Oct 30, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2), center Anderson Varejao (17) and shooting guard Dion Waiters (3) celebrate in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Sans LeBron James: Comparing Heat and Cavs Rosters

Last off-season, as we prepared for the NBA Draft that led to Anthony Bennett being selected, we took a look at a few rosters and some of the qualities that could lure LeBron James. We looked at median ages, shooting ability, and size/athleticism combination for the Top 5 players on the team (All of those links will open in new windows). Those things still seem like good things to do look at as James goes to make a decision in the next week between the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

For this exercise we will look at the Top 5 players on the Cavs current roster, though adding Kevin Love via trade may be an option as we covered yesterday, and three iterations of the Heat. The 3 different versions will include the Heat adding 1 specific free agent that they have been connected with: Luol Deng, Pau Gasol and Anthony Morrow. Each player will help fill out the Heat roster that is a little bare right now. Obviously for both teams adding James in would change the dynamics, and both teams could look to make others moves. First lets start with the 3 Heat rosters:

Key: 1 – Poor for position, 2 – Average for position, 3 – Good for position, 4 – Excellent for position and 5 – Awesome for position

Player Age Shooting Size/Athleticism
Chris Bosh 30 4 4
Dwayne Wade 32 2 3
Norris Cole 25 4 2
Shabazz Napier 22 3 2
Luol Deng 29 2 3
Average 27.6 3 2.8
Player Age Shooting Size/Athleticism
Chris Bosh 30 4 4
Dwayne Wade 32 2 3
Norris Cole 25 4 2
Shabazz Napier 22 3 2
Pau Gasol 34 3 3
Average 28.6 3.2 2.8
Player Age Shooting Size/Athleticism
Chris Bosh 30 4 4
Dwayne Wade 32 2 3
Norris Cole 25 4 2
Shabazz Napier 22 3 2
Anthony Morrow 28 5 2
Average 27.4 3.6 2.6


  • Deng is a very old 29 but he and Morrow bring own the median age a bit. Having only Cole and Napier on their roster also helps bring the age down.
  • The Heat have quality shooting with Bosh at the 4/5 position. His ability to spread the floor is huge for a James led offense.
  • Morrow would greatly improve the shooting quality of the team while not adding greatly to size/athleticism category.
  • It is difficult to find free agents that would help all 3 categories.
  • Lets take a look at the Cavs current roster:
Player Age Shooting Size/Athleticism
Kyrie Irving 22 4 2
Andrew Wiggins 19 2 5
Dion Waiters 22 3 3
Tristan Thompson 23 1 2
Anderson Varejao 31 3 2
Average 23.4 2.6 2.8


  • Obviously the Cavs have a very young roster with Varejao being the only one older then 23 in the Top 5.
  • Shooting is still the biggest need on the team as Irving and Waiters provide the only outside shooting and Varejao provide solid shooting for a big man.
  • Wiggins stellar athleticism overcomes the data from Irving, Thompson and Varejao.
  • Unlike the Heat, the Cavs can afford to add some age that could help with the shooting and size athleticism categories.

As we look at the data averages it is clear that in 1 category the Cavs have a decided advantage: Age. Unfortunatly for the Cavs that category only matters if the other 2 categories, plus other talent, are also there. The 76ers will have a very young roster that doesn’t mean they have the talent to attract James.

The Heat have a decided advantage over the Cavs in the Shooting category, an area the Cavs will need to address whether they get James or not. Improvements from Sergey Karasev and Anthony Bennett would greatly improve these numbers for the Cavs. Replacing Varejao with Tyler Zeller would also greatly help here. The Heat have surrounded the Big 3 with shooters Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis in the past and will look to try to do so again this off-season.

Size and athleticism is the one area that James will improve dramatically, much like Wiggins does for the Cavs. The Cavs and the Heat both have limitations in the athleticism area. The Cavs have much more upside in this area due to their age, especially with the bench players not mentioned in the Top 5. Bosh well developed game includes the athleticism to fight down low and cover out on the perimeter. If James comes to Cleveland Bosh would be a great addition to what David Blatt wants to do.

This exercise makes a few things clear:

  • The Heat just don’t have a lot of players on their roster and have a lot of work to do.
  • The Cavs still have a big need for a shooter in their starting lineup, especially if it was a big man.
  • Chris Bosh may be highly underrated with his diverse game.
  • The Cavs are definitively younger with more room for improvement.
  • The Heat are definitively better shooters.
  • Adding Kevin Love would answer a ton of problems for the Cavs (and most teams).
  • James decision isn’t easy.

What do you think when comparing the two rosters?

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Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James

  • Jimbo Welsh

    I, for one, really hope LBJ returns to Cavs and brings a title to Cleveland. It’s not that I’m a big Cavs fan, or Cleveland fan, or even a big LBJ fan. I just love the fairy tale story of a home town kid bringing the title to his hometowns hapless team.
    While not a big fan, I do have a soft spot for the Cleveland Cavaliers, ever since the late 70′s and the days of Campy Russell, Austin Carr, Mike Mitchell, and Jim Chones.
    Just don’t beat my beloved GS(/SF) Warriors if they face them in the finals