Bill Simmons of Grantland.com said during the NBA Finals that it was like LeBron James was back playing on the 2007 Cleveland Cavaliers team – the one where he had no help and was dominated by the Spurs in a 4-0 series.
That's crazy, right?
LeBron played the most NBA Finals minutes on that Cavs team at 170 over the four games. The second and third most were by Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic. That team can’t seriously be in the same breath as this 2014 Miami Heat team with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen. Right?!
Well, Bill was wrong. It was actually worse.
That’s right, the non-Lebron James Cavaliers in 2007 provided more production alongside James than this 2014 Miami Heat did in this year’s Finals.
John Hollinger, who currently works for the Memphis Grizzlies, developed a statistic called “Game Score," which measures a player’s production in a game. Here is a link if you want to see exactly how the formula works. It essentially takes everything that happens on the court in a single game and combines it all into one cohesive stat. As a result, it’s more reflective than single-game +/- in determining a player’s production.
In this year’s Finals, LeBron posted a Game Score of 22.5 over the five games played. Chris Bosh was at 10.6 and Dwyane Wade was third with 7.9 rating.
In 2007, the second-best player was Drew Gooden with a 9.0 Game Score, while Daniel Gibson was third with an 8.5 rating.
What if we took the average Game Score of each player (excluding LeBron, of course) in both series to determine how much help LeBron was getting from his teammates?
2007 Cleveland Cavaliers: 3.53
2014 Miami Heat: 3.38
Looking at the win share numbers for both the 2007 Cavaliers and 2014 Heat will probably come close to blinding you. It's ugly.
It won't surprise you that LeBron and Kawhi Leonard had the two highest win share total in the NBA Finals. But let's look at the rest of the list.
3. Tim Duncan - 0.60 WS
4. Manu Ginobili - 0.57 WS
5. Patty Mills - 0.48 WS
6. Tony Parker - 0.44 WS
7. Danny Green - 0.43 WS
8. Boris Diaw - 0.41 WS
9. Tiago Splitter - 0.39 WS
10. Chris Bosh - 0.28 WS
...17 (last). Dwyane Wade - -0.33 WS
We almost had to go through the entire Spurs roster until we hit the second Miami Heat player, Chris Bosh, who had the 10th-most win shares in the series. That's, umm, not very good.
And let's not even talk about Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.
In the end, LeBron James got zero help during the Finals. The West isn't getting any worse. The Heat will seriously have to rethink their roster if they want to beat the Spurs in the future.