carmelo Anthony trade could also shake things up.

Many feel that Cleveland will sink to the depths of the league. While I feel this might have been the case last year, the addition of Antawn Jamison could go a long way (If his knees hold up.) He averaged over 21 points with good efficiency over the past 3 years with Washington. Mo Williams also averaged over 17 PPG with a 57% true shooting percentage (Pts/TSA/2). Remember, the Cavs still have quality role players in Anderson Varejao, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, J.J. Hickson, Daniel Gibson and have just added Ramon Sessions. I have them making the playoffs with only 35 wins in a top heavy Eastern Conference.

The Spurs have many variables that could potentially go either way. Other than the ages of Duncan and Ginobili, Parker has yet to show he can return to his form from 2009. George Hill and James Anderson have potential, but have struggled thus far in the preseason. Some are hopeful that Richard Jefferson will improve on last season’s contributions, but so far, his preseason numbers haven’t confirmed this suspicion. Perhaps the most reasonable source of potential improvement is Tiago Splitter. However, Splitter himself has yet to see any action in the preseason. With all accounted for, I have the Spurs likely to finish down 2 games from last year, at 48, with a 6th seed in the Western Conference playoff spot. Hopefully all the pieces will be clicking by then.

  • Jim Henderson

    This the very reason why the young guns of OKC could very well win a title before Miami (though probably not this year because sufficient experience does matter, and they’re probably not quite there yet).

    http://nba.fanhouse.com/2010/10/19/kevin-durant-shows-why-he-is-ultimate-teammate-on-si-cover/

    And believe me, this is a sincere Durant being quoted. It’s not a PR move.

    “The magazine wanted Durant to pose for the cover of the Oct. 25 basketball preview issue, which hits newsstands Wednesday. The high-scoring forward said that was fine as long as he was joined on the cover by Sefolosha, a Swiss guard, and Krstic, a Serbian center.

    “Yeah, basically I had to say it like that,” Durant said before the Thunder’s preseason game Tuesday at Denver.

    Durant, regarded by many as the ultimate team player despite having led the NBA in scoring last season, didn’t want to pose by himself. But why didn’t he want to be joined by fellow Thunder top players Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green?

    “Everybody knows about Jeff and Russell,” Durant said.

  • SpursfanSteve

    Jim, I’d take those matchups because I’d rather have Artest and Fisher try to beat us than Kobe/Pau. Best way to beat the Lakers (or any team, for that matter) is to force the ball as much as possible to their weakest links, and on offense that is clearly Fisher and Artest. While both came through last year, I still doubt Artest could carry a team offensively on a consistent basis. Thats why i think the matchups favor us so much. The more the Lakers try to exploit the Artest/Manu matchup, the less Kobe has the ball. And would we rather have the two of them posting up, or Kobe/Pau/Odom/Bynum?

    I know it’s easier said than done, but i think thats the best way to play them.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 20th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    “Why is it humorous? Pretty much every stat guy is picking Miami to win an incredible number of games.”

    A 69-win season (accomplished by just two teams out of 1200 in the past 60 years) needs to either be backed up by a more thorough evaluation, or more casually passed off as a fanciful guess. The latter I referred to as “humorous”. And as I’ve said on numerous occasions, stats are only part of the equation when making evaluations of individual or team success. I’ll put more weight in the views of successful former coaches that have been in the trenches of the competition, and who knows how to evaluate ALL the personal and professional strengths of NBA players, who truly understand the special nature of teamwork & team chemistry, and who know how absolutely difficult it is to win a lot of games against the best talent in the world.

    For example, Hubie Brown has obviously not jumped on the Heat bandwagon, and for good reason:

    “Hubie Brown (who joins Van Gundy for Friday’s game) is most curious about this: “Are they deep enough at center? Will Joel Anthony’s man need to be double-teamed in the post? Can they take care of the defensive boards? Remember, Boston could not keep the Lakers off the defensive boards in Game 7. Even though they were without Kendrick Perkins, they still had Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace. And the Lakers really helped themselves with Steve Blake and Matt Barnes.”

    Brown had lots of praise for Miami but raised two cautionary points: 1) The Lakers did not win a title in the two years that Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West were healthy for the playoffs (1969 and 1970). 2) He reminded that Spain (with only two NBA starters: Paul Gasol and Marc Gasol) trailed by just two points with eight minutes left in the 2008 gold-medal Olympic game (won by the U.S., 118-107) “and we had Wade, Kobe Bryant, LeBron, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony.”

    Said Brown: “It’s easy for players to say, `We’ll all accept roles.’ It all sounds good in the summer. In Boston, Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen all took six to eight less shots a game. When you take that many less shots, are you going to be happy?”

  • Jim Henderson

    SpursfanSteve
    October 20th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    “I know it’s easier said than done, but i think thats the best way to play them.”

    It may be the best way to play them, but it is still unlikely to succeed. Other than that, we’ll just have to agree to disagree. With our roster as is, I don’t believe we’ve solved the match-up problem with LA.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “And as I’ve said on numerous occasions, stats are only part of the equation when making evaluations of individual or team success.”

    Luckily you’re not the authority on this.

    He came up with a model and reported the results. It may turn out not to be true. Even an extremely accurate model would have outliers and acceptable margin for error and this may be the case with the Heat. Of course, every model is saying they will be historically good. If you want to come up with reasons why it won’t turn out that way fine, but it’s far from ridiculous. I have no problem with you disagreeing and giving your opinion, but you constantly have a tone of that suggests other people are idiots for disagreeing with you.

    “This the very reason why the young guns of OKC could very well win a title before Miami ”

    I love Durant, but I don’t think that has much to do with winning titles. Jordan wouldn’t have wanted anyone else with him in the shoot and I don’t think that hampered him. I think you put to much stock in what happens off the court when it comes to on the court performance.

  • Greyberger

    Re: wp48, just like any model that combines stats into one number it comes with assumptions about the inputs. Reasonable people can disagree and even bicker about whether the model is handling everything properly…

    The scoring part of WP48 is points-FGA+1/2FTA. Positive contribution through field goals thus boils down to buckets over an eFG of 50%. Tim Duncan is a career 127 buckets over 50% eFG. Tony Parker is a similar story – he gets positive credit for his free throw scoring contributions, but his FG efficiency is so close to the break-even threshold that the model sees it as neither positive nor negative.

    Other models set the threshold lower or include volume or usage in the model somehow. in the second case the model distinguishes between players who take a lot of shots and a big role in the offense and those who are efficient in limited opportunities. That seems better to me than setting the bar so low that everyone is well above the break-even point (like PER does).

    With the threshold at efg 50% most players have a negative or barely positive contribution in field offense, with FTA having much more impact. Berri and WP48 make the case that scoring production is overrated but they might make it too strongly. In their model there’s no difference between efficient players with tiny offensive impact and efficient players whose offense leads dynasties.

    Whether to just look at total rebounds or value offensive and defensive rebounds differently is a judgment call of a different sort. The authors justify their position with theory but it is not the consensus one. Since the most important parts of the game (scoring efficiency and defensive scoring efficiency) are either not modeled or don’t move the needle much, rebounding ends up being very important. Players who rebound well or on a fast-paced team and stay out of the way on offense can have a very high WP48.

    This leads to the position adjustments, which you mentioned. Without adjusting frontcourt players total WP down significantly and shooting guard’s WP up by just as much the season leaders would be all centers and forwards. So that’s what they do.

    The problem is that all along we’ve been told that individual skill in scoring, rebounds, etc. produce the team stats, whose value corresponds to team net efficiency and thus wins. One rebound is worth one possession is worth an average value on its own. How then can a rebound from a SG be worth almost twice what a rebound from a C is, then? Or Centers’ turnovers be twice as harmful? The difference between a shooting guard and a small forward varies from team to team and from context to context, but in WP48 it is a constant of considerable weight.

    These are the ‘compromises’ and decisions that they had to make when creating a usable model. It’s no different for statistical plus minus, win shares, or PER. You can put pretty much any part of WP48 under the microscope – assists deserve a paragraph – and what seems like a simple model at first now requires you to keep all sorts of stuff in mind. This is why I think these all-in-one stats are more valuable for the what the process of creating them teaches us than the end results.

    For an alternative to linear-weight omnistats like WP48, or a really deep dig into WP48 from a critical perspective, I encourage you to check out DSMok’s advanced SPM here

    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=2603

    and a critical look at WP48 and how it might be more complex than advertised:

    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?t=877

  • Phife

    I did some research last night and found this:

    Tim Duncan played in 78 regular season games last season. He played more than 32 minutes in 38 of those 78 games.

    The Spurs were 13-25 in those games.

    34-6 when he played less than 32 minutes.

    We should have a better record the less he plays, we don’t want his knee’s being used in blow-outs, but I believe the 32 minute mark is when Timmy starts to become less efficient. It’s probable he even becomes some what of a liability when he gets that much floor time.

    Tiago/Blair combo please be good enough to keep Timmy around 25-30 mins a game. Maybe he’ll actually have some gas left him by the time the playoffs roll around instead of having to rely only on his superior Bball intellect and heart, which he still at times dominated with.

  • Hobson13

    I wouldn’t have imagined the debate on the Heat’s season would have become so heated (forgive the pun). If there is one phrase that I believe will sum up the Heat’s season it is the old investment adage “Past performances do not indicate future results.” I understand the argument that the Heat have great talent, however, raw talent alone does not win championships (I think many here would admit that, but I doubt they really understand that statement). Neither Bosh nor James have proven they can carry teams to the promised land. In fact, their capitulation to Wade and the Heat make it evident that neither believe they can make it alone even though James had a very nice supporting cast.

    Let’s evaluate the Heat’s top 4 players. Last year Wade averaged 22 FGA/game, James averaged 20 FGA/game, Miller averaged 8 FGA/game, and Bosh averaged 17 FGA/game for a total of 67 FGA/game. Last year the Heat played at the 28th fastest pace in the league (obviously a very slow team) and took only 77 FGA/game. At this rate, the top 4 Heat players will take 87% of the team’s shots. This will not work.

    Sure, the Big 3 say they can give up shots and indeed they’ve proven it to some small measure in the Olympics. However, the NBA season stretches for more than 6 months while Team USA with it’s All-star cast plays for, at best, 6 weeks. There’s a big difference here. We’ll see how long their newfound unselfishness will last.

    Besides the obvious issues with scoring, there’s only one player on this team that has any sort of championship pedigree and he is Dwade. I will say that while Wade won a championship, he did have help from Shaq AND the Heat played mental neophyte Mavericks who notoriously imploded. The Heat are generally regarded as one of the weaker champions in NBA history. Adding to this, Wade and the Heat have made little noise in the previous 5 years so even Wade’s championship pedigree can rightfully come under scrutiny.

    Finally comes team chemistry. The Bulls of 95-96 were a team that had played together (outside of Jordan’s 2 year hiatus) for a while. The Heat is chocked full of pivotal players who have NEVER played together on a consistent basis. This Frankenstein is contstructed of players from all over the league such as Washington, Cleveland, Boston, Portland, and a handful of rookies. This, IMO, is not a team that can come together in a short period of time and compete against veteran teams. The Bulls didn’t do it in 95-96 and the league has only gotten stronger over the past 15 years.

    Bottom line: I see very little chance of the Heat getting past 64 wins even in the East. When it comes to Lebron, Wade, and Bosh who were focal points on their previous teams and therefore have inflated numbers compared to what they will produce this year, 1+1+1 does not equal 3. It probably only equals 2 or 2.5.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 20th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I think we can all agree that “production stats” of individual players don’t provide a direct line to “extremely” high win-totals or championships (for example, for 1995-96 Bulls team, adding up their individual production stats from the prior year would not have predicted 72 wins in the 1995-96 season). Thus the “model” will be at least somewhat lacking in predictive value by default.

    To enhance predictive value, an idea would be to tweak a stats-based model by establishing a reasonably standardized measure for a broad range of “intangibles” that have shown to influence team success ratios at the highest levels (e.g., conduct preseason coaches/GM surveys, etc.). In a previous post on this thread I outlined a small sample of some variables that might work for such purposes, like coaching, experience, team turnover (or lack thereof), leadership, personal qualities/character, prior success as a team, “fit”/talent of role players, etc. And while I’d prefer to have access to a group of standardized data of this nature, I have at least through careful observation taken the preceding variables into account in my evaluation of a team’s likely level of success.

    I know, you want to think that everything can be best predicted by just using “objective”, stat-based measures (you put little credence in ANY subjective measures). But I’m afraid predicting basketball team success just doesn’t work that way, not without some meaningful drawbacks. There are simply too many influential variables that cannot be adequately measured by “entirely objective” data points.

    “I have no problem with you disagreeing and giving your opinion, but you constantly have a tone of that suggests other people are idiots for disagreeing with you.”

    Look, if someone is going to come up with an official-looking stats-based model, without in some detail addressing the relevant intangibles, to predict an unheard of win total (again, 2 teams out of 1200 in 60 years) for a team that hasn’t played one game together yet, I’m going register some direct critique. I’m simply making an argument that has not as yet been specifically or effectively countered: that is, a thoughtful look at all the relevant intangibles should be looked at carefully if one is going to predict a win-loss record that has HARDLY EVER occurred in 60+ years of NBA action. Otherwise the prediction lacks some credibility.

    “I love Durant, but I don’t think that has much to do with winning titles. Jordan wouldn’t have wanted anyone else with him in the shoot and I don’t think that hampered him.”

    Durant is more naturally self-effacing publicly than Jordan was. The point is Durant is sincerely appreciative of ALL of his players, and values and respects them as integral members of the team, which is simply reflected in the SI cover and back story. While Jordan was more arrogant, what’s been reported over the years by those that had an inside look, was that Jordan was also extremely appreciative of his teammates, and respected them by demanding a lot from them, while also showing them that he truly “believed” in their ability to help the team in important ways. These character traits of appreciation, respect, deep belief in teammates, and perseverance are all reflective of key leadership qualities needed from stars to be able to accomplish, in due time, greatness as a team. And I just have serious doubts that the stars in Miami have what it takes in this regard. Too much into themselves at the core of their personalities, too much about image, and too much into instant gratification. But we’ll see. I could certainly have it wrong, you never know.

  • rob

    Oh Lord

  • badger

    I recall 8 teams winning more than 50 in the West last year, but only 3 or 4 winning over 50 in the East. With Miami’s move, it would not surprise me if the East had the same or even less with over 50. However, having only 3 teams in the West with over 50 seems, well, an idiotic prediction to me. No offense. It is entirely possible that Texas alone will have three 50 game winners this year.

    Are the “bad” teams in the league going to gain that much distance in just one season? I think not.

  • Jim Henderson

    Phife
    October 20th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    “Tim Duncan played in 78 regular season games last season. He played more than 32 minutes in 38 of those 78 games.

    The Spurs were 13-25 in those games.

    34-6 when he played less than 32 minutes.”

    Interesting data. I have to say I’m surprised by the extent of the discrepancy because Duncan is still our most valuable player, and close to our most productive (along with Manu). In other words, the more TD is on the floor the more one would expect our success in terms of wins to manifest.

    You didn’t mention a fairly obvious mitigating factor that likely skewed the results somewhat. That is, Duncan generally is played more minutes against stiffer competition, and played less minutes against weaker competition. Thus, we are bound to lose at a higher rate when Duncan plays more minutes because of this factor.

    However, even taking this into account, the discrepancy in win-loss record based on +/- 32 minutes for TD is too wide to be explained by the mitigating factor just mentioned alone. As a result, I’m inclined to agree that your general hypothesis that TD generally becomes less effective when exceeding a certain threshold in minutes is valid, and that the team may suffer to some extent as a result.

    Speaking of threshold though, have you tried to flesh out whether indeed the 32 minute mark is the magical point? For example, did you look at our win-loss records with TD exceeding 28, 29, 30, 31, 33 …. minutes? Also, were there any other variables you can think of that were omitted from consideration, which could have meaningfully influenced your results, and your tentative conclusions?

  • Jim Henderson

    By the way, I very much agree with Scott’s take on the Cav’s prospects in the wake of the fall-out from the James departure. That team is clearly talented enough, with an excellent coach, to be in the thick of the playoff race for the last 2-3 spots in the East. An unconventional call, but a sound one in my view. If the preseason is ANY indication, they might have a shot at 40 wins. But again, this would require the extreme top-down predictions in the East to be modified to some extent.

  • Bankshot21

    Jim Henderson
    October 20th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    “With our roster as is, I don?t believe we?ve solved the match-up problem with LA.”

    I must say I whole heartedly disagree with this statement. We were one of the few teams that actually matched up well with the Lakers last season. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we take 2 out of 3 from the Lakers last season? Or was it a 2-2 split? Either way we played them well. Injuries are of no consequence because history says they beat us in the ’08 WCF but it doesn’t mention the injury bug that plagued us.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “I think we can all agree that “production stats” of individual players don’t provide a direct line to “extremely” high win-totals or championships (for example, for 1995-96 Bulls team, adding up their individual production stats from the prior year would not have predicted 72 wins in the 1995-96 season). Thus the “model” will be at least somewhat lacking in predictive value by default.”

    I don’t necessarily agree and I don’t know that your example of the Bulls is a good one. Jordan didn’t return to the Bulls until March of 95 . They won 47 games without Jordan for most of the season, and he was rusty when he returned. The next season the added practiced Jordan for the full season and Dennis Rodman, two highly productive players. It seems like those guys would have easily added 25 wins. So at first glance it would appear that your example is actually counter to your argument, but I can’t say for sure without actually looking at the previous production for players on the 1995-96 roster.

    “I know, you want to think that everything can be best predicted by just using “objective”, stat-based measures”

    Not really. Like I said, for any statistical measure there will be outliers and margin of error. I also believe that once a model is constructed it can be fun to pick out the one that you feel it got wrong. I just object to you calling it ridiculous and acting like your subjective arguments are fact.

    “That is, Duncan generally is played more minutes against stiffer competition, and played less minutes against weaker competition. Thus, we are bound to lose at a higher rate when Duncan plays more minutes because of this factor”

    Also, did TD play more because of injuries to other key players? Just something else to consider.

  • bduran

    Greyberger,

    What Berri did was regression analysis on box score stats, so he doesn’t choose the weights. That’s why it’s not subjective or a compromise. It’s just a result of the math. Except for the position adjustment of course which is why I mentioned it. You can get the unadjusted numbers through a link on his page.

  • Phife

    @ Jim/Bduran

    I went back and looked at McDyess and Blair’s minutes to win/loss.

    Antonio averaged 21 MPG last season.

    We were 22-9 when he played more 22+ minutes, 23-21 when he did not.

    Blair played in all 82 (ACL’s, who needs them?) averaged 18 MPG. We were 35-14(!) when he played more then 16 minutes (around his average) and 15-18 when he played less.

    Of course, neither McDyess nor Blair are relied on as much as Timmy is.

    Manu, on the other hand, is very much-so relied on almost as heavily. Manu averaged 29 MPG last season.

    20-17 when over his average.

    25-12 when under.

    After looking over this, Popovich’s genius really shines through. He knows how to get the best out of his players and when to sit them when they become less-efficient/exhausted.

    Efficiency will go down the longer players are in the game. More time = more mistakes.

    If we had a second year Blair LAST year and a rookie Tiago last season, I believe we could’ve fought for the #1 seed. It’s all about using the little valuable time Duncan has each night efficiently as possible, then having players able to hold on to a lead and play some defense.

    I want to go break down every post player that Duncan played along side each game, but that’ll have to wait for tonight.

    Also this:

    Duncan 2005 season: 36-12 over 32 mins.

    14-4 under 32 mins

    Duncan 2008-2009 season: 31-18 over 32 mins.

    18-8 under 32 mins

    His knees will be dust soon, I’m afraid. Good thing he keeps elevating every part of his game that doesn’t require them.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 21st, 2010 at 6:24 am

    “So at first glance it would appear that your example is actually counter to your argument, but I can’t say for sure without actually looking at the previous production for players on the 1995-96 roster.”

    Look it up. You’ll see that I’m right.

    “I just object to you calling it ridiculous and acting like your subjective arguments are fact.”

    But I didn’t call it “ridiculous”, I said it was an unusually bold prediction not supported by all the material facts. The fact is when you look at all the relevant data points (objective & subjective), the Heat really don’t compare to the 1995-96 Bulls, the last, & just the 2nd team to ever win 69+ games.

  • Greyberger

    Re: bduran, not everything input in WP48 is there from a regression. In fact a lot of inputs are derived ‘logically’ or ‘through theory’ from the initial regression.

    The key regressions he runs are for Possessions Employed and Possessions Aquired. He doesn’t directly run regressions on the individual inputs (rebounds, steals, turnovers etc). If he did, he would come up with different values for the different inputs. Instead he regresses to find the value of aquiring a posession (PA) and the cost of using one (PE).

    The scoring term comes from the regression of PE. Everything else is based on the value of acquiring or losing one possession, which is just one PA. That’s why an ORB, DRB, STL, TO forced and FGA forced all have the same value – if he had done a regression with all of those as terms they would have come up with different values.

    The entire model is just PE (scoring part), the PA stuff (possession part), assists and blocks (which are not regressed either but imported from a separate model), and the two adjustments made after the fact. I suppose you could say it’s based on regression but only compared to models that don’t employ it at all. The end result is not as much a product of regression as other omnistats now out there.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    October 21st, 2010 at 6:21 am

    “Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we take 2 out of 3 from the Lakers last season? Or was it a 2-2 split?”

    We split with them, and one of the games Kobe played less than half the game with back spasms and was absent in the crucial 4th period.

    The fact is we still don’t match their youth/size/experience/talent on the front line. No objective observer would say otherwise.

  • bduran

    Greyberger,

    sorry, you’re right. It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed his method. So his goal is to develop a model based on the box score, but he wants to use offensive and defensive efficiency instead of actual wins to do it. Hence his more complicated methodology although his still uses multiple regressions to get there.

    http://arturogalletti.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/win-regression-for-the-nba-2/

    The above is a link to a regression on the box score. This is what I was thinking of when I was thinking of the Wins Produced calculation. The values on Team stats don’t look to different then the values for Wins Produced so I’m not sure how much it matters.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “Look it up. You’ll see that I’m right.”

    It would seem that you already have. Can you give me a link? Thanks.

  • Jim Henderson

    Just a snapshot: Everything’s about LeBron

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoopmiamiheat/post/_/id/232/lebron-james-burning-inside

    “With such keen awareness, James has heard the hecklers in the crowd over the years and responded to them often. He knows, by peeking at side scoreboards, whether he was not given an assist when he felt he deserved one and sends an objection to the stats crew…..

    ……Once in a game in James’ rookie year, he was waiting to check in at the scorer’s table when a voice caught his attention. A female fan in the front row was calling to him, yelling “Lee-Bron.” As he got up to check in, he leaned over to a person at the scorer’s table and said: “Tell her it is pronounced ‘La-Bron.’”….

    …..Yet he kept taking it in, kept reading, listening and watching. A month after signing with the Heat, James fired off a tweet verifying that. He wrote, “Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!”…..

    …….He’s still taking notes and still reading at least some of the hundreds of negative Twitter messages that come in by the day. And there’s no doubt he’ll listen to the hecklers who are sure to arrive nightly, especially in the cities where he turned down contract offers this summer.”

    Obviously James is an ultra-talented player, but he cares way too much about people on the outside (many he doesn’t even know) trying to bring down his “image” — to pop his bubble. This is ultimately a distraction from the focus necessary to win multiple titles, and is probably the main character trait that could prevent James from realizing the ultimate in “team” success. Maybe he can mature and overcome this impediment before his prime window for a title begins to close. But only time will tell for sure.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    “bold win prediction make it sensible or humorous.”

    This is why I chimed in. This statement strongly implies that the prediction is not sensible and that it’s humorous. You are right that you didn’t use the word ridiculous. Kudos.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 21st, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s sensible. So I was saying at least pass it off as a fanciful, or at least a “very” optimistic guess, in which case you could easily lace the post with some humor to soften the “boldness” of the call.

  • bduran

    Jim,

    I think the same thing about many of your comments, so i’d appreciate it if you’d do the same and try to make them humorous at least.

    Also, do you have a link to production stats that support your argument? I’ve looked around some and haven’t found anything that does. Since you’ve already looked it up, i’d appreciate you saving me the time.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 21st, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I rarely if ever make comments comparable to a purportedly data-backed case suggesting that a team should win 69 games in one season, all the while recognizing that only two teams in NBA history have ever accomplished such a feat out of approximately 1200 teams over 60 years. Granted, some of my comments might push buttons for some, but the great majority of the more substantive ones meet the classic definition of “sensible”.

    “Also, do you have a link to production stats that support your argument?”

    You’re the one that raised doubts about my argument. Thus the onus is on you to provide evidence of it’s inaccuracy. If you look carefully at that Bull’s roster, it becomes pretty obvious that 72 wins were not in the cards. But if you can come up with the data to challenge the validity of my argument, kudos to you. At that point we might have the beginnings of a substantive debate on the topic.

  • bduran

    “but the great majority of the more substantive ones meet the classic definition of “sensible”.”

    OH this is funny. You are being humorous.

    “Thus the onus is on you to provide evidence of it’s inaccuracy.”

    So is this. You just admitted that you never looked at anything to support this statement…

    “for example, for 1995-96 Bulls team, adding up their individual production stats from the prior year would not have predicted 72 wins in the 1995-96 season”

    You basically think this could be true or is likely true, but state it as fact and then ask me to support it. Hilarious.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 21st, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    “OH this is funny. You are being humorous.”

    I’m glad you found my comment amusing, but would you care to offer up any substantive comments that I’ve made that were not “sensible”? In other words, meeting the basic definition of sound logic.

    “You just admitted that you never looked at anything to support this statement…”

    No I didn’t.

    “You basically think this could be true or is likely true, but state it as fact and then ask me to support it. Hilarious.”

    I’m not asking you to support it. But if you’re going to say that it appears to not be true, I’m asking you to provide some evidence for that suggestion. It is true that I should have used a qualifier, such as “it’s very unlikely that adding up” ……. would not have predicted 72 wins in the 1995-96 season, just based based on basic facts and observation (e.g., many players on that team had at best mediocre production stats, 72 wins is A LOT of wins, and what made the Bulls special was not that they had a lot of “production-stat Gods” [really mainly Pip & MJ, & Rodman mostly for just rebounds], but they played great as a “team”, and many of the role players out-performed efficiency-wise from previous years).

    If you want to take the time to prove me right by exhaustive research & thorough data presentation, knock yourself out. But I’m not going to spend the time on it. I’m pretty confident in my assertion, but not 100% positive.

  • bduran

    ““You just admitted that you never looked at anything to support this statement…”

    No I didn’t.”

    So you did? Could you tell me what you found? I’d really appreciate that. If you didn’t then you made an unsubstantiated statement as evidence against what someone else said. That’s where this started. I just questioned your evidence and then you tell me to prove it for you. Do you see how that doesn’t work?

    BTW, what’s having “a lot of production stat gods”? It seems like having 3 such players, including the GOAT, would qualify as a lot. What other team has had this? Miami this year is all I can think of right now, assuming sharing the court doesn’t reduce their productivity too much.

    As for the Bulls I did look into a bit and saw that a 47 win team added two extremely productive players in Jordan and Rodman. According to Wins Produced Jordan is good for 25 games alone. As long as Rodman balanced whomever they lost, then you’d expect this team to be one of the all time greats. Now, I’m going to stop here because I’ve already far exceeded the standards you’ve set for making points.

  • bankshot21

    Jim Henderson
    October 21st, 2010 at 11:17 am

    “We split with them, and one of the games Kobe played less than half the game with back spasms and was absent in the crucial 4th period.”

    You failed to mention the last game we played them Tony Parker didn’t play at all and George Hill was injured during the game and did not return. It is this reason that I chose not to mention injuries because both teams dealt with them. I’m inclined to believe the Lakers are better without Kobe than the Spurs are without TP and G.Hill. We match up with the Lakers well and have been matching up with them well since 2002. We’ve lost series to them since then but even in the 08 WCF that I previously mentioned we blew 2 games in which we had 20 pt leads and the fluke Brent Barry no call by our favorite ref Joey Crawford.

  • bankshot21

    Jim,

    We have witnessed teams with far less talent accomplish 67 wins (Dallas) and 66 wins (Boston). It is not IMPOSSIBLE for The Heat to win 69 games and that’s where you’re opinion seems a bit off base. As you have mentioned @ least 5 times it has only been done twice but the key words here are HAVE BEEN DONE. LeBron often gets compared to Magic and MJ….the 2 leaders of the 69 (72) win teams. We know Bosh can give you more than Rodman and an old Jabbar…and Wade will produce @ a rate similar to that of LeBron which would be superior to that of James Worthy and Scottie Pippen. Do I think The Heat will win 69 games? NO. Do I think the thought of it is impossible and a senseless idea? HELL NO. Remember Jim, before it happened twice, it only happened once, but that didn’t stop the second occurrence from coming to fruition.

  • Jim Henderson

    bduran
    October 21st, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    “So you did?”

    You said that I admitted that I didn’t. And I said I did not admit that.

    “BTW, what’s having “a lot of production stat gods”?”

    For that Bull’s team it is very likely that they had fewer players (outside of their top 2-3) that put up even decent production numbers compared to the majority of other 60+ win teams or title winners. And no, I’m not going to go do all the research to prove it to you.

    “As for the Bulls I did look into a bit and saw that a 47 win team added two extremely productive players in Jordan and Rodman. According to Wins Produced Jordan is good for 25 games alone. As long as Rodman balanced whomever they lost, then you’d expect this team to be one of the all time greats.”

    That’s faulty logic, and you know it, so I’m not going to bother to explain.

    P.S. But I can’t resist giving you a hint: If Jordan indeed is “good for” 25 wins, he would inevitably end up taking away wins produced by other players on that 47 win team that still remained on the 1995-96 team. Or, I suppose you’re going to tell me that LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, & Miller are going to by themselves create 67 wins for Miami this year? (their total wins produced from last year). I guess they can just tell the rest of the team to go home — and just go ahead and play 4 on 5, right?

  • Jim Henderson

    bankshot21
    October 21st, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    We have less size & horsepower on the front line. It’s really as simple as that. But I know that you don’t see this, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    bankshot21
    October 21st, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    “We have witnessed teams with far less talent accomplish 67 wins (Dallas) and 66 wins (Boston).”

    You also apparently don’t understand that talent alone does not make great teams.

    “It is not IMPOSSIBLE for The Heat to win 69 games and that’s where you’re opinion seems a bit off base.”

    Well, even miracles are possible. So yes, it is possible. Forgive me if I exaggerated ever so “slightly”.

    “LeBron often gets compared to Magic and MJ….the 2 leaders of the 69 (72) win teams.”

    Not in my book he doesn’t, nor in anyone else’s that really understands the game, or that has an appreciation for the history of the game. Seriously, go out and ask anyone that’s not a Heat fan or a Heat hater, that if they needed to win a championship for the Heat this year, would they take Magic and/or MJ in their prime over LeBron, or would they stick with LeBron? Nine out of ten that really follow the game, and know the history of the game are going to take both Magic & MJ over James.

    “We know Bosh can give you more than Rodman and an old Jabbar…”

    I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were joking with the above comment.

    “Wade will produce @ a rate similar to that of LeBron which would be superior to that of James Worthy and Scottie Pippen.”

    IF Wade has an edge here it would be very slight.

    And of course, you’re forgetting to mention the differences in all the intangibles, which clearly favor the Bull’s and Lakers. And the Bull’s & Laker’s actually had “teams” that had won a lot together before their big year. The three Heat stars haven’t played ONE game together yet, and only 5 players on their entire team have ever played together as a member of the Heat. That is a big difference, because this is not some pick-up game at city park.

    “Do I think The Heat will win 69 games? NO. Do I think the thought of it is impossible and a senseless idea? HELL NO.”

    It’s about as sensible as predicting a win for a 50-1 shot at the Kentucky Derby.

    By the way, the Laker team that won 69 games was the West, Chamberlain, & Baylor team of 1971-72 (that team was so good they won 33 straight games that year — a 39 year-old record, and counting), not the Magic, Jabbar & Co. teams of the 1980’s. Those poor slugs topped out at 65 wins in 1986-87.

  • bduran

    “That’s faulty logic, and you know it, so I’m not going to bother to explain.”

    No it’s not and I seriously doubt you can. Of course it doesn’t account for everything, but it’s certainly better than anything you’ve said. This is another example of your ridiculous (and humorous) unsupported statements. You essentially haven’t supported anything you’ve said. You make faulty comparisons and expect us to keel over.

    BTW, I’m not saying that Wins Produced from the previous season would have said the Bulls would have won 72 games. For one their Pythagorean Win Loss Ratio was indicitave of 70 games won, and WP usually matches this more closely. 72 wins means they won a couple of extra close ones. I wouldn’t be surprised if WP predicted something in the neighborhood of 67-68 and the team outperformed a bit to produce 70.

    “Or, I suppose you’re going to tell me that LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, & Miller are going to by themselves create 67 wins for Miami this year?”

    We’ve discussed this before. Normally, according to Berri, the effect of diminishing returns is small. The Miami Heat situation is new ground. Never before have that many highly production players come together on one team after playing on separate teams the year before. Personally, I’m very interested in how this turns out. You could be right and we have huge drop off among Wade, Lebron, Miller and Bosh. Or maybe not and this team is amazing. However, this situation does not match the ’96 Bulls.

  • Tyler

    @ Jim

    “It’s about as sensible as predicting a win for a 50-1 shot at the Kentucky Derby.”

    You’d be stupid not to take 50-1 odds on the Heat winning 69 games.

    But seriously, the Cavs won 66 and 61 games the last two years. Yet, for a team with far superior talent than what they had in Cleveland, it’s ridiculous for Miami to win 69? How does that make sense? The talent disparity between those teams is rather great.

  • bankshot21

    Jim,

    Thanx for the major correction. That certainly would alter the examples given. It doesn’t however change my stance by no stretch of the imagination. No one thought the Lakers would win 69 games. There were no predetermined measurement stating that if a team had x,y,and z in place then 69 wins was possible. The same goes for The Bulls. There’s absolutely no formula to a 69+ win season. It just happens. It’s not a 50-1 shot by no means. It either will happen or it won’t. That’s 50% in my math. It’s not something I think they will do. But to act as though it can’t happen but keep harping on the fact that it’s happened twice is a bit contradictory.

  • bduran

    “That’s 50% in my math.”

    Awesome :)

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  • Jim Henderson

    Tyler
    October 22nd, 2010 at 6:14 am

    “You’d be stupid not to take 50-1 odds on the Heat winning 69 games.”

    Well, I guess I’d be stupid then. The fact is there’s been A LOT of “talented” teams out of the approximately 1200 that have suited up over 60+ years in the NBA, and only TWO of them have even gotten to 69 wins. It’s not JUST talent that wins a ton of games, and wins titles. Both of the the 69-win teams had Hall of Fame coaches that had considerable success and 6-7 seasons in the trenches before their big year. And their star players all had played TOGETHER FOR YEARS prior to their “big” win year. These are just a small number of the intangibles that the 2010-11 Miami Heat simply don’t have. What about this does not compute?

    “But seriously, the Cavs won 66 and 61 games the last two years. Yet, for a team with far superior talent than what they had in Cleveland, it’s ridiculous for Miami to win 69? How does that make sense? The talent disparity between those teams is rather great.”

    The common perception appears to be that LeBron had to leave Cleveland because they didn’t have enough talent. That the team won 66 games in 2009-10 almost entirely because of LeBron James. That perception is utterly ridiculous. This is a TEAM game, and while stars often have a big impact, the actual impact is often greatly exaggerated. For example, one writer on the BDL blog predicted that Cleveland would win just 12 games this season. That’s how ridiculous it can get. I’ll tell you right now, Cleveland will win more than 30, and they could win more than 40, even though they lost James, Shaq, Ilgauskas, and have to adjust to a coaching change. The idea that Cleveland was subpar in talent minus James is absurd. The Cav’s were one of the top-ranked defenses in the league. Was that all about LeBron. Give me a break! LeBron left Cleveland because he demands to have gratification by a certain point. If not he’ll break up the family and look for an easier way. He doesn’t want to persevere, and really LEAD a team. He can’t stand the fact that life is not ALL about the ultimate in professional “success”, and that the journey is even more important in many respects. He doesn’t even relate to the reality that many great players don’t win championships, because he’s not just a great player, he’s the KING. The fact is, the Cavs had a lot of talent, and a number of guys that really knew how to play the game as a team, and LeBron quit on them. He was too good for them. Granted, LeBron’s special talents made them a 60+ win team, but with out him they still would have very likely been a playoff team in the East. And the fact is having too many great talents on one team serves to reduce the individual production impact that each great player has, not to mention the potential chemistry problems. You can’t simply in linear fashion add up the production of Wade, James, Bosh, & Miller and say, voila!, we already have a 67 win season!

    And I never said that the Heat weren’t going to win a lot of games. There have been several great and very talented teams that have won in the 64-67 game range over the past 60 years of NBA action. The Heat “could” be one of them, if not this year, over the next 3-4 years. But I think we’re being a bit presumptuous when we talk about 69+ wins for a team in which its stars have yet to play ONE game together.

    Again, my prediction for the Heat is 62 wins, with a ceiling of 65 in year one together, and no title.

  • Jim Henderson

    bankshot21
    October 22nd, 2010 at 6:17 am

    “It either will happen or it won’t.”

    Gotta love it. Quite profound.

  • Bankshot21

    Mike Miller out til January…..this topic of 69 wins has just gone up in flames.lmao

  • Jim Henderson

    Adrian Wojarnowski seems to have a “sensible” perspective about the Heat. He said they should end up with “61, 62, 63 wins”, and lose to Boston in the ECF’s. Personally, I would not count out Orlando either. My prediction was 62 wins, and no title for the Heat.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/video/player/nba/Y_Sports_NBA_Coverage/22453100;_ylt=AvUP4iVEejsO0Nnc_RA5AB68vLYF#nba/Y_Sports_NBA_Coverage/22453192

  • Bentley

    The heat will not win 69+ this year.

    In fact, I see them losing earlier more often in the season than later. Its one thing to have a bunch of talent like the Heat do, but its another thing to come together and gel. Winning 69 games is a hard, hard thing to do in this league, even for a superteam. Plus the teams from top to bottom in the Eastern Conference are much better than in years past.

    Is it impossible? No. But it is very hard. I woould say that if they were to win 69+ games, it would be in their second or even third year and even that is still no walk in the park.

  • Jim Henderson

    An excerpt of an earlier comment of mine on this thread:

    “And the fact is having too many great talents on one team serves to reduce the individual production impact that each great player has, not to mention the potential chemistry problems. You can’t simply in linear fashion add up the production of Wade, James, Bosh, & Miller and say, voila!, we already have a 67 win season!”

    But let’s say you did try to maximize the production of your great players, many ultra top-heavy teams often lose that way too. The 1970-71 LA Lakers (the year before they won 69 games) are a perfect example, and they had great guards, a dominant big, and more overall experience, although modest experience playing together.

    That team had West, Chamberlain, Hairston, & Goodrich. The following are their basic stats for that year:

    West: 26.9 ppg., 9.5 apg., 4.6 rpg.

    Chamberlain: 20.7 ppg., 18.2 rpg., 4.3 apg.

    Hairston: 18.6 ppg., 10.0 rpg., 2.1 apg.

    Goodrich: 17.5 ppg., 4.8 apg., 3.3 rpg.

    That team’s record? 48-34, no title.

    Now how does a team with stars capable of putting up those kind of numbers lose 34 games in a season?

    For one thing, it was just Chamberlain’s second year with West & Hairston (one year he missed almost the entire season), and it was Goodrich’s 1st year with the other three. Second, they had a 45 year old “2nd year” coach (Joe Mulaney). And finally, when you have four players on a team with such dominant abilities the natural tendency is to over-feed these players (or more accurately, the four players over-feeding themselves) because that seems to be the easiest and most productive thing to do. But the problem is the other eight guys are pretty decent players, with pride, and they might have a tendency to get impatient in their more limited role. Now, this reliance on top-tier players can work sometimes, with a very talented, experienced coach that possesses unusually good player management skills, particularly with mega stars and unheralded role players (e.g., Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers…). But the main point is this was a very talented team that won just 48 games, and got taken out in the conference finals in 5 games.

    And these are some of the challenges the Heat will face this year. Nothing against Spoelstra, but I think the team would have a better chance if Riley was coaching, but apparently Wade is hesitant to sign off on that arrangement.

  • Jim Henderson

    I hate to quote this guy because he’s wacky enough to think that the Heat can win 70 games this season, and the Cav’s are likely to win just 12, but he’s right on this observation:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/BDL-s-2010-11-Season-Previews-Miami-Heat;_ylt=Amto0vHDQyUObResp9kE0Uu8vLYF?urn=nba-279234

    “Why I think I might be terribly, terribly wrong?

    Phil Jackson, and the triangle offense.

    Phil was, and possibly still is, the best in the game. And the offense that he employed back in 1995-96, with its principal architect in Tex Winter sitting beside him, made it so those Bulls were greater than the sum of their parts.

    This isn’t to knock Erik Spoelstra, but I don’t know if he can make this Heat team greater than the sum of their parts. I think it’s one + two + three = six, with this team. Jackson gave you eight.

    John Hollinger detailed as much Thursday night. The Heat are going with a screen-and-roll attack. Basic, simplistic offense that involves two players and asks the other three just to kind of be ready, rather than always keeping them involved in a play as it unfolds. Phil Jackson’s plays don’t have endings. Nobody knows where the ball is going; the only thing they know is that the ball is always going.

    Erik Spoelstra? His plays have options. A means to an end. And at some point, even the greatest teams can have their options taken away.

    Beyond that, injuries can hit. Dwyane Wade has missed an average of 14 games a year over his seven-year career, and he’s played just three minutes of this preseason. Mike Miller is out for a while, and any number of maladies to other parts can get in the way.

    But the main reason I think the Heat might not get to 70 wins? I don’t think they’ll run a system that makes their collective any more dangerous than the way it is already dangerous on paper.”

  • Bankshot21

    Jim,

    As impressive as those numbers are from the legends of the game they likely would not have put them up in todays game. Players are more athletic and also bigger. The likelihood of Wilt grabbing 18 boards a game today is slim. There is simply more talent across the board. That’s just one example of course but I think one must take the evolution of the game into consideration when attempting to compare feats that have accomplished by teams of yesteryear.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    October 23rd, 2010 at 2:51 am

    But that does not take away from the point I was making one iota. In their era, these guys were flat out stars, and they still had limited success as a team that year. If anything, your point supports my point because the league is now even more broadly competitive, and so the Heat should have even more trouble putting up an ungodly win total.

  • Bankshot21

    Jim,

    Those Laker players were the best in a watered down league….The Heat players are the best in a tough league….thus making them all that much better.

  • Jim Henderson

    Bankshot21
    October 24th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    “Those Laker players were the best in a watered down league….The Heat players are the best in a tough league….thus making them all that much better.”

    Although you appear to underestimate the talents of West, Chamberlain, Hairston, & Goodrich, we’re not talking about which players or which team is more talented. I’m simply pointing out that the 1970-71 Laker’s were very talented compared to the competition they faced at the time, yet they managed just 48 wins for the year, which is 21 wins less than what some claim that the Heat should win this year (as you point out, against tougher competition). Don’t you get the point I’m making?! What does not compute here?