Most Startling Statistics of the Miami Heat's Season so Far
Sure, Chris Bosh is on his way to one of his career-best seasons, Ray Allen is off to a good start in his new home and LeBron James is again putting up MVP-caliber numbers, but the story goes a bit deeper.
Dwyane Wade, one of the premier players of his day, isn’t off to such a hot start. His injury history is beginning to catch up with him. While he’s only missed three games of the first 11, Wade plays a vital role in the success of the team.
At this point, he’s still on a day-to-day basis, but there’s no guarantee that will be the case in the extended future.
So far in 2012, the team’s raw scoring ability has been their saving grace, but as you will see in the following slides, the Heat’s defense is going to have to step up.
After the break, see the Heat’s four most startling statistics so far in 2012.
99.75 Opponent PPG
While the Heat are scoring a lot of points early in the season, so are their opponents.
Opponents are averaging 99.75 PPG against the Heat in 2012 – that is the tenth highest in the NBA. By comparison, the New York Knicks have given up 90 PPG, the L.A. Clippers 92.60 PPG, the Oklahoma City Thunder 95.18 PPG and the L.A. Lakers 95.50.
For the defending champions to not have a stronger defense is a cause for concern, even this early in the season.
So far, the Heat are managing to outscore them consistently (103.55 PPG – best in NBA), but to contend over the course of an 82-game season they are going to have to shut down opponents’ offense.
.757 FT Percentage
While the Heat’s free throw percentage isn’t what will lead them to hoist another trophy in June, it is one of many small pieces to the puzzle that need to be in place.
To date, the Heat are shooting .757 from the charity stripe. That is 15th in the NBA. Numbers like that aren’t acceptable from a defending champion who has a legitimate shot at returning to the postseason in 2012.
LeBron James, who posted .771 from the line in 2011-12, is sitting on .661 this year. That is the lowest FT percentage of his 10-year career. If he can pick up the slack, this is one number that may work itself out.
The Heat are simply not pulling in enough offensive rebounds early in the season.
This is yet another statistic where the Heat are going to have to make strides to stay ahead of the competition. Some of this can be attributed to Chris Bosh still learning the ropes at the new position, but whatever the reason, a turnaround is a must.
.378 Opponent 3P Percentage
Another area where the Heat must improve soon to regain their dominance is again opposing shooters.
Three-point shooters are having their way with the Heat in 2012 to the tune of the fourth highest opponents 3P percentage in the NBA (.378).
Of the small handful of statistics, this one may be the greatest cause for concern. While James’ offense played possibly the largest role in the Finals, the importance of solid defense cannot be overstated.
As the season continues, the Heat will have to shut down their opponents from outside the arc. This could be a big step toward increasing the scoring margins.
While the Heat have some issues, they are all capable of being addressed this early in the season. Even if they are not, they are still one of, if not the, strongest team in the NBA. With a few minor adjustments, they are capable of once again making their way deep into the playoffs.