82games clarifies preseason relevance... and other notes
A couple of days ago I posted preseason comparative Win Score numbers and explained how they would translate into wins and losses using last year's Win Score numbers. Some of the results, as you may recall, were funny (such as the Lakers going 39-43).
I came up with a slightly unsupported theory as to why that happened, and now 82games.com has provided support for the theory.
The preseason numbers, however you slice them, have a sliding relevance according to each team's performance the previous season. The worse you did last season, the more relevant your preseason performance.
It makes sense. The good teams... like the Lakers, Pistons, Cavaliers... teams that rely on superstars... aren't going to play those superstars in the preseason. What's the point?
But crappy teams have no such luxury. They have no laurels to rest on.
What it means
Let's go back to my preseason Win Score chart for a minute. Looking at it again, what it might mean is this. The teams that could look for improvement are (in order of magnitude): the Miami Heat, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the New York Knicks.
This also suggests that the Milwaukee Bucks, the Memphis Grizzlies, the OKC Thunder, and the Charlotte Bobcats are in trouble.
An indication of depth as well?
Ron Wolf was always concerned about preseason performances by the Green Bay Packers because they indicated the quality of the Packers reserves. I think the same may be true in the NBA.
If that is true, Toronto, Cleveland, and Houston ought to worry a bit.
Team Win Score way down this season
I just did my first "NBA Team Win Score Average" calculation for the season, using the numbers provided by Basketball-reference.com, and through 2 games (on average), the NBA Team Win Score average is down to pre-merger levels: 38.3. You will recall that last season's average was 43.6.
I'm not sure if this is normal or not. I only started drinking the Win Score Kool-Aid in the middle of last season, so I don't know if the numbers are usually down early, or if this is an indication of a downward movement in the average.
A lower overall Team Win Score indicates poor play. Expansion and the emergence of the ABA in the late 1960s caused an immediate plunge in the overall Win Score compared to the years prior. In fact, the expanded NBA never regained the Win Score Averages it saw in the early 1960s. (note: How did I calculate Win Score for the years prior to 1974? Well, if you recall, I estimated the number of turnovers and steals and blocks based on regression analysis. I no longer have the formula that I came up with though. Many of my notes remained in the possession of the Ex-GF, and I'm sure she threw them out or burned them or used them for toilet paper.)
BTW... Happy Opening Night Bucks fans! " Bucks...ball!" Remember how the announcer always said that so deliberately on changes of possession in games at the old Milwaukee Arena? I loved that guy. I think they still kind of do that.