What Does the Goran Dragic Trade Do for the Miami Heat?
It may have taken all but thirteen minutes of the trade deadline for a deal to happen, but the Phoenix Suns have sent point guard Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat, where the 2014 Most Improved Player will join up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in South Beach.
According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Heat give up Danny Granger, Justin Hamilton, Norris Cole, Shawne Williams, and two first round picks -- one from 2017 and one from 2021 -- to complete the deal.
What did this move do to help the Heat?
This season, the Heat have been just a shell of what they were in the LeBron years. They've really missed the King's presence on both ends of the floor, and they've had their fair share of struggles as a result. Prior to the move, their nERD (our in-house metric used to estimate a team's ultimate winning percentage) of 39.1 was in the company of teams like the Jazz, Nuggets, Kings and Nets. That's not good!
Defensively, Miami's near the bottom of the league in numerous defensive categories. They allow their opponents to shoot 45.8% from the field and 36.2% from the three point line -- 22nd and 25th in the NBA -- while allowing an effective field goal percentage of 51% (26th). The Heat are also 30th in defensive rebounding and 25th in blocks -- so, it's not a coincidence that the Heat have earned a putrid Defensive Rating of 107.9, which is 24th out of the 30 NBA teams.
On the offensive side of things, the Heat have actually been worse. Their Offensive Rating of 103.6 is also among the bottom 10 teams in the league (23rd), as they score an abysmal 92.8 points per game -- better than just the Knicks and Sixers. (That's also not good...).
But, they have Wade and Bosh right? Well, kinda -- the big two have individual nERDs of -1.3 and 0.1, respectively.
Wade has missed 17 of Miami's 52 games thus far, including the last seven games due to a strained right hamstring. However, he looks to return to the court on Friday in New York. That might not matter much though -- Wade is shooting his worst percentage from the field (48.7%) since the 2009 season and is posting his worst Offensive Rating since 2007.
Chris Bosh, at 30 years old, is having an even worse season than the 33-year-old D-Wade. He may be averaging 21.1 points per game, but he hasn't been very efficient in doing so. Bosh is shooting 37.5% from three on nearly 4 attempts per game, but he's become too much of a perimeter player. From inside the arc, Bosh is shooting a paltry 48.5%, which is his worst since his second year in the league. Bosh's style of play has produced his worst Win Shares per 48 of his career, at .104.
It's clear that the Miami Heat needed help -- and they got it.
What Dragic Brings to Miami
Dragic will bring some much needed help to the Miami Heat -- but, it won't be on the defensive end of the floor.
The former Sun, in his eight years in the league, has a Defensive Box Plus/Minus of -1.2 and a total of just 7.8 Defensive Win Shares (fewer than 1.0 per year -- ahh). If that's not enough to prove a point, Dragic has earned a career Defensive Rating of 110 points per 100 possessions -- actually worse than the Heat's rating as a team. So, we should assume the Heat didn't make this move for defense.
On the other hand, they definitely added The Dragon to give their poor offense some much needed firepower. Dragic will be a huge upgrade from the Heat's most frequent starting point guard, Mario Chalmers.
In what many consider a down year for his recent standards, Dragic is averaging 5.4 more points than Chalmers while outshooting Rio 50.1% to 39.9% from the field and 35.5% to 28.5% from three. His nERD of 0.5 is also far superior to Chalmers' -4.9.
With the addition of Dragic, the Heat's starting lineup is now the only lineup in the entire NBA with all five players in the top 90 in PER.
So, as the numbers suggest above, he should provide a big boost to his new team -- and our numbers confirm.
Before yesterday's trade, we projected Miami to finish the regular season with a record of 36-46, and therefore, we gave them a 44.4% chance of making the playoffs. However, even after adding Dragic and his offensive repertoire, we project the Heat to win just one more game and finish with 37 wins on the season. That one win is deceiving to the naked eye though.
The additional win gives the Heat nearly a 12% bump in their playoff chances, bringing them to 56.26% -- but, that's not just their own doing. The Indiana Pacers stayed pat at the deadline, which allowed the Heat to move past them in projected wins and playoff chances.
The Heat are also entering a favorable stretch in their schedule, as they are tied with Oklahoma City for the most home games remaining this season with 17. So look for the Miami Heat, who are currently in the eight spot in the East, to pick it up on the offensive end of the floor and improve upon their sub-.500 record as the season moves forward.
The Heat and their new Dragon should both benefit from their new relationship built upon the element of fire.