Revisiting Cumulative Win Score after the trading deadline
Around February 18th, just before the trading deadline, I did an analysis of every NBA team's "Win Score / Game" and "Opposition Win Score / Game" averages, and compared each number against the NBA average team Win Score / Game, which was then 42.5.
At the time I roughly defined the first average as a reflection of the team's offensive efficiency and the second as a reflection of a team's defensive efficiency (though as I said then, those definitions are not entirely accurate because the "Win Score" calculation contains both offensive and defensive statistics... but they are still pretty decent shorthand descriptions).
Anyway, I recalculated those numbers after this weekend to see if and how they have moved since the trading deadline. I came up with some pretty interesting results.
In the parenthesis next to each average is the average I calculated just before the trade deadline. Keep in mind, those are all season averages. So any movement of the numbers in the last two weeks should be amplified accordingly as you analyze the direction the team is heading.
Analysis of some teams' directions
Suns: At the time the trade was made, I said the Suns were right to roll the dice on O'Neal because they needed to shore up their "Opposition Win Score", which was right at the NBA average. I said such an average score likely would not win them a championship, and I backed that up with historical data. Well, so far, mission NOT accomplished. Since the trade the Suns Team Win Score and Opposition Win Score are both going in the wrong direction. And if you notice, even though the Heat are not yet reaping any results, the addition of Shawn Marion has their Opposition Win Score trending in the proper direction. So, perhaps the move will not pay off for the Suns.
Lakers: The Lakers, on the other hand, have both sets of numbers heading in the right direction. Of course, they got Gasol for a song, whereas the Suns had to actually make a trade for O'Neal, so you would expect that. Nevertheless, the Lakers are appearing stronger by the day.
Jazz: Everyone keeps saying Utah is better with Kyle Korver, but in the last two weeks their offensive numbers have stayed the same while their defensive numbers have gotten slightly worse. They may have initially improved with Korver, I don't know, but they haven't made any additional progress in the last two weeks.
Celtics: The Celtics have backed up a bit, but I think it might simply be a regression toward the mean. Their defensive numbers were so historically high, I don't think they were sustainable. According to my chart, even adjusting for schedule, they are still by far the strongest team in the Association. We'll see if I'm right.
Rockets: The Rockets are really coming on strong. Their winning streak is no fluke. Their offensive numbers are way up, and their already excellent defensive numbers are up. We'll see how the Ming injury effects them, but I suspect they will be strong enough to at least get to the conference semis, if not beyond.
Mavericks: The Mavericks have also gotten better since the deadline. And given the fact that their Opp Win Score is much better than the Lakers, they will be a tough "out" if the two teams face each other. Although, that said, they've had superior numbers going into the last two seasons and haven't come away with a championship.
Nuggets: The Nuggets have a crappy defense, but their offense ought to be good enough to get them into the playoffs. I think they will sneak in ahead of somebody, most likely the Warriors. The Warriors defense is just bad, but, hey, it was bad last year too and look what they did.
Cavaliers: The Cavs have gotten better since their big trade, but that's on short evidence. They have a long way to go before they can contend with the likes of the Pistons or the Celtics. At least, that's my opinion.