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View Full Version : The Denver Nuggets' post-trade stats: predicative of postseason success?



DenButsu
04-08-2011, 08:41 PM
Right now on Hollinger's playoff odds (http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/playoffodds), the top 3 teams with the best chance of winning the Finals are:

1 CHI 44.2%
2 LAL 27.9%
3 DEN 23.1%

As I'm sure most of you know, these odds are based on his power rankings (http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings), where Denver has consistently held the #2 spot for a couple of weeks (slipping briefly to #3 before returning to #2 again after a Lakers loss and Nuggets win).

Neil Paine makes the case for the importance of dominating weaker competition in his article "Guts and Stomps" at Basketball-Reference (http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=8159), where he quotes Aaron Schatz: "Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to dominate inferior opponents, not their ability to win close games."

In another thread here in the stats forum, Chronz said of the simple rating system (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=544496), "While SRS isnt perfect it is far and away the best single measurement we have for measuring a teams level of play." SRS is essentially the average margin by which a team has defeated (or lost to) its opponents, adjusted for strength of schedule.

Below are stats I compiled last week (http://www.prosportsdaily.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607813) for the (at the time) 19 games they played since the Carmelo Anthony trade, which show the point margin versus all teams, lottery teams and playoff teams. These numbers are unadjusted for SoS (and of course are slightly different now since they have played a couple games since I crunched the numbers), but considering that they played more playoff teams than lottery teams in that span of games, it seems to me that the adjustment would, if anything, increase the SAS ratings.

Now part of the reason I wanted to ask the knowledgeable folks in here what you think about all of this is that I understand full well that a quarter season sample size may be insufficient, and I also don't know the importance of sample size regarding point margin specifically. Any feedback on these two questions in particular would be appreciated.

It seems to me that, at face value, the extent to which the Nuggets have dominated their competition since the trade looks like it should bode very well for playoff success. But I'm not sure how much weight or significance should be attributed to these numbers, or how many grains of salt should be taken along with them.

What do you think?

Here are Nuggets and opponent stats for their first 19 games following the trade:


W-L FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
All teams
Nuggets 15-4 39.1 81.6 .479 8.2 21.1 .389 20.2 27.9 .724 10.2 44.9 24.6 9.1 5.2 13.9 19.4 106.6
Opponents 36.2 82.5 .439 5.8 19.1 .304 16.7 21.9 .763 9.4 39.4 20.5 8.2 5.9 14.7 21.9 94.8
Difference +2.9 -0.9 +.040 +2.4 +2.0 +.085 +3.5 +6.0 -.039 +0.8 +5.5 +4.1 +0.9 -0.7 -0.8 -2.5 +11.8

Lottery teams
Nuggets 8-1 41.8 84.6 .494 7.8 21.6 .361 20.2 27.6 .732 12.3 47.1 26.7 10.0 5.4 15.4 18.7 111.6
Opponents 36.6 83.4 .439 5.0 17.6 .284 15.6 20.3 .768 9.6 37.3 21.9 8.4 5.1 16.4 21.7 93.7
Difference +5.2 +1.2 +.055 +2.8 +4.0 +.077 +4.6 +7.3 -.037 +2.7 +9.8 +4.8 +1.6 +0.3 -1.0 -3.0 +17.9

Playoff teams
Nuggets 7-3 36.7 78.9 .465 8.5 20.6 .413 20.2 28.3 .714 8.2 42.9 22.7 8.3 5.0 12.6 20.1 102.1
Opponents 35.8 81.7 .438 6.6 20.5 .322 17.7 23.3 .760 9.3 41.3 19.2 8.0 6.7 13.1 22.2 95.9
Difference +0.9 -2.8 +.027 +1.9 +0.1 +.091 +2.5 +5.0 -.046 -1.1 +1.6 +3.5 +0.3 -1.7 -0.5 -2.1 +6.2

Baller1
04-13-2011, 03:11 AM
I can see why it's plausible to predict/expect a possible deep playoff run by the Nuggets based on their post trade success, but then I have to of course put on my homer glasses and retort that their likely first round matchup is finding similar post-trade success.

DenButsu
04-13-2011, 04:25 AM
I can see why it's plausible to predict/expect a possible deep playoff run by the Nuggets based on their post trade success, but then I have to of course put on my homer glasses and retort that their likely first round matchup is finding similar post-trade success.

Fair enough, and thanks for actually responding. :laugh:

But really what I was hoping for from the stat heads is whether (keeping potential opponents in the abstract) it should predict success for a team (any team, although in this case it's the Nuggs) to put up those kinds of numbers in that span of games, and whether the whole assumption of winning margin as predictive is valid or not.

Baller1
04-13-2011, 02:26 PM
Fair enough, and thanks for actually responding. :laugh:

But really what I was hoping for from the stat heads is whether (keeping potential opponents in the abstract) it should predict success for a team (any team, although in this case it's the Nuggs) to put up those kinds of numbers in that span of games, and whether the whole assumption of winning margin as predictive is valid or not.

:laugh2: I got you Den.

I definitely think the huge numbers since the acquisition indicative of a possible playoff run. I mean, I don't exactly see an argument against the Nuggets at this point in regards to their post-trade numbers. The only thing we have to judge off of are the games in which the new core of players have played together, and therefore it's completely conceivable that the great play is a foreshadowing for post season success...

Guess we'll just have to wait and see. ;)

KnicksorBust
04-13-2011, 08:01 PM
I think it's far too small of a sample size during what I consider the easiest time of the season. There are tons of end of year superstars. Teams resting players, injured players being shut down, role players getting expanded roles. I don't put a ton of weight behind the momentum theory.

In regards to the Nuggets specifically, I think when the playoffs slow down their style of play they will be forced to play a different brand of basketball which plays against their strengths. Also if they draw the Thunder that is a nightmare matchup for them. Against the Mavericks I would give them a punchers chance but Thunder or Lakers would be a longshot.