Friday, November 12, 2010

The Big 3 = The Big 2 + Chris Bosh

After tonight's loss to the Celtics the Miami Heat are now 5-4, or a half a game above the Cavaliers. If the Heat were a stock, they would be Bear Sterns circa November 2008. Despite the doom and gloom that prognosticators are likely to toss their way, in a matter of months the Heat will mesh and--DBSF believes--prove to be formidable in the East (although not perhaps the 4-peat champions some had guessed).

But, even when the Heat do finally come together, there are two blatant weaknesses the team must address. First, their starting PG is Carlos Arroyo. Watching him try to guard Rajon Rondo qualifies as a low-grade crime against humanity, like youtubing "guy + bear trap + nuts + closes on".

For those who don't pay much attention to the NBA, Arroyo didn't play in the league last year. And, he didn't play in one of the Spanish, or other European premier leagues either. Rather, Arroyo took the year off to play in Israel. Now Israel's a wonderful country, but its professional basketball system is reserved for rich kids who played D-III ball and refuse to accept that their non-career is over.

Now, if you're thinking DBSF is being overly critical of Arroyo, he isn't. Keep in mind that Arroyo looks like a Puerto Rican Paul Walker, makes 7-figures, and has front row seats to Heat games every night. He's like Justin Bieber at a suburban middle school, but he's supposed to slay.

Perhaps the bigger problem for the Heat is their lack of size, and of any post-presence. Apparently, Chris Bosh, a 6'10" two-guard, who they put at the four has confused a certain hockey rule about the goalie crease with the paint in basketball. He looks at it, he knows its there, but he is deathly afraid of ever entering it. Is there an allergy the team needs to know about, Chris?

You see this summer's Big 3 fiasco should have really been about LeBron joining DWade. Chris Bosh put up big points on a bad team (he only made the playoffs twice in his 7 years in Toronto). Anyone who was shocked that Bosh isn't putting up 24 ppg and 12 rpg every night was also likely surprised that Scottie Pippen's Trailblazer experience wasn't the same as life with Jordan. If throwing together a bunch of good players from bad teams created dynasties then the Washington Bullets would have been the greatest organization of the 1990s.

As DBSF is inclined to quantitative metrics, there is one that illustrates Bosh's biggest weakness with the Heat--his inability to rebound. Most people look at rebounds per game (rbg), and since Bosh over the last two years has finished 6th in rebounds per game they would surmise that he should be help the Heat where he actually hurts them the most.

Fortunately for stat nerds, there is a metric called "Total Rebounding Percentage" which is an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player grabbed while on the floor. Through his career Bosh has hovered around 15%. This season with the Heat he is at 10.3%. Compare him to some of his equals in the East. Kevin Garnett's career has been around 17% and this season he is almost at 18.5%. Dwight Howard is over 20% (as he is for his career). Other, less notable names in the East this season? Joakim Noah (21.5%), Andray Blatche (14.4%), Luc Mbah a Moute (13.1%), Tyler Hansbrough (13.9%).

If you're still reading this, this suggests that--at least based on the first month of the season--the Heat are in a precarious position, especially considering that they have to bang with the bigs from Orlando and Boston if they want to lose to the Lakers in June. As for the Carlos Arroyo issue? It's Models' night at Cameo, so he's alllll good.

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