Winning Consistently in the NBA

You no doubt already read Josh’s (@joshweil) take on this subject over at Everything and Nothing. I can’t really comment because Josh’s idea was to share the data and have each of us post our takes on it. With that, enjoy!

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Josh took apart the numbers from nerdnumbers.com, to determine how well teams did on average. He also looked at how much variation each team had. This was done using Wins Produced. Wins Produced lines up incredibly well with point margin (which is what lead to Points over Par) With a good metric in hand, how do teams look?

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Thank you for bearing with me in my experiments with new charts. It’s not perfect but it’s fun. Above I show the average Wins Produced per team and +/- two standard deviations. In essence, each of those lines breaks down how well each team did in 90% of their games last season.

There are some fun teams. For instance, Philadelphia managed to lose many games despite their high margin. Of course, they were also all over the place. As we can see though, most teams are all over the place. With some noisy data in hand, let’s look over a few highlights.

The Thunder Are Freaking Scary

All right, the Thunder had the third best average in terms of Wins per game. What’s more they were the most consistent team in the league and the only one who didn’t dip into the negative range. If we look at the Thunder’s top performers, only Nick Collison is past his peak — using Dave and Arturo’s age data. If the Thunder can stop playing Perkins they’ll be even scarier. And if they realize Westbrook is overrated and trade him for something better? Help us all!

Portland, Philadelphia and Detroit walk into a bar

These teams had the most variation. Portland and Philly make sense. Last season the Blazers decided to blow things up and trade Gerald Wallace and Marcus Camby away for nothing. Before March 15th the Blazers were actually an above average team and opposing GFs and Cs played below average. After the trade they went into a tail spin and were much worse.

Philadelphia started out the season amazing. Like seriously, they were best of all time level briefly. Then they tailed off and Spencer Hawes got injured. It was a weird season.

I can’t explain Detroit and would love the two people that actually watched them last season to comment below.

Charlotte was really bad

Not much else to say. But man, when you make Sacramento look good? They certainly earned their worst management award.

Summing up

This was a lot of fun. I’m curious to see what Josh says.

-Dre