Best NBA Team: Heat '10 or Cavs '14?

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Feb 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) is pressured by Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) during the first half at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat fielded a good NBA team in 2010 with the additions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James. The Cleveland Cavaliers are about to field a good NBA team in 2014 with the additions of  Kevin Love and LeBron James. Yet the question remains, which is the best NBA team among the two?

We will take a look at it with a few pieces of stats that will help us come to some conclusion. As the San Antionio Spurs showed us, depth is very important in the league, so we will look at a 10 deep roster for both teams. We will look at age, PER, points per game, rebounds per game and assists per game, any negative numbers, except age, is considered bad for the Cavs. All Cavs ages are as of today. We will compare each player, from the year prior, to their counterpart (as close as possible) as well as the cumulative differences for the entire 10 person team. Lots of charts to follow along with analysis. To make it easier to read we will break it up into a few pages for you.

Let’s start with the rosters we will be using for comparisons:

Miami Heat ’10: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers, James Jones, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Carlos Arroyo, Eddie House and Mike Miller

Cleveland Cavaliers ’14: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Dion Waiters, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, James Jones, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and Matthew Dellavedova

Player Year Age PER PPG RPG APG
LeBron James 2009 25 31.19 29.7 7.3 8.6
LeBron James 2013 29 29.4 27.1 6.9 6.4
Difference N/A 4 -1.79 -2.6 -0.4 -2.2

James was coming off of a historical year with the Cavs in 2009. An over 30 PER with almost 30 PPG, as well as the rest of his numbers are unheard of. James is a different player now, many would say better. He understands the game better, has a high shooting percentage and plays in the post a bit more. His numbers don’t reflect that improvement but his all around game is great.

Advantage: Push – In ’09 he was the best player in the game. In ’13 he was the best player in the game. While the numbers are different, the results are the same. Worst number is that he is 4 years older as of today.

Player Year Age PER PPG RPG APG
Dwyane Wade 2009 28 28.1 26.6 4.8 6.5
Kyrie Irving 2013 21 20.14 20.8 3.6 6.1
Difference N/A -7 -7.96 -5.8 -1.2 -0.4

Wade, like Irving, was carrying his team in ’09. Wade was doing so as a veteran with championship experience, while Irving was doing so as a very young player in the league. The 7 year difference between the two is huge long term. While Kyrie had a great season last year his numbers are dwarfed by Wade’s.

Advantage: Heat – Though the age difference will play a huge role down the road, for next year that version of Wade is statistically better. His fit with James was difficult but they figured it out. How Kyrie does the same will be very decisive.

Player Year Age PER PPG RPG APG
Chris Bosh 2009 26 25.11 24 10.8 2.4
Kevin Love 2013 26 26.97 26.1 12.5 4.4
Difference N/A 0 1.86 2.1 1.7 2

Bosh, like Love (as well as Wade and Irving) was also coming off carrying his team. Like Bosh, Love’s numbers are expected to dip greatly by joining up with James and Irving. Prior to doing so Bosh was a dominate player as well. Love did a little of everything with the T’Wolves but wasn’t able to get them over the hump. The same reason Bosh was okay with leaving the Raptors.

Advantage: Cavs – A slight advantage to Love in the matchup as he wins across the board. Love is already the stretch shooter to pair with James and Irving that Bosh became over time with the Heat.


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