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Assessing Each Miami Heat Player's Actual Performance vs. Expectations

Sam RichmondCorrespondent INovember 20, 2012

Assessing Each Miami Heat Player's Actual Performance vs. Expectations

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    Sitting atop the Southeast division with a record of 8-3, the Miami Heat as a whole are performing as well as everyone thought. But how well are each of the Heat players playing as individuals? Which ones are performing to the level expected and which ones aren't meeting expectations?

    Let's go through the Heat roster player-by-player and figure that out.

    To do this, I will be revisiting a piece in which I predicted the odds each Heat player had of improving or regressing in 2012-13. My thoughts from that piece will be used as the "expectations" in this one.

    This should be very interesting as some players are playing as I expected, such as Ray Allen, but others, such as Heat superstar Dwyane Wade, are performing far from my expectations, some for the better and some for the worse.

Small-Role Players

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    Joel Anthony

    Preseason Prediction: Regression (Production Drop-off)

    As expected, Anthony's role (21.1 minutes per game last season) has completely disappeared (5.0 minutes per game in 2012-13). He's averaging a mere .6 points and .9 rebounds per game.

    Actual: Even Bigger Production Drop-Off Than Expected

     

    Josh Harrellson

    Preseason Prediction: Improvement

    Harrellson has only played 10 minutes all season, but in that microscopic sample size his rebounding has been great (24 rebounds per 48 minutes)

    Actual: Similar Performance

     

    Terel Harris

    Preseason Prediction: Slight Improvement

    Harris has seen the court very rarely (nine minutes all season) as well, and the only positive takeaway is that he is also rebounding the ball well (16 rebounds per 48 minutes).

    Actual: Similar Performance


    James Jones

    Preseason Prediction: Regression (Production Drop-off)

    Like Anthony, Jones has lost his spot as a rotation player this season. But Jones is still doing what he does best: hitting half of his three-point attempts in very limited playing time.

    Actual: Similar Performance

     

    Dexter Pittman: Slight Improvement

    Pittman has yet to see the court this season.

Mike Miller

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    Preseason Prediction: Efficiency Improvement With Production Drop-off

    As predicted, due to Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis' arrival, Miller has seen a significant drop in his minutes through 11 games (19.3 MPG last season and 13 MPG in 2012-13).

    But in that limited time, Miller has played relatively well. He's averaging 3.4 points on 44 percent shooting from the field and a great 42.1 percent from three-point land, as well as 2.6 rebounds (which equates to a solid 9.8 rebounds per 48 minutes). Miller also currently has a 13.82 PER, which is an improvement on his 11.4 PER in 2011-12.

    Miller has produced very similarly to predicted. However, the fact that he has only once played more than seven minutes in games that Wade has played signals a drop in role greater than even I expected.

    Actual: Similar Performance 

Udonis Haslem

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    Preseason Prediction: Similar Performance

    If you just looked at Udonis Haslem's field goal percentage (55.3), you'd think I was correct in my preseason prediction that Haslem's jump shot would be better than it was last season (25.9 percent on shots from 10-15 away).

    But that's not the case; Haslem is doing almost all of his damage at the rim (78.9 shooting percentage), while rarely even attempting a jumper let alone making it (5-17 from everything beyond three feet).

    As expected, Haslem has been great on the glass, grabbing 4.8 rebounds in the 17.3 minutes per game he averages (13.4 rebounds per 48 minutes)

    Still, Haslem continuing his recent streak of poor shooting is a disappointment, especially considering that Miami's offense requires efficient midrange and outside shooters.   

    Actual: Worse Than Expected

Norris Cole

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    Preseason Prediction: Improvement

    Many (including myself) thought Norris Cole was due for a significant improvement in play after a rookie season that at times showed great promise for the 24-year-old's future.

    Cole worked extremely hard during the offseason, especially on his shot. Plus, he was actually afforded a full training camp for the first time. 

    But through 11 games, that improvement has been hard to recognize.

    Cole has been solid on the defensive end, and that aspect of his game will always help him secure a steady dose of minutes, but offensively, Cole has been a huge disappointment.

    Cole is averaging 4.7 points on 32.7 percent shooting from the field and an even more atrocious 23.1 percent from three-point range. He also has nearly as many turnovers (1.9 per game) as he does assists (2.1 per game). And the disappointing numbers don't stop there as Cole currently has an abysmal 3.25 PER (league average PER is 15).

    Actual: Worse Than Expected

Shane Battier

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    Preseason Prediction: Improvement

    After an excellent showing in the 2012 NBA Finals and a great preseason, I predicted Shane Battier to have an improvement in his scoring totals and his shooting percentages this season. And through 11 games, that's exactly what's happened. 

    Battier is now averaging 7.5 points (4.8 points last season) on 46.6 percent shooting from the field (38.7 percent last season) and an excellent 47.1 percent from three-point range (33.9 percent last season).

    Plus, in the Heat's past four games, Battier has been scorching hot, knocking down 15 of his 24 three-point attempts.

    Battier may have had his worst season in 2011-12 and entered this one at age 34, but he's showing so far that his days of being productive are far from over.

    Actual: Even Better Than Expected

Rashard Lewis

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    Preseason Prediction: Improvement

    Given Rashard Lewis' track record of success and the fact that he was coming from a losing situation in Washington to the best possible winning situation in Miami, I predicted a solid offensive output from him this year.

    And so far, Lewis has been everything the Heat could have wanted from him offensively when they signed him to the minimum veteran contract in the offseason.

    In 15.6 minutes per game, Lewis is averaging 7.2 points on 52.6 percent shooting from the field, and even more impressively, he's shooting 53.6 percent on three-point attempts.

    Lewis' current PER is 14.70, which although is below the league's average, is still a great improvement on his 9.37 PER last season.

    Through 11 games, Rashard Lewis is proving the Heat correct on their belief that he could be a valuable rotation player.

    Actual: Even Better Than Expected

Mario Chalmers

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    Preseason Prediction: Regression

    After Mario Chalmers had his best shooting year by far (44.8 percent from the field and 38.8 percent on three-pointers), I predicted that Chalmers would see a drop in his shooting percentages this year, which he has.

    Through 11 games, Chalmers is shooting only 41.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent on three-pointers, which is more in line with what he did in his career prior to last season.

    However, i didn't at all expect the improvements Chalmers has made in the other aspects of his game. Chalmers is currently averaging 4.8 assists (3.5 per game last season) and 1.5 turnovers (2.2 per game last season), which have him ranked 15th in the league in assist to turnover ratio (62nd last season).

    Chalmers may not be shooting great, but he's still playing some very solid basketball.

    Actual: Improvement

Ray Allen

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    Preseason Prediction: Slight Improvement

    In my preseason piece, I wrote that I expected Ray Allen to have an "absurdly efficient (scoring) year." But, wow, what Allen's been able to do this far exceeds even that very positive prediction. 

    In 26.6 minutes per game, Allen is currently averaging 12.1 points on 51.8 percent shooting from the field and a simply ridiculous 51.2 percent on three-pointers. He also currently has a 19 PER (14.83 PER last season), which ranks fourth among Heat rotation players. 

    The only worry I had about Allen entering the season was his health due to his ankle not healed 100 percent, but it clearly hasn't hindered his production.  With that being the case, Allen so far is proving that his $3 million contract wasn't just a bargain for Miami; it was an absolute theft.

    Actual: Even Better Than Expected

Chris Bosh

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    Preseason Prediction: Slight Improvement

    I was fairly confident based on his rebounding in the NBA Finals (9.4 per game) and his move to center that Chris Bosh was going to have a solid year rebounding the ball, at least one better than he did the past two seasons (8.3 rebounds per game in 2010-11 and 7.9 rebounds per game in 2011-12). So it's a bit surprising that Bosh, playing for a Heat team so desperate for rebounding (29th in NBA in rebounds per game), is only grabbing 7.3 boards per contest to this point.

    Still, other than the rebounding, Chris Bosh has been excellent this season. He's currently averaging 19.6 points on 55.2 percent shooting from the field and 86.4 percent shooting from the free-throw line, along with 1.4 blocks. On top of that, Bosh's 24.82 PER ranks second on the Heat (excluding non-rotation players) and third amongst all NBA centers.

    The Miami Heat might not be a great defensive team at the moment but Bosh is doing all he can, and his offensive contributions have been integral to the team's success.

    Actual: Even Better Than Expected

Dwyane Wade

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    Preseason Prediction: Slight Improvement

    After a preseason in which it looked like the Dwyane Wade of old was back (and healthy), the 2012-13 season hasn't started so great for him.

    Already, he's had a thumb injury as well as a sore foot that has kept him out of the Heat's last two games.

    Due to all of his injury troubles, Wade has clearly struggled, scoring less than double figures in two of the past three games he's appeared in. He currently is averaging 16.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds with a PER of 19. While a 19 PER would be considered great for most, Wade has finished in the top three in the league in PER the previous two seasons (25.67 in 2010-11 and 26.37), so for him, it's far from encouraging. 

    While I believe a healthy Wade is still capable of the across-the-board improvements I predicted for him in the offseason, that's not what we have right now, and this guy clearly isn't capable.

    Actual: Much Worse Than Expected

LeBron James

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    Preseason Perfomance: Improvement

    I went out on a limb and predicted an excellent season from LeBron James, the NBA's unquestioned best player, and surprise, surprise, he's delivered.

    James is currently averaging 24.5 points per contest. While it was expected that he would achieve that through shooting a high percentage from the field as he has (52.4 percent), it was surely not expected that he would do it through fantastic three-point shooting (43.8 percent) was surely not.

    Also in typical Lebron fashion, he's contributing in all areas of the game with averages of nine rebounds (leads the team) and 6.5 assists (leads the team) with also a block and a steal. On top of that, for those who've played in more than four games, LeBron leads the league in PER with a 29 rating.

    LeBron was the favorite to win his fourth MVP award this season, and he's done nothing but make that win more likely through the Heat's early-season games.

    Actual: Similar Performance

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