One week of NBA action is in the books and the Heat lead the NBA in efficiency differential.
Really, this is just a fancy way of saying that the Heat have been the best team in the NBA so far, regardless of their tarnished record. Efficiency differential strips away the inflationary effects that pace can have on unadulterated points per game scoring margin. (Scoring margins in 110-possession track meets overstate the real difference between two teams while the opposite is true for sleepy-slow games).
All told, the Heat have outscored their opponents by 17.0 points every 100 possessions, beating the Dallas Mavericks, the proud owners of a +12.4 efficiency, for the title of most efficient team in the league. While the Big 3-lead offense hasn't quite lived up to expectations yet, their 103.8 offensive efficiency still ranks eleventh in the NBA, sitting 2.9 points above the league average.
But it's the Heat's absurdly stingy defense that makes them the NBA's best squad in the early going. For perspective, teams are currently scoring 100.9 points per 100 possessions this season. Heat opponents? Just 86.8. No other team comes within three points of that mark.
And as Kevin Arnovitz explains in detail, the Heat have made their opponents earn each and every point so far.
Head over to Hoopdata.com for the full slate of efficiency differentials. (Hint: Clippers fans may want to stay away).