East vs. West Week 7: West with another winning week, but barely

A day late because, I don’t know really. Kind of ridiculous when this series is usually my only contribution to my own blog each week.

Week 7 wasn’t too bad for the East, finishing, um, 9-11, which makes for the seventh straight week the West finished with a winning record, but the East was decent! This was mostly thanks to a strong weekend, including a near-upset of Philadelphia over Memphis. Below is a look at the week-by-week summary and scores from last week:

week 7 scores

Lots of Clippers, Jazz, Suns, and Timberwolves in Week 8, playing in 13 of the 22 non-conference games. For the East, Indiana and Milwaukee are in four games each. Both played in one last night. FUN STUFF.

A quick screenshot of Week 8 with scores from Monday:

week8

So after this week there will be over 150 non-conference games. Will try to make next week a bit more interesting now that there’s a decent sample of games already played.

 

 

The best, worst, most even, and most lopsided matchups by SRS

As noted in my previous post, we’re about 1/4th of the way through the NBA season. There’s very little time to reflect, however, as there are 10 games scheduled tonight. There are a couple nice matchups in Pelicans-Mavericks and Rockets-Warriors, some lopsided ones in Knicks-Spurs and Clippers-Pacers, and finally some in-between, perfectly mediocre games in Celtics-Hornets and Heat-Nuggets. WHAT A GREAT NIGHT.

I actually looked at which games applied to each of those categories over the first fourth of the season, measuring them by Basketball-Reference’s metric labeled SRS, or Simple Rating System. SRS takes into account a team’s point differential and strength of schedule. It is not a perfect metric, ignoring wins and losses as I’ve explained here, but to me it’s better than looking strictly at margin of victory, among other statistics. For reference, the Golden State Warriors currently have the best SRS at 9.54 while the 76ers have the league-worst at -11.89. Anything above, say, 5.00 is very good.

I like the metric, so I’ve kept track of every team’s SRS on game nights. The first couple weeks were cut out from this post, though, because SRS needs to even itself out over the first handful of games or so. We will always have the -22.20 from New York and +25.46 from Golden State on November 2.

Below have been the 10 best matchups so far, sorted by the sum of the SRS from both teams:

best 10

There are some expected teams like Memphis and Dallas, but hello Toronto and Sacramento! The Kings, partly from being without DeMarcus Cousins, now have an SRS of just 1.96. Toronto, meanwhile, currently has the second-best mark in the league at 8.15. Unsurprisingly, a lot of teams from the West are listed here.

Tonight’s matchup between Houston and Golden State would place eighth with an SRS total of 13.01. None of the games would place among the 10 worst:

worst 10

So much tire fire, or dumpster fire? Any game featuring the 76ers rounds out the top five, but New York and Minnesota are also included in a decent amount. There is also Oklahoma City in one game. This may be #BOLD, but with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back that team will likely never add to the 10 worst matchups.

Looking ahead, it’ll be “interesting” to see if a game with two teams’ SRS’ summing to a total of -20.00 or worse happens again. Only the 76ers and Timberwolves have an SRS of -10.00 or worse while third most-embarrassing Detroit sits at -7.63. The next 76ers-Timberwolves matchup takes place on January 30. Mark that down, figure out what kind of unsatisfying dinner to have, choose your least-favorite Gatorade flavor, and we can all be miserable together.

Lastly, the 10 most-even and, well, least-even matchups:

20 diff

Tonight’s Portland-Minnesota game barely misses out on the 10 largest differentials. Surprisingly, some of those games in the screenshot have been pretty fun, or at least close. The team with the worse SRS in those matchups is, to no surprise, 0-10.

The home team in the 10 most-even matchups, at least by SRS, is 8-2. Most look decently contested, but we’re not taking into account rest advantages, injuries, players returning from injuries, etc. Again, Oklahoma City is likely to see a rise in their SRS, the Kings may continue to dip, Detroit’s should be twice as bad for being as disappointing as they are, and Golden State should get a boost just because. Maybe I’ll make a new metric called SoupRS. If a team was a soup and I had a spoonful, my reaction would either hurt or help their original SRS. Basketball stats: Tasty, edible, digestible?

Looking back on 2015 over-under bets

We are now just over 1/4th of the way through the NBA season, so in celebration I decided to repost my thoughts on over-under lines from a couple months ago. Golden State makes me feel like a genius when I was really making a desperate attempt to be funny. The Bucks? Not so much. They’re almost halfway to their over-under line of 24.5. (These lines were taken from the Westgate SuperBook, by the way.)

Anyway, take a look. There’s blood from a few bad predictions, for sure.

East vs. West Week 6: The East sort of strikes back

The West may have finished Week 6 over .500 at 15-10, but the East put a dent in the record-breaking point differential after laying some smackings on them. Those were mostly thanks to the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards as they went a combined 4-0, each win by eight or more points.

It wasn’t too pretty for the rest of the East teams in non-conference play. Chicago, Detroit, Indiana, and Milwaukee all went winless, a combined 0-9. At least Philadelphia scored their first win of the season…on the road…against a West team. (Dammit, Minnesota). The undefeated West teams last week with multiple non-conference games were Dallas, Golden State, Oklahoma City, and Portland. Utah and Denver went winless. COOL.

Below is the updated non-conference stats through Week 6, and below is a screenshot of the scores from all the games. Thought I’d include them in case anybody was curious.

week6scores

Statistically, Week 6 may have been the East’s best showing so far. I mean, there’s even a loss by San Antonio. GOOD GRIEF. It’s between Week 2 and 6 for the best, which is pretty pathetic since the East finished neither of them over .500.

Week 7 is a slightly shorter non-conference schedule with 20 games versus the 25 we saw the last two weeks. There’s also finally a home-road edge for the West, though a small one.

weeky7

Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, and New York take road trips out west while the Clippers and Blazers will or are already playing multiple games on East courts. The other teams with multiple games this week are Indiana, Milwaukee, Washington, Denver, Memphis, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, and Utah. For the West, only San Antonio and Sacramento are on the non-conference schedule but with only one game.

FUN STUFF. Kevin Durant is back, so we’ll see him in what looks like a great matchup vs Cleveland on Thursday night. There are some other goodies like Portland-Chicago, Clippers-Washington, and a good ol’ repeat of the 1999 NBA Finals in San Antonio versus New York. The Spurs still have the same roster, pretty much. Kind of crazy that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili all came together only a few years after that first title.

ANYWAY. If you somehow made it to the end of this post, I’d recommend checking out Zach Lowe’s column about non-conference disparity and Ziller’s fantastic piece about a solution for it. I’ll roll out at least a couple of more posts this week, including an addition to the My Soup section. Unfortunately it’s not really soup but weird stats I’ve put together. They don’t taste like anything and if they smell bad it’s probably you. Sorry.

Have a good week, though.

A peek at point distribution through five weeks

A while ago, I tweeted 1998 and 2015’s league-average point distributions in the form of a radar chart. Chicken Noodle Hoop is definitely pro-radar charts despite their flaws, so I’ll expand a bit on that tweet here. In case you missed it being sent out, had me muted (understandable) or blocked (well, whatever), here it is again:

Since radar charts don’t show exact numbers, below is a table of point distribution from 1998 to 2015. Numbers were used from what’s available on the lovely NBA.com:

The mid-range game continues to decline in the distribution of points, but very slightly from 2013-14 to 2014-15. Not too much has changed from last season to this one, which shouldn’t be too surprising.

Looking through slides from year to year, the change over 17 seasons is subtle until going from 2015 back to 1998 when, um, WHOA.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Maybe it’s next season, maybe it’s in the year 2020, but the point distribution could eventually take on the shape of a triangle. We can only imagine how awkward a chart from the 1980s would look like.

This was a super short post, though. I’ll fiddle more with this type of stuff as the week goes on. Radar charts are back from the dead, for better or for worse depending on how you feel about them.

 

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