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HawkItus

The numbers say what?!?!?!(Hold on to your seats boys)

30 posts in this topic

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yes, Miami actually got better

By Bradford Doolittle

Basketball Prospectus

Posted ImageAndrew Bynum is all smiles in Philly, but his new team might not have the same success this year.

The transactions are still trickling in, but barring an unforeseen blockbuster, we can just about put a wrap on our offseason transactions. Using NBAPET, my system for projecting, evaluating and tracking the league, I've entered all transactions through the weekend and created a wins forecast for every team.

I've also compared the wins forecast to last season's total of Pythagorean wins per 82 games for each team, which is the record each team should have had based on its point differential. This gives us an idea how teams have moved up and down the NBA ladder since the Heat wrapped up the championship a couple of months ago.

With ESPN.com's Summer Forecast upon us, let's take a look at just how close these projections are to what our expert panel predicted. The first number for each team is projected wins, the second is how many games better (or worse) the team should be than in 2011-12.

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1. Miami Heat: 60.5 | 2.6

With the Bulls likely to take a big step back this season, the Heat should be able to land the East's top seed with little difficulty, something it has gone without the last two years despite winning a pair of conference titles. Miami projects to be a top-five team on each end of the floor, displaying the most balance of any team in the league.

Posted Image

2. Atlanta Hawks: 48.7 | 2.5 worse

It's funny, our projections systems have never much liked the Hawks over the years and now that they've unloaded their highest-profile player, we've got them getting a better seed than at any point during Atlanta's current string of playoff teams. The Hawks' offense without Joe Johnson will get better, trading in a lot of long jumpers for more trips to the foul line. Still, it's not so much a matter of the Hawks getting better as it is the rest of the East backsliding.

Posted Image

3. New York Knicks: 48.4 | 1.9 worse

If this seems odd, consider that the Knicks finished five games worse last season than their point differential suggested they should have. Because that kind of disparity usually evens itself out, New York's projection would have improved even if the Knicks had stood pat during the offseason.

Posted Image

4. Boston Celtics: 46.9 | 1.9 worse

This seems about right. The Celtics retained more or less the same core, only one year older. The supporting cast looks a little bit better, and Boston projects to be the best defensive team in the league.It should be enough for Rajon Rondo and Co. to run Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce a little longer, but it can't stop the inevitable.

Posted Image

5. Chicago Bulls: 46.9 | 16.8 worse

What did you expect? With Derrick Rose forecast to be out at least half the season and Chicago's league-best bench almost completely turned over, even the most optimistic Bulls fan can't dare hope for another No. 1 seed. If they get one, the folks in Springfield, Mass., might as well go ahead and clear out a spot for Tom Thibodeau in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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6. Indiana Pacers: 43.7 | 6.9 worse

This is a surprisingly pessimistic look at the Pacers, who certainly seem like one of the league's rising teams. Mostly we're seeing a regression for Indiana's performance on the defensive end. One problem in that area may be the addition of Ian Mahinmi, which could make the already foul-prone Pacers the most hack-happy team in the league.

Posted Image

7. Brooklyn Nets: 42.9 | 18.8

The good news is that Brooklyn projects to be the most improved team in the league. As we've written, that would have been largely true even without the addition of Johnson because of the injury problems the Nets suffered last season. While Johnson's addition appears to help the Nets a lot more than his loss hurts the Hawks, the fact of the matter is that the Nets are still well short of the league's upper crust.

Posted Image

8. Philadelphia 76ers: 42.5 | 11.3 worse

The Sixers' projection is bogged down by an iffy playing time projection for Andrew Bynum, which is based on his long history of knee trouble. However, even if Bynum repeats last season's healthy campaign, the Sixers will still be short of perimeter players that can efficiently create their own shot. That problem is made worse by the lack of the traditional, playmaking point guard that can make this kind of power configuration work. The Sixers should again be one of the top defensive teams in the league.

Posted Image

9. Toronto Raptors: 41.8 | 10.8

The additions of big man Jonas Valanciunas and shooting guard Landry Fields give Toronto a much more solid starting five. Head coach Dwayne Casey's team will stress defense, and if DeMar DeRozan's productivity starts to match his raw talent, the Raptors might be poised for a playoff run.

Posted Image

10. Milwaukee Bucks: 39.7 | 2.1 worse

You might not have noticed that Milwaukee actually outscored its opponents last season, but it did. Still, even a full season of Ersan Ilyasova, Monta Ellis and the addition of Samuel Dalembert only serve to maintain the Bucks' status as perfectly average.

Posted Image

11. Detroit Pistons: 32.9 | 6.1

The Pistons' name still pops up in 'who will lose the most games' polls, but there is upside to the Greg Monroe-Rodney Stuckey-Brandon Knight core. If rookie Andre Drummond can contribute in a positive fashion, Detroit could be one of the league's more improved outfits.

Posted Image

12. Cleveland Cavaliers: 30.9 | 9.6

With one season under Kyrie Irving's belt, the Cavaliers should continue their upwards arc with another big step forward. Irving is a legit franchise player. Meanwhile, the Anderson Varejao-led contingent of big men are forecast to make Cleveland one of the league's top offensive-rebounding teams.

Posted Image

13. Washington Wizards: 30.2 | 3.0

Washington's new veteran frontline of Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza should help solidify the Wizards on the defensive end. Unfortunately, the offense still projects as one of the league's most inefficient. However, that could change fast if John Wall's production begins to match his elite potential.

Posted Image

14. Orlando Magic: 29.2 | 14.2 worse

The Bulls are the only team projected to take a bigger step back than Orlando faces in the first year post-Superman. And it could crater much worse than this as veterans like Hedo Turkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Al Harrington and Glen Davis start to lose their motivation to stay "healthy."

Posted Image

15. Charlotte Bobcats: 15.7 | 6.6

The absolutely scary thing about the Bobcats' 7-59 record last season (8.6 wins per 82 games) is that it was entirely justified by Charlotte's horrific point differential. The Bobcats will be better, but they'll still be so bad that hardly anyone will notice.

Bradford Doolittle is an author for Basketball Prospectus. Follow him on Twitter at @bbdoolittle.

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I am not to fond of only using statistics to determine an outcome because after all, we are human and things constantly change. BUUUUT MAN.....I sure hope your system holds true. This would be huge!Thanks for posting!

Edited by CODHAWKSFAN

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Imagine if we played Brooklyn in the 1st round of playoffs. That would be funny/weird. Posted Image

Edited by AHawks89

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I think the only goal with this was to set the bar so high that one of these prognosticators will actually overrate us for once. Kudos.

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Ain't no way. I optimistically place the Hawks at 5th in the east.

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This is the whole point. The east is looking at an historically bad season. That's why i think the Hawks staying in the middle of the playoff pack is very likely. I think we'll be a pretty good team. After the Heat and Celtics the rest of the east is a mess.

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The prime offseason story would change from, "But, can we keep Josh Smith?" to "But, can we keep Larry Drew?"~lw3

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First of all, thanks for posting - - Interesting.

Figures don't lie.

Liars figure.

Statistics show and prove who is good and bad, but remember,

Players play the game and coaches coach the game.

Cold, hard facts may prove one thing - BUT - Actual human beings

can and do make a huge difference. You can't guarantee that they

will always do as expected - IE - Follow the statistics script.

We will not know for sure until we get our players on the floor, have

them work out together, establish a chemestry and then get into games

that really matter.

I'm personally looking foreward to seeing how everything shakes out.

GO HAWKS!!!

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Again, Gray Mule the wisest man in the room!

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More trips to the foul line? Games aint won on paper but Sounds good to me. Hopefully size won't be an issue and we could approach 50 wins. But it would be a miracle if Drew's past unwillingness to adapt to size and talent, doesnt affect the Hawks in the playoffs.It will be interesting to see if the other teams in the East are that bad. I mean Brooklyn is 50%. NY with the 3rd seed and Indy is way down there.Weird list but yeahThat'd be great :). But the team has to be proactive in actually getting better because other teams will.

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