Wannabes

Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:34 pm

I tinker with stats. I won't tell you how I come to these stats because there's no point in that. I also have no idea how accurate these stats are going to be in predicting the outcome of the playoffs. I'll just say they're somewhat similar to the stats I've used to project playoffs the last two years and those numbers were quite accurate.

So what follows are the nine teams with the best shot at winning the playoffs, their projected record, their chances of winning it all, and what their biggest obstacles are to winning the title.

9. San Antonio Spurs (49-33)
San Antonio has been incredibly bad against good teams. And I mean incredibly bad. They are the worst of the elite team against playoff trending teams and against elite teams. A team that cannot even compete against the best teams has no shot at winning the trophy.
Chances of winning: 0.7%

8. Orlando Magic (49-33)
The Magic have struggled with injuries. Among the nine teams on the list, they have the worst health (yes, worth than Portland in all the ways that matter) to this point in the season. When they have been at full strength, the team is a pedestrian 15-11. They are simply a worse team than last season, and if they cannot become healthy and gel soon, they will face an early exit from the playoffs.
Chances of winning: 2.0%

7. Boston Celtics (53-29)
The Celtics have had relatively good health, but arguably their best player has been the most frequently absent from the lineup. When KG is in the lineup, they are 22-7. They have been pretty good against playoff teams, but have not been able to take it to the next level against the elite teams. Really, KG's health is the biggest question mark for this team, by far.
Chances of winning: 4.2%

6. Portland Trailblazers (50-32)
The Blazers are young, have had a lot of flux in their lineup, but have played well with any group of starters, really. They seem to be a better team without some of their "starters" in fact. Still, they have failed to establish themselves as ready to compete against the very best. They have won only half of their games against the top teams. We all know that you must win more than 50% of your games against the best team in order to win the title.
Chances of winning: 4.4%

5. Dallas Mavericks (54-28)
The Mavs have been hot of late. Moreover, they have been good against playoff teams and very good against the elite teams. They were a tough playoff series away from facing the Lakers in the WCF last season. They have a good chance of finding themselves in a similar position this season. I suppose the knock on Dallas is that, while they're a good team that plays consistently well, they do not have the "wow" factor and the ability to dominate as the top four teams do.
Chances of winning: 6.2%

4. Atlanta Hawks (53-29)
The Hawks started out hot, have been consistently good against both playoff teams and the elite teams. They have had good fortune with health, and have the third best record against elite teams. That means they can hang with anyone. That is why they are the team with the second best chances of making it to the Finals from the Eastern bracket. They are not the top team in the East because they are not the Cavaliers.
Chances of winning: 6.6%

3. Los Angeles Lakers (61-21)
To be honest, it hurts to place the Lakers here, but it is the right place for them to be. Overall, the Lakers have the best record in basketball and have played very well against the playoff teams. They have really struggled against the elite teams, however. That is troublesome. It remains an issue even when you factor in the Lakers' 21-4 record with Pau Gasol (the best record for a team at full strength in the NBA). Two blowout losses to Cleveland this season and a grueling series against Denver last season suggest that if the Lakers do not enter the playoffs at full strength, they will not advance to the Finals, much less hoist the trophy.
Chances of winning: 7.7%

2. Denver Nuggets (56-26)
Denver has not played its best ball against non playoff teams. The Nuggest have, however, risen to the occasion against good teams. They have the best record against both playoff teams and elite teams. They have the second best record in the West when at full strength. They are legitimate threats to do what they nearly did last season: overthrow the Lakers.
Chances of winning: 15.8%

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21)
The Cavaliers have been good against everyone, posting a top three record overall, in their last ten games, against playoff teams, and against the elite teams of the league. If they can remain healthy, they should be able to chug past Boston and Atlanta to earn a trip to the Finals. Make no mistake about it: this is James's team, but it is Shaquille O'Neal who makes this team the best playoff team.
Chances of winning: 52.4%
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Re: Wannabes

Postby Slamjam on Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:44 pm

I think the Cavs are the favorite at this point, but you're making them the overwhelming favorite even before the trade deadline. I hope this is a jinx.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby Lakerjones on Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:49 pm

Ouchie. I get it that the Lakers have struggled but the injuries have been depleting us. Now that Pau is back we should get better. That loss last night wasn't a blow out by the way. That was extremely close, down to the wire. I would never bet against us and I think 7 and change percent chance is WAY too low for us. We will take Denver down. I'd give us a slightly better chance than the Cavs, but of course I'm biased.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:51 pm

On the scoreboard, it was close. The Cavs controlled that game from the end of the first Q on. It hurt to watch. 7% chance factors in the likelihood of further injuries, where the Lakers have sure struggled over the last three seasons (Bynum, Pau, some Odom, Ariza) come playoff time.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby Ducasse1 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 5:38 pm

There's no way this is accurate. I'll put $10,000 down right now if someone gives me 14-1 odds the Lakers will win a championship this season.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Sat Jan 23, 2010 7:11 pm

It's just under 1 in 13 actually. Stay tuned. You know how power rankings often take into account what's going on now as compared to what things are like at the end of the season? These considerations are necessarily weighed more heavily now.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:16 am

Some updates:

Friday's Games
The Spurs (at full strength) lost another game to a playoff team, falling 116-109 to the Rockets.

The Magic (FS) beat up on a very bad Sacramento team, winning by 16.

Boston (FS) beat a very good Portland team (missing Roy) despite a poor game from Kevin Garnett, winning 98-95 in overtime.

The Mavericks (FS) were beaten up by a very bad 76ers team, 92-81.

The Hawks (FS) beat a surging Bobcats team convincingly.

The Lakers (FS) struggled early but pulled out a comfy win against the Knicks.

The Nuggets and Cavaliers were idle.

Saturday's Games
The Spurs licked their wounds.

The Magic (FS) faced Charlotte in a game that saw both teams on the second night of a back-to-back. Orlando needed OT to do it, but they beat Charlotte.

The Celtics were idle.

Portland continued to impress despite missing Roy. They saw five players in double figures in beating the Pistons.

The Mavericks, Hawks, and Lakers were idle.

Denver (FS) went to OT but beat a David West-less Hornets.

The Cavaliers (no Mo) blew a 13-point halftime lead before coming back to close out the surprisingly good Thunder, winning by 1 point as Durant drained a three at the buzzer.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:56 pm

Sunday's Games
Having gotten some good rest in, the Mavs looked unstoppable against a tired Knicks team. Seven players hit double figures and no starter had a +/- below +30 (in a ridiculously low 24 minutes, mind you). So even minus Dampier and Kidd, the Mavs smashed a poor team.

Lakers are due up in a couple of hours.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby GNC on Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:58 am

ouch. usually your numbers are pretty close too :man5:
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Re: Wannabes

Postby John3:16 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:53 pm

We had 2 blowout losses to the Cavs ? Game 2 was a couple Pau FTs away from OT.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:20 am

John3:16 wrote:We had 2 blowout losses to the Cavs ? Game 2 was a couple Pau FTs away from OT.

BLOWOUT! :) Look above. Someone else said the same. I'll change the word if it bothers people, but we have to bear in mind the way the game went. LA went up big after 1. They were then held to just 60 points and were outscored by 15 over the final three quarters. Cleveland really dominated them.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:19 pm

Dropped out: Portland Trailblazers (6th last time)

9. San Antonio Spurs (46-36): Last time: 9th
San Antonio faced two good teams since the last blog. They split those two, which is an improvement over what they have been doing. They also lost to Chicago. The Spurs still sport the worst record among elite teams against top 10 teams and against top 16 teams. They really do not have a shot.
Chances of winning: 1.0%

8. Boston Celtics (49-33): Last time: 7th
KG looked pretty good in a loss to the Lakers. Unfortunately, the team is struggling and reeling after three straight losses to elite teams. The Celtics can comfort themselves with the thought that they lost to good teams, but I see this as a sign that the Celtics cannot hang with the big boys right now.
Chances of winning: 3.2%

7. Dallas Mavericks (51-31): Last time: 5th
Wins over Milwaukee and New York are unimpressive. Losses to Phoenix and Portland hurt the Mavs' credibility. A very average team against playoff opponents, Dallas is a borderline 2nd round team.
Chances of winning: 5.4%

6. Orlando Magic (54-28): Last time: 8th
The Magic have taken four of their last five, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Celtics. Orlando has the ability to beat up on playoff teams, their win% against elite teams is just slightly better than 50%, but their inconsistency (Vince Carter) hurts their chances of making it back to the Finals.
Chances of winning: 7.7%

5. Utah Jazz (53-29): Last time: Unranked
The Jazz have been impressive of late. In their last five, they have dropped the Spurs, the Suns, and Portland. They are a deadly team at home, so they can extend series even against the best teams. Their win percentages against playoff and elite teams are both slightly above fifty percent, which is enough to make it to the second round. After that, they will need some good fortune or impressive defensive efforts.
Chances of winning: 9.3%

4. Atlanta Hawks (54-28): Last time: 4th
The Hawks faced a brutal stretch of scheduling, seeing five straight teams above .500, including three elite teams. Atlanta fared reasonable well, beating Boston, Houston, and Charlotte. They lost to Orlando and San Antonio. The Hawks remain a top 3 team against playoff and elite teams. They can win a seven-game series against any team in the East.
Chances of winning: 9.4%

3. Los Angeles Lakers (64-18): Last time: 3rd
They may not have the best record in the NBA, but they have to feel like they're on top of the world after a narrow win over the Celtics. Alarmingly, the Lakers remain sub .500 against elite teams, but they have beaten 58% of their playoff-strength opponents, have won 8 of 10, and have the best record when at full strength. They have been good, but Denver has been better so far.
Chances of winning: 13.9%

2. Cleveland Cavaliers (65-17): Last time: 1st
Five straight wins in the past week are nice, but the best team they faced nearly beat them. The opponents in those five games are a combined 40 games below .500. Still, it doesn't hurt the Cavs too much. They remain top three among elite teams in all of the main win categories. They have taken 69% of their games against elite and playoff teams, which should be good enough to put them in the Finals.
Chances of winning: 24.9%

1. Denver Nuggets (58-24): Last time: 2nd
One of only two teams in the top 3 among elites in overall record, recent trends, record against elite teams, and record against playoff teams. And they have the best record against both elites and playoff teams, winning nearly 75% of such contests. They are the team to beat, and they have done some of it without Carmelo Anthony.
Chances of winning: 25.4%
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Re: Wannabes

Postby trodgers on Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:21 pm

Updated. I feel foolish. I typed in a piece of data wrong last time. That's what's responsible for the Cavs' insanely high% last time. *Sigh*. It should have been something like 28/38, but I put in 28/10 (10+28 = 38). So instead of factoring in something like 2/3, it factored in 2.8, which threw things out of whack. Apologies.
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Re: Wannabes

Postby hard_wood on Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:05 pm

We are incrementally improving with each and every game and that's on the road. The chemistry with Pau and Drew is much better now and Drew has stepped way up lately. Ron's foot isn't even 100% and he's already making more of an impact. We are one half game behind Cleveland right now and I don't think the last two times we played Cleveland are an accurate yard stick for guaging our chances against them in a 7 game series.

When clicking and healthy we may still be out muscled but we can make adjustments and beat them in other ways besides going muscle for muscle. I like the fact that they are cocky and feel invincable right now. just like Boston felt when they came back from 13 down last Sunday and got a ten point lead going on us. The crowd was roaring and they were even hitting threes. But look who won the game.
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