The 2014 NBA Finals haven’t been kind to the Miami Heat, but anyone who’s pressed to blame LeBron James for the 3-1 deficit the Miami is just looking for reaction. James, along with the San Antonio Spurs, have played well while James’ teammates have faltered according to the PER stat.
Using only qualified players, LeBron leads Finals in PER at 31.8, followed by seven Spurs between 24.9 and 17.5. Team.
— Dan McCarney (@danmccarneysaen) June 14, 2014
This isn’t an attempt to cape for LeBron. He’s struggled on the defensive end and has handled the ball in the same way you’d hold a hot potato. More importantly, McCarney’s tweet is the perfect display when needing to illustrate 1) how well the San Antonio Spurs have played as a whole and 2) how poorly those not named LeBron James have played for the Miami Heat.
Following Lebron’s 31.8 PER, the next highest member on the Miami Heat, Chris Bosh, has a PER of 17.20. In between LeBron and Bosh sits seven different Spurs, the highest being reserve point guard Patty Mills at 24.94. The lowest PER for a Spurs rotation player? Boris Diaw at 13.24, but if you’ve watched the game he’s played well above what PER has him painted at. The lowest PER for a Miami Heat rotation player? Mario Chalmers at 1.18 followed by Norris Cole (2.50), Chris Andersen (7.18), and Rashard Lewis (10.29). Even James’ partner-in-crime in Dwyane Wade has flailed on the big stage, posting a PER of 14.81, the 11th highest of all players and fourth highest amongst Miami Heat players.
Compared to last years NBA Finals, each player has taken a drop off on the Heat while Lebron James has upped his play. Dwyane Wade’s PER has dropped from 20.76 to 14.81, Chris Bosh’s PER has dropped from 18.45 to 17.20, and Shane Battier’s PER was 19.10. Now the small forward can’t find his way unto the floor in what will be his last NBA season.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that all Heat players need to up their play as they face elimination from here on out. This Heat team plays best when their backs are against the wall and with only one game away from losing their second NBA Finals in four years, it’ll take a complete team effort to battle against the well-oiled machine that is San Antonio.