Friday, November 5, 2010

Unnecessarily Comprehensive and Overdue NBA 2010-11 Schedule Analysis

So the season has started again, with the typical actions of hardcore fans and GMs looking at their team schedules and spouting acronyms like SEGABABA and QQ since August (or since Mark Cuban started blogging about this concept, thus the QQ). When the Orlando game on 11/02 was postponed due to potential asbestos, I wondered if any team just got saved from a back-to-back (you know, after thinking about Dwight Howard going to bed hungry that night without feasting on the defenseless STAT and Mozgov), or how it would impact scheduling.

Since fatigue is something no popular advanced basketball statistic really accounts for, but we know has an impact on the game, let's get this down on paper once and for all. Introducing AnacondaHL's Unnecessarily Comprehensive and Overdue NBA 2010-11 Schedule Analysis. Let it be noted that I personally hate the term SEGABABA and it's unconsious implications of a toddler asking for Sonic the Hedgehog and a milk bottle, but due to aesthetic readibility considerations, I will be using it and "4in5" throughout the post.

  • 1230 games, between 2 teams (hurr durf)
  • Teams will be on a SEGABABA 601 times, average 20 per team, range 16 to 23.
  • 496 games will feature atleast 1 team on the SEGABABA.
  • Teams will be on a 4in5 68 times.
  • 64 games will feature atleast 1 team on a 4in5. More on this later.
So given the constraints, as well as a ton of local scheduling issues, the computer that churns out the schedule seems to do a good job. So far. But what about when viewed from the opponent's side? In other words, how many games does my team play against a team on their SEGABABA, especially when my team is rested? Things don't look as pretty...

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Sheet "All1230" shows every single game to be played this season:
  • Columns A-F - Raw data.
  • HH B2B - When the team's back to back are both home games. This only occurs 15 times out of the 601.
  • VH B2B - When the team travels from Visiting team to Home. Note: I did not analyze Clippers or Lakers games with advanced rules, but considering that the Lakers are the only one with the league lowest 15 SEGABABAs anyways, the result would probably just make me sicker, so you do it if you want to know.
  • HV B2B - When a team plays their SEGABABA on the road, first at home.
  • VV B2B - Both games on the road.
  • Any B2B - Adding them together, so games with both teams on a SEGABABA get the value 2.
  • 4in5 - Here, I use the terms V, H, and VH for if the Visiting team, Home team, or both are on their 4in5.
Sheet "Team B2Bs" summarizes each team's schedule. It includes some colors by me to filter below and above average schedules by eye. A quick rundown on the abbreviations in addition to above:
  • Only B2B - When the team is playing a SEGABABA against a rested opponent.
  • OppB2B - Any time the opponent is on their SEGABABA
  • OppOnly B2B - Any time the opponent is on their SEGABABA but the team is not. This is probably the column most of your are interested in.
  • BothB2B - When both teams are on their SEGABABA. Ugh.
  • Opp4in5 - Any time the opponent is on their 4in5
  • OppOnly 4in5 - Essentially free wins.
  • Both 4in5 - BasketBawful.
  • 4in5 margin - Gift games given or stolen.
So here we see the NBA computers didn't do so well to make things even across the league. The Suns get hooked up with only playing 16 SEGABABAs, while facing 20 opponent SEGABABAs when rested. Gotta squeeze every last game outta Nash, eh Stern? [fake editor's note: Thanks Stern! -AHL] The Lakers story, however, features only 9 games of unrested opponents, and the poor Knicks schedule looks even worse, adding in some future asbestos game. You can also see the unbalance by looking at how many games your team plays in a SEGABABA and your opponent rested (by subtracting Both B2B from Any B2B), with the results shown in column "Only B2B". Here it looks like Minnesota gets the cake (7 games as the only team on SEGABABA) while Atlanta gets screwed (18 games).

OTOH, the schedule seems to balance out any advantages of playing 4in5 opponents by scheduling near equal 4in5s on the team, as shown by the 4in5 margin column. Only Philly and, again, the Knicks get screwed with 4 and 3 4in5s, respectively, without playing any 4in5 opponents, while Boston gets a bonus by having only 1 4in5 but playing 4 opponents on theirs.

So we could spin and apply this analysis many ways. Maybe for betting interpretations, you know, if betting was legal. [/Simmons] Or maybe for fantasy sports, getting more games but checking out performance. But instead, I decided to highlight what I'll call the BasketBawful Sponsered Games of the Season, which comes down to the only 4 games featuring both teams finishing up 4in5s. Getcha popcorn, and calendars, ready.
  • Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 @ 8:00 p.m. EST - Charlotte Bobcats vs Chicago Bulls
  • Saturday, February 12th, 2011 @ 8:30 p.m. EST - Indiana Pacers vs Milwaukee Bucks
  • Thursday, March 10th, 2011 @ 8:30 p.m. EST - New York Knicks vs Dallas Mavericks
  • Saturday, April 9th, 2011 @ 8:30 p.m. EST - Cleveland Cavaliers vs Milwaukee Bucks


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