Seriously. The first trio, in 1996-97, had the winningest regular season in Heat history. The second trio in 2004-05, had the second winningest. Each threesome was responsible for exactly 31.2 wins, and each member of the two trios produced in approximately the same proportion to the other two, while their playing styles across the analogous pairings were remarkably similar: Wade and Hardaway? Both perimeter-producing scorers. O’Neal and Mourning? Capable scorers, dominant interior defenders and rebounders. Brown and Haslem? Valuable rebounding/defending bigs.
The parallels continue into 97-98 and 05-06: each team loses about six or seven wins, and each team’s big three maintain the same order, while producing slightly fewer BoxScores. Very interesting… perhaps a knowledgeable Heat fan can tell me whether the latter team was explicitly modeled on the former… I haven’t seen anything like this in reviewing any other BoxScore team histories. Another interesting parallel, perhaps less exciting to Heat fans, is that the most recent incarnation of the team managed only as many wins as the original Heat team in 1989.
Please do comment if you notice anything of interest which I have overlooked, especially along the lines of whether the orderings within years seem to be accurate in terms of value, as well as things like whether or not Hardaway’s 1997 season could really be the most valuable season in Heat history, and if Mourning’s 2000 season was really more valuable than any of Shaq’s years.
Note: Since this post was published, the Winshares formula has undergone some revisions of some substantive import. To see the most current iteration and accurate tables and graphs, please see the BoxScores page.