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22 February 2005

Free Michael Doleac!

San Antonio 92 @ Miami 96

"We're doomed! DOOMED I say! Miami beat the Spurs and they're going to add Alonzo Mourning which makes them ten times better than they are now!"

That's the sort of stuff I read on various message boards after the Spurs lost in Miami. Sports fans love to overreact to singular events and overestimate the contributions of single players. This is probably due to the fact that most sports fans are stupid. But then again, my First Rule is "People are dumb." That's just the way it is. Some things will never change. That's just the way it is it is it is...

The Spurs were playing on the road against arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference. They shot 39% and allowed the other team to shoot 52%. Duncan was nursing three different injuries and played poorly. Given those parameters, you would expect the Spurs to lose by double digits, but the Spurs only lost by 4.

Am I discounting the results of this game entirely? No. Am I worried about playing the Heat in the finals? Yeah, a little. But I am more worried about playing Detroit.

Over a seven game series those shooting percentages will regress towards the mean. And I don't see Miami getting passed Detroit anyway. Kobe, Shaq and some scrubs got annihilated against the Pistons last year. You're telling me that Wade, Shaq and some more scrubs are that much better than last year's Lakers? Whatever.

As for Mourning, people need to simmer the hell down. First off, he's 35 years old. Secondly, he's got one good kidney. He's not going to be playing 30 minutes a game for the Heat. Thirdly, is he really all that much better than what the Heat already got? Yeah, I said that.

I'll admit he's a better defender than Haslem, Doleac or Laettner. But he's no longer the offensive threat he used to be. He's basically a 45-46% shooter now, which is worse than Haslem (53%) and Doleac (48%). If the Heat play him with Shaq he's going to be a drag on the offensive end. Teams will not (well, they should not) respect his outside shot. And he's certainly not going to get any touches on the block while Shaq's in the game. As for rebounding, he's really no better than Haslem-- they both average about 13 RP48M.

From what I can tell, the Heat gain a better backup center than Doleac. Big deal. In the playoffs Shaq is going to play 38 minutes a night anyway, reducing any impact Mourning has.

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All content copyright Matthew Powell 2005.