The League’s Best Team at Home?

The Heat are off to a strong start with an 8-1 record so far, the best in the entire league. At home, Miami maintains a .502 field goal percentage and is averaging 24.56 assists per game. In both categories they are the league’s top scorers. Yet the far more impressive statistic is the amount of points Miami scores at home. In American Airlines Arena, the Heat have averaged 108.6 points per game, a number that is also the best in the league. So how do the Heat compare at home to the rest of the NBA? I built a histogram using home PPG (points per game) averages from all teams in the league…

Of all thirty NBA teams included in this histogram, the Miami Heat are in a class of their own. The Heat have somehow managed to score 108.33 points per game at home, a total that is nearly 2.5 (2.453) standard deviations above the league average, 94.553 points per game. What they have done is officially unusual.

The Denver Nuggets offer the closest competition for the league’s top spot with a home average of 104 points per game. And yet the Heat are nearly one entire standard deviation ahead of the Nuggets. For the total points per game at home of all teams in the NBA, the standard deviation is 5.6 points, and the Nuggets trail the Heat by more than 4 points. It’s incredible what Miami has accomplished so far, but it is only the beginning to this year’s shortened season. Here is to hoping the Heat can somehow keep it up!


Data Gathered Here


The 23 Unlucky Players Stuck Overseas

First let me acknowledge how thankful I am for the CBA and promise of a 2011-2012 season! Unfortunately there are twenty three NBA players who can’t say the same thing. These are the few that, in the midst of the failing talks earlier this year, signed overseas contracts without opt-out clauses. In failing to secure an opt-out clause, each of these players faces the painful reality of experiencing this year’s NBA season from their televisions overseas.

After compiling this data from Sports Reference, I put together the list of NBA players not returning for the 2011-2012 season. This chart also indicates the country they are each headed to this year.

This certainly appears to be a random sample of NBA players, but I am going to look at what type of players these guys are. To do that, I am focusing on just the minutes per game for each player.Below is a frequency histogram of the minutes per game each of these players logged in last year’s (2010-2011) season.

The average amount of minutes played per oversea-bound player are 15.36 minutes, with a standard deviation of 7.68 minutes. When I look at the players that have logged far more than 15.36 minutes, I see five players with z-scores of 1. But there is only one player with a z-score of 2 more than the average amount of minutes per game. His name is Wilson Chandler, and I am certain the Denver Nuggets will miss him while he plays abroad in China.

Erik Spoelstra as a Coach

Erik Spoelstra has been working for the Miami Heat since 1995, when he joined the coaching staff as a mere video coordinator. Both ambitious and undeniably bright, Spoelstra burned through many promotions over the last 16 years and today he sits as head coach for the Miami Heat. Here I take a look at the Miami Heat’s regular season history during its time with Erik Spoelstra, starting in 2001 when Spoelstra was promoted to assistant coach and director of scouting. Below I collected data over the last ten years in Miami Heat Basketball (since Spoelstra’s promotion in 2001). The data I collect is for each “regular season” meaning all the games an NBA team plays before the playoffs. So here are the last ten years of Heat basketball with Erik Spoelstra on the high-level coaching staff…

Remember that this data is from the regular seasons and does not include playoff history for the Miami Heat. Calculations show that the average, or mode, proportion of games won/games lost over the last ten years has been 0.5134. Because these data points are not selected from a sample of a larger population, the standard deviation for an entire population must be computed. This standard deviation is 0.1603.


There are two important factors to note before analyzing Erik Spoelstra’s coaching performance since 2001. From late 2008 until present day Erik Spoelstra has given up his previous job as assistant coach and director of scouting to fill bigger shoes as the team’s head coach. Also the team recently received a mass of new talent with the arrival of superstars Chris Bosh and LeBron James for its latest season (2010-1011). These two changes have definitely contributed to the team’s recent success. Although certainly no outlier [Q3+(1.5IQR) = 0.9265], the latest season’s winning percentage has a z-score of 1.208 which is a considerable departure from the norm (but not actually considered “unusual”, as unusual data points have z-scores with an absolute value of over two).

The data shows that Erik Spoelstra was most effective as head coach, and after his promotion the team enjoyed above average seasons (positive z-scores), showing that team success increased after Spoelstra moved up in the coaching staff. Certainly the addition of new talent coupled with the coaching skills of Erik Spoelstra has produced one of the best Miami Heat teams in the last decade.


Data gathered from wikipedia and

Turnovers Over Time

The last three MVPs (league’s most valuable player of the year) happen to greatly vary in experience. Last year Derek Rose became history’s youngest MVP, with only three seasons under his belt. Before him, LeBron James won the award twice; currently, he has played in the NBA for eight years. And before James, Kobe Bryant, who has played in the NBA for 15 years, won the MVP award.

Here are the past three MVPs…

Derek Rose = has played in the NBA for 3 years

LeBron James = has played in the NBA for 8 years

Kobe Bryant = has played in the NBA for 15 years

I want to take a look at the consistency of turnovers caused by these three MVPs throughout their careers. By examining a short career (Derek Rose), a medium-lengthed career (LeBron James), and a long career (Kobe Bryant), I will be able to tell if there is a correlation between the standard deviation of turnovers committed each year and the length of that respective career. Lets start with the data collection: turnovers every year for each MVP…

Now I need to take the standard deviation for each player’s turnover history:

  • Derek Rose’s career turnover standard deviation = 40.25336425
  • LeBron James’s career turnover standard deviation = 13.26380682
  • Kobe Bryant’s career turnover standard deviation = 49.97666099

These are interesting statistics when we consider the mean total turnovers in a season for the players:

  • Derek Rose = 232.333
  • LeBron James = 260.75
  • Kobe Bryant = 215.2
When I arrange my data in order of smallest to greatest standard deviation, my results are mixed…
There is no correlation between standard deviation of turnovers each season and years pro. So the length of a career really appears to have no effect on the consistency of turnovers committed throughout that career, at least for these all stars. What is apparent is the trend showing that an all star who commits more turnovers per season throughout his career is more likely to have less variation in the numbers he puts up every year. LeBron James has a mean of 260.75 turnovers per season1 , a number well above Derek Rose and Kobe Bryant. At the same time, his standard deviation of turnovers is decidedly lower than that of the other players, at just 13.264. An MVP who commits more turnovers throughout his career is likely to be more consistent with his turnover rate.
If you’re losing the ball more often than your teammates, take comfort in the knowledge that at least you’re consistent…
1 To ensure that means were a good indicator of player turnover rate, I compared them with the medians and found no discrepancies…
Derek Rose, median turnovers per season = 217
Lebron James, median turnovers per season = 260.5
Kobe Bryant, median turnovers per season = 223
All the information gathered for this post was found at the NBA Team Index site.

Observational Study of Player Heights and Steals

I gathered the heights of the fourteen players on the Heat roster as well as their career steals per game. With these two individual data sets, I built two frequency distributions independent of each other. The first table is a frequency distribution of player heights. To determine the number of classes I used Sturgis’s Rule of Thumb, which indicated that there should be 5 in total.

Sturgis’s Rule of Thumb:

Round up [1 + 3.3xlog(number of data points)] to the highest integer

The number of data points is 15, so… 1 + 3.3xlog15 = 4.881101155 —> round this up to 5

Then I found the lowest data point and the class width. Of the fourteen players, the shortest height is at 73 inches (Eddie House) and the tallest is at 87 (Zydrunas Ilgauskas). The difference of these two heights, 14 inches, leads me to the class width: 3inches.

Class Width:

Round up [(difference of the highest and lowest data points) / (number of classes)] to the highest integer

The difference is 14, the number of classes is 5, so… 14/5 = 2.8 —> round this up to 3

With 5 total classes, a class width of 3 inches, and the lowest height starting height at 73 inches (6’11”), I made my first frequency distribution:

The second table is a frequency of career steals per game. Because I am using the same number of data points (15 players on the roster), the number of classes is again 5. Career steals per game on the miami heat roster range from 0 to 1.8*. So to the determine the class width, I just divided the difference of the lowest and highest data points by the number of class (1.8/5=0.36) and rounded that up to 0.4 career steals per game.

Because my sample (the Miami Heat roster) contains only fifteen data points, It is hard to make any significant inferences about all NBA players in the comparison of height and steal success.

*Dwayne Wade holds the highest number of career steals per game at 1.8, LeBron James follows closely with 1.7, and Dexter Pittman lags behind with 0 career steals in his entire NBA career.

Data Gathered Here


My name is Ravi and welcome to The Heat 3-6-1. I have created this for my statistics class blog project. Here I will be following everything Miami Heat. You will see my topics range from last year’s season, the current preseason, and the upcoming season. I will be talking about everything from the past careers of players on the Heat Roster, to the current league lockout crises. The Miami Heat currently hosts some of the world’s greatest basketball players and they are making history every day. By studying the numbers behind their team progress, I hope to uncover some very impressive statistics that could help us better understand the greatness of the Heat.

Go Heat.