Below is my Win Chart attributing wins and losses to individual players who competed in the just completed 2011 NBA Finals (the wins and losses are recorded in multiples of ten to promote the use of simpler numbers). Here is a Glossary explaining each of the columns.
2011 NBA Finals Win Chart
Bosh was the missing Musketeer
LeBron James is taking the brunt of the criticism for the Miami Heat’s failure to capture the 2011 NBA Championship. I have several points to make on that issue.
First, LeBron deserves criticism. He did not play poorly in the Finals, but he played way, way below his established standard. As the chart above shows, his defense was fine, but his personal box score production was about 50% of his regular season norm. He shrunk. Had he produced statistics anywhere close to his norm, the Heat would probably be NBA champions.
Secondly, however, among the Big Three on Miami, LeBron should not draw primary criticism. Chris Bosh performed the worst among the trio — by far. He was terrible, except in Game Six. His personal Win Score production was about 1/3rd of his regular season norm.
Finally, and most importantly, a lot of the criticism of LeBron seems to begin from the premise that Miami should have won the series. I cannot accept that premise. In fact, if one steps back and examines the premise, its farcical.
Dallas crushed a 57 win Laker team in four straight. Dallas next outclassed a rising 55 win Oklahoma City team in five games. The Mavericks are an outstanding team. If Miami was indeed the favorite, it could not have been a prohibitive selection.
Chandler provided the most Value
By Marginal Win Score, Dallas C Tyson Chandler was the most valuable player in the NBA Finals. He outperformed his counterparts to a greater extent than any other player on either team, including Dirk Nowitzki, though the distinction between the value of Nowitzki and Chandler was not substantial.
I was thinking after the game, “I wonder if Chandler’s name even crossed anyone’s mind when they voted for MVP?” I can almost definitively say “No” to that question.
The Dallas Backcourt took over
In the first three games of the Finals, the Miami backcourt badly outplayed their Dallas counterparts. Jose Barea and Jason Terry played poorly in those early games. From Game 4 onward, Dallas turned the advantage completely around. Barea and Terry became extremely potent producers, and the entire Finals tilted toward the Mavericks.
Last night, even Jason Kidd won his position. I do not mean that as a criticism of Kidd, whom I thought played heroically throughout the entire series. His personal production was fine. The problem for the Mavericks was that Kidd was matched against Dwyane Wade for most of the Finals. Wade held a decisive production edge in that matchup until last night.
Last night the Old Warrior turned the positional comparison dramatically in his favor. That sealed the deal. With LeBron scuttling, with Bosh underproducing, with Haslem and Anthony imitating the Invisible Men, the Heat absolutely had to win the shooting guard position to have any chance to win the basketball game. They did not. Wade had a very poor, strangely indifferent performance and lost the spot to Kidd (I questioned Wade’s faith in his Heat teammates. He just did not appear “in” to the game. At one point he actually bounced the ball off his foot and out of bounds. A shockingly “loose” bit of play for a superstar in a close-out game. He also ended several other possessions by lifting into the air without a plan, and ending up throwing nonchalant, desperate passes that were easily intercepted by Maverick defenders).