No wonder LeBron, Wade, and Bosh decided they could be successful together. The 2008 Olympics told them that.
To see how the three would mesh their productivity, I did a Win Chart of the 2008 US Olympic Basketball team, using the FIBA statistics and Marginal Win Score per 40, to see how the New Heat trio performed, and who produced most of the wins for the United States. (You can see the Olympic Win Chart by clicking here). The results were surprising and a little scary.
Not only did LeBron, Wade, and Bosh play well together, they were the three best players on the United States team. LeBron got the most win credits, but Wade was the most productive player on the team, posting an impossibly good +8.95 MWS40. He was followed closely by his new teammate Bosh, who posted a surprisingly good +8.42 for second best on the team. It was LeBron’s productivity that, even more surprisingly, was third amongst the three, but not by much, posting a +6.47 MWS40. But don’t be fooled by that. Had LeBron not gotten a strange case of the Yips from the foul line, he would have been right up there with his mates.
The style breakdown was interesting, too. It appeared LeBron curtailed his use of scoring possessions (22.3%) in favor of Wade, who simply dominated international competition (28.3% of scoring possessions used). Wade must have gotten a lot of dunks. And Bosh actually got better by streamlining his game and concentrating on crashing the boards and getting to the foul line. He put up tremendous win numbers while using only 15.2% of scoring possessions.
Of the three, my only question was Bosh. You knew LeBron could mesh with anyone because of his “Power Point Forward” style of game. And, of course, Wade knows only kamikazee basketball. But the fact that Bosh, traditionally the least productive of the three, molded his game to fit the moment was pretty impressive.
So that’s the Big Three. Let me just take a second to go off topic and comment on the rest of the team. You notice how poorly Kobe played? He was one of the few players to accumulate loss credits. His game doesn’t really tend to mesh with others. He wants to shoot. And in the Olympics he only shot jumpers, didn’t pass, and barely rebounded the ball.
But, of course, the one and only US player to record a negative MWS40 was none other than your (former) Milwaukee Bucks guard, and one of the most overpaid players in history, Michael Redd. What was he even doing on the team?
One final note. The only question for the Heat now will be playoff style defense, specifically, can they play it? And how long will egos continue to mesh? We shall see. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see them come out smokin’ next November. But NBA championships are won on defense, and they’re never guaranteed.