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Just The Sports: The 2010-11 Heat are not far off from the 2007-08 Celtics

Just The Sports

Monday, November 22, 2010

The 2010-11 Heat are not far off from the 2007-08 Celtics

As the Miami Heat have gotten off to a shaky 8-5 start, which is made worse by the lofty expectations heaped on them before the season , it has become too easy to ridicule the Heat for not being able to win every single game they play. However, it is important to remember that the Heat are not far behind the pace set by the Boston Celtics thirteen games into their 2007-08 championship season.

Of all the teams in recent history, it has always made the most sense to track and grade the Heat's season based on how closely they performed in comparison to the 2007-08 Celtics. Like the Heat, the Celtics, too, added two star players to complement the star player they already had, radically changing the composition of the franchise.

Such a roster overhaul resulted in the 2007-08 Celtics having a roster stability percentage of .495, meaning less than half of the players who were on the roster during the championship season were on the roster the previous year. Since there are five positions in basketball and each position comprises 20% of the team's minutes, the Celtics were replacing two and a half position players.

Yet, despite having to incorporate so many new pieces into a functional unit, the Celtics went on to post the most dominant regular season since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls decimated their foes by 12.0 points per 100 possessions. During the season, the Celtics outscored their opponents by an astounding 11.3 points per 100 possessions, basically running roughshod over the league.

The Heat are also suffering from limited roster stability with only 52.0% of the team's minutes having been played by players who wore a Heat uniform last season. Their roster stability percentage will no doubt get even smaller after Mike Miller fully recovers from right thumb surgery and begins to play starter-type numbers.

Still, the Heat are doing pretty well for themselves, outscoring opponents by 10.6 points per 100 possessions, which is only slightly worse than what the Celtics did in the first thirteen games of the 2007-08 season when they outscored their opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions, indicating the Heat could be in for a championship run of their own.

Moreover, the Heat's record of 8-5 underrates how well they have played. Based on how many points they have scored and allowed, the expected win total for the Heat is actually 10.4 wins, which rounds down to ten, giving them an expected win-loss record of 10-3.

In the 2007-08 season, after thirteen games, the Boston Celtics' expected win-loss record stood at 11-2. Again, the Heat are nipping at the heels of the team they are most similar to.

On another note, expecting the 2010-11 Heat to come out playing like the 1995-96 Bulls who won seventy-two games in the regular season was a bit ludicrous considering those Bulls had a roster stability percentage of .808 with Dennis Rodman, a role player with a highly specific skill set, as their only major acquisition from the year before.

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