Bucks Diary

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Race for 3rd Worst

All that's left now for the Bucks is the NBA Lottery and a chance at either Durant or Oden. Thus, it is in their best interests to finish as poorly as possible and attempt to secure the third worst record in the Association (the bottom two spots seem out of reach).

For that reason I decided to take a close look at the race for that third worst spot. Here's how it stands. At the moment the Bucks are tied with the Charlotte Bobcats for the spot, and have a 0.5 game "lead" on the Atlanta Hawks, a 2.5 game lead on the Philadelphia 76ers and Seattle Supersonics, and a 3.0 game lead on the Portland Trailblazers.

Amongst that pack of "contenders" for third worst, the Hawks have the easiest schedule left, followed by the Bucks, then the Sixers, then the Bobcats. The Western Conference contenders have by far the hardest remaining schedules, with the Blazers having a slightly harder schedule than the Sonics.

So the race is closer than it might appear at first blush. Coolstandings.com, which projects teams final records based upon a computer model, has the Bobcats barely beating out the competition for third worst, with the Bucks finishing tied for fourth worst with the Hawks, and the rest of the pack finishing either a game or two games behind.

So, the Bucks have some work to do to secure that third spot.

Here's a breakdown of the race, with the games back in yellow, the remaining opponents winning percentage in green, and the remaining home and road games in red.

1. (--) (.450) (7-5)
2. (--) (.477) (6-5)
3. (0.5) (.441) (5-5)
4. (2.5) (.470) (5-7)
5. (2.5) (.566) (5-7)
6. (3.0) (.576) (5-5)

Footnote 1: Remember when reading this post to invert your normal thinking. In the race to the bottom, "Games back" is obviously the equivalent of "Games ahead" in the real standings, and the teams whose opponents have better winning percentages are actually in a favorable position vis-a-vis those teams whose opponents have lower winning percentages.

Footnote 2: All calculations as to strength of schedule were done by me, as were the tabulations of home vs. away games remaining. Both are, to the best of my knowledge, accurate. (I used my "fingers, toes, and an abacus" as Voice of the Bucks Ted Davis would say.) However, if you see any inaccuracies, please let me know. Also, see the comment section for additional discussion of the coolstandings.com forecasts.


At March 28, 2007 at 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does Cool Standings' expected wins number reflect just how thin the Bucks roster will be for the rest of its games? From a quick glance, it sounds like they use season-long scoring averages that don't reflect abrupt roster changes due to trade or injury. From their site:

"The trick, of course, is to determine what chance each team has of beating every other team. Our method is to use simple team statistics (e.g. points for and points against) to predict how each team will fare against all others."

At March 28, 2007 at 12:31 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

See, I thought about that too. I'm not sure how they make their calculations, but I can say their baseball calculations last season were early close to correct as I recall.

That said, since Bogut and Villanueva have gone down, they have only decreased the Bucks expected wins by one game, which doesn't seem right to me.

To make a long answer short, I don't think their calculations fully appreciate or take into account the current states of each team's rosters. Actually, I'm not really sure they could come up with a mathematical equation that could account for such things.

But I could be wrong.

At March 28, 2007 at 7:25 PM, Anonymous cecil said...

So you're saying there's a chance!

At March 28, 2007 at 8:43 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...


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