Dave Berri runs some numbers and determines that the Heat are the most cost-efficient team in the NBA based on money spent per projected win. Berri arrives at his projected win total by efficiency differential (points per possession minus points surrendered per possession). The Heat lead the league in efficiency differential, but the kicker is that their trio of superstars are exceedingly good bargains: "This also reflects the fact that very productive stars -- like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade -- are really bargains. The NBA limits how much money a team can pay a player. For example, LeBron will be paid $14.5 million this year and is on pace to produce 18.3 wins. So LeBron’s cost per win is less than $1 million (below the league average). A similar story can be told about Dwyane Wade. He will be paid $14 million and is projected to produce 18.7 wins. So again, Wade’s cost per win is less than $1 million."
The big question coming into the season among some Heat skeptics: Who gets the ball down the stretch during crucial possessions? Assuming there's good sense to this question, have the Heat drawn up their late-game blueprint yet? Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie: "[I]t's become pretty obvious that you don't have to play the perfect game to take down the Heat. You just usually have to keep things close, because Miami is still (barely, thanks to the upbringing of its stars and Erik Spoelstra's simplistic offense) the sum of its parts, and little else. Dallas even had Dirk Nowitzki clanging down the stretch, and it still pulled out the win because the Heat have absolutely no idea what to do in the clutch."
Raul Takahashi of Hot Hot Hoops takes us through the Heat's shot selection during those pivotal final possessions. In other news, G6 is now a sanctioned adjective.
Via Basketbawful, one prognosis of the Heat's troubles: "Miami's problem in a nutshell: bigs can't post, smalls can't shoot."
Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald on the Heat's shot selection playing into opponents' hands: "You almost wanted to say it while LeBron James was lighting up the Knicks with jumpers -- you couldn't because it was too much fun to watch -- but you just knew that his relying on the outside shot was going to come back and bite the Heat. And that happened Monday. It was either the Mavs zone or simply an inability for him to find or create any driving lanes, but all night the Mavericks had him stifled. And then it just got contagious. Seriously, 31 three-point attempts? That's way too many. And that's exactly what teams want the Heat to do."
It's time for our weekly Joel Anthony check. Uncontested layups still a challenge, but Anthony-populated 5-man units are still killing it defensively.
Seat Geek has been monitoring the average ticket price for the Christmas Day game between the Heat and the Lakers at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Back when the Heat were sputtering, the average seat ran you $507. Since then? "Over the past month, the average price of a ticket to this game has gone up $42 to $549 per ticket. As a means of comparison the average price of a ticket to a Lakers home game excluding the Christmas day game against the Heat is approximately $144 per ticket, just 26.2% of the price of the Heat-Lakers Christmas Day tickets."
Via Hooped Up, a well-tailored Wade rocks a silk salmon tie on the cover of a magazine that includes a feature story on El DeBarge.