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Five Stars: 2006-07

Miami’s 19th season would see the team take a step back from their 2006 title.

Indiana Pacers v Miami Heat Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

The 2006-07 Heat earned their third-straight Southeast Division Title by posting a 44-38 record. Amongst the six division winners, their .537 winning percentage was the lowest. The next lowest was the Toronto Raptors .573, achieved with a 47-35 record. The Heat were just good enough to earn home-seeding in the first round of the postseason, paired up against the fifth-seeded 49-33 Chicago Bulls. The Heat didn’t last long, though, dropping four straight contests to make it a short run for a repeat. Still, with more wins than losses, it was good to be a Heat fan. It was Miami’s 11th winning season in their first 19 years, and their 10th in 12 seasons. They closed the season with a cumulative 756-740 record.

First Star

Dwyane Wade 1169.5

Wade collected his third First Star in a row for Miami, and finished in the Five Stars for the fourth time in his four NBA seasons in 2006-07 for the Heat. He finished on top despite a cumulative GameScore that was just over half of his total from the prior championship season, making the All-NBA third team and playing in his third all star game. The team was 27-24 with him in the lineup, and 17-14 without him.

Wade finished on top of the stack despite ranking 10th on the Heat with just 51 games, starting 50 times at shooting guard. He put up an NBA-best 28.9 PER for the highest mark of his career thus far, also leading the club with 8.8 Win Shares, a 5.1 VORP which dwarfed next-best James Posey (1.8), and an NBA-second-highest usage rate of 34.7%.

Wade was second on the team with 1,931 minutes played, and made almost half of his field goal attempts, at 472-for-962 (.491). He shot .266 from deep (21-of-79) and .807 from the foul line (432-for-535). He led the team with 1,397 points, 384 assists, and 107 steals, with a team-second 62 blocked shots and 239 rebounds.

Wade’s cumulative statistics were miles ahead of his peers on the team, with 37.9 minutes, 27.4 points, 7.5 assists, and 2.1 steals average. He was third on the team with 1.2 blocks and fourth with 4.7 boards per contest.

Wade registered 15 double-doubles for the Heat through the season, scoring 20 or more points 43 times and 30 or more 23 times. On December 16th, in a 98-90 Heat win against Memphis, he torched Mike Miller and the Grizzlies for 41 points on 15-of-24 shooting, with seven assists, five steals, and five rebounds. Wade was just unstoppable on a Christmas Day, 101-85 Heat win over Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 40 points with 11 assists, four steals, four blocks and four rebounds. On February 3rd, he racked up 32 points with 11 helpers, eight boards and four steals as Miami defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 117-98.

I think we forget just how crazy good Wade was back in his heyday. The team simply couldn’t function if his was having a down day (or for the average NBA player, a pretty good game). His PER dropped to 15.2 through Miami’s four-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, although he averaged 23.5 points with 6.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in a team-best 40.5 minutes per game.

Second Star

Udonis Haslem 681.4

Haslem led Miami with 79 games, starting each of them at power forward. He led the Heat with 2,483 minutes played, just eight minutes less than the career high he set the season before, and with 654 rebounds. He also pitched in with a team-fifth 97 assists, a team-fourth 49 steals, and a team-fifth 26 blocks.

Haslem’s PER was just 13.7, with a 17.5% usage rate, a modest 0.2 VORP, and a team-third 5.1 Win Shares. His 31.4 minutes per game ranked second only to Wade, and he averaged a Heat-fifth 10.7 points with a team-leading 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest.

Haslem racked up 21 double-doubles for the Heat through his fourth Miami season, and scored in double figures 44 times. He had 10 or more rebounds on 26 occasions. On November 5th, he scored 17 points on seven-of-17 shooting, with 16 rebounds (eight on each end) and four assists as the Heat dropped a 107-98 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers. Five days later, he earned his highest GameScore of the season in a 113-106 win against the New Jersey Nets, scoring a season-high 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting, with nine rebounds and two assists. He had 19 points and 14 assists, playing 46:48 of a regulation 92-77 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, with three assists and two blocked shots on March 30th.

Haslem’s career playoff average PER is 11.3, and it was also so in Miami’s 2007 postseason appearance. Haslem started all four games and averaged 7.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 25.8 minutes per night.

Third Star

Jason Williams 581.2

Williams played in 61 games for the Heat, starting 55 at point guard. Believe it or not, his 55 starts ranked him second on the team behind Haslem’s 79. He played 1,865 minutes to rank fourth on the team, making 235-of-569 from the field, 100-of-295 from long-distance (.339), and 94-of-103 free throws for a Heat record .913 free throw percentage. J-Will totaled a team-second 322 assists, a team-third 58 steals, and picked 123 rebounds off the boards.

Williams averaged a team-third 10.9 points with a team-second 5.3 assists and a team-third 1.0 steals in 30.6 minutes per game, with 2.3 rebounds tossed in for good measure. He was fourth on the team with a league-average 15.0 PER, racked up an 18.2 usage rate, earned a team-fourth 4.3 Win Shares, and finished the season at just 0.8 VORP.

Williams’ 61 games would see him only put up a double-double on four occasions, but he did score over 20 points nine times. On December 2nd, he scored 13 points with 14 assists and five rebounds as the Heat downed the Memphis Grizzlies 98-97. He scored a season-high 28 points on December 27th, going seven-for-10 from outside with six helpers and three rebounds in a 109-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls. By GameScore, his best contest of the season was on January 18th, when he scored 20 points on nine-of-12 shooting, with eight assists, two steals and two rebounds in a 104-101 win over the Indiana Pacers. Four days later, in a 101-83 victory against the New York Knicks, he scored 20 points with seven assists, three steals and three rebounds.

In the postseason, Williams work suffered, as evidenced by an 8.3 PER and a .250 shooting percentage, going just seven-for-28 over the four game series loss to the Bulls. He also dished out a total of 14 assists.

Fourth Star

Shaquille O’Neal 524.0

O’Neal’s increasing injuries would restrict him to just 40 games, starting 39 times at center for the Heat. He earned the Fourth Star despite ranking 12th on the team in appearances, and playing for a team-10th 1,135 minutes. He ranked fourth on the team with 690 points, fifth with 297 rebounds, 79 assists, and a team-third 55 blocks.

O’Neal’s per-game statistics were more forgiving. He was second on the Heat with 17.3 points per game, in just 28.4 minutes average. He was second on the team with 7.4 rebounds and with 1.4 blocks per game, and fifth with 2.0 assists on an average night. He made 283-of-479 shots from the field (.591) and racked up a Heat record-bad .422 free throw percentage (with players who took at least 40 free throw attempts), making 124-of-294 from the stripe.

Shaq’s 21.7 PER was the lowest of his career to that point, but ranked second on the team. He was also second with a 29.4% usage rate. He had 2.8 Win Shares and finished the season with a 0.8 VORP. He had eight double-doubles for the season and scored 20 or more points 16 times. He only registered a GameScore above 20 on three occasions. He had his best game of the season on March 2nd, scoring 31 points on 12-of-16 shooting with 15 rebounds, six assists and a block as the Heat set down the Detroit Pistons, 85-82. Five days later, in a 103-70 Heat win against the Chicago Bulls, he scored 24 points with nine boards, eight assists and a block. Two days after that, he scored a season-high 32 points on 13-of-16 shooting, with nine rebounds and two assists in a 105-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Unlike the rest of the team, Miami’s center rotation came to play, as Fifth Star Alonzo Mourning led the team with a 20.0 PER and O’Neal was hot on his heels at 19.9. Shaq averaged 18.8 points with 8.5 rebounds over the four game series loss.

Fifth Star

Alonzo Mourning 518.8

Mourning made his triumphant return to the Five Stars after kidney disease, early retirement, and an exile to the New Jersey Nets. He was third on the Heat with 77 games played, and started the 43 games at center that O’Neal didn’t. He played 1,572 minutes and scored 661 points, with a team-third 350 rebounds and 178 blocks, which nearly tripled second-place Dwyane Wade.

Mourning made 238-of-425 shots from the field (.560) and 185-of-308 from the line (.601), averaging 8.6 points and 4.5 rebounds, with a team-leading 2.3 blocks in 20.4 minutes per game. His advanced statistics hold up to closer scrutiny, with a team-third 16.7 PER on a 20.8% usage rate. He earned 3.5 Win Shares for Miami, which was sixth on the team behind the top Three Stars, James Posey, and Jason Kapono.

On December 5th, he earned his only double-double of the season with 16 points on seven-of-eight shooting, grabbing 11 boards and rejecting four shots in a 101-97 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. By GameScore, his best effort of the season was on January 12th, in a 118-96 Heat win over the Golden State Warriors, when he scored 19 points with eight rebounds, five blocks and a steal. He averaged 6.3 points with 2.0 rebounds per game, averaging 13.8 minutes through the playoffs.

Mourning played one more NBA season with Miami, totaling 389 minutes over 25 games, scoring 13.8 points with 8.6 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per 36 minutes before retiring for good after his efforts for the 2007-08 Heat. He had his number retired on March 30th, 2009, the first former Heat player to earn the honor, and soon after rejoined the team as Vice President of Player Programs and Development.

The Rest

James Posey 499.4

Jason Kapono 492.0

Antoine Walker 382.3

Dorell Wright 321.7

Eddie Jones 293.9

Gary Payton 267.6

Michael Doleac 147.9

Chris Quinn 101.8

Earl Barron 28.9

Robert Hite 22.2

Wayne Simien 11.6

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