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RE: [APBR_analysis] East - West imbalance

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  • Michael Tamada
    ... From: Mike G [mailto:msg_53@hotmail.com] Sent: Wed 7/9/2003 10:11 PM As recently as 1999, the East was winning 55% of inter-conference games. The West
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 9, 2003
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Mike G [mailto:msg_53@...]
      Sent: Wed 7/9/2003 10:11 PM

      As recently as 1999, the East was winning 55% of inter-conference
      games. The West took over and beat the East down to 39% in 2001.
      The East rebounded to 45% in '02, and then dropped back to .405 this
      last season.

      What kind of forces create this situation? It doesn't seem as though
      it can be good for the game. Does it naturally balance out? Or can
      free-agency cause a rush of stars to a 'major league' conference,
      worsening the disparity?


      ***
      Someone, it might've been Gary Scott Simon in rec.sport.basketball.pro, posted a
      time series of East-West w-l percentages going back decades. The pendulum has
      swung back and forth so I don't think we're seeing anything new.

      The other caution: remember around December of this season when the East
      had a winning percentage against the West? There was a small flurry of postings
      here about that, but my reaction at the time was that it could be an artifact of
      small sample size. Which it turned out to be; by the end of the season things
      were where we expected them to be, with a solid Western advantage.

      We can't quite use the small sample size argument with entire seasons since
      they arguably represent an entire population, not a sample. But the argument
      in a sense still applies: 3 or 4 years of conference imbalance is not that big a
      deal. In fact we have to expect a certain amount of autocorrelation (imbalances
      tending to persist from year to year).

      At what point should we worry? I don't know, but I'd say at least 5 or 6 years.
      Also, at what degree of imbalance? Again I don't know; the 40% winning
      percentages are pretty worrisome and bothersome, but 45% (or 55%) is something
      which I think I'd tolerate for quite a long number of years without worrying too much,
      because it's so close to 50%.


      --MKT
    • igor eduardo küpfer
      ... From: Mike G To: Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:11 AM Subject: [APBR_analysis] East - West
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 9, 2003
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Mike G" <msg_53@...>
        To: <APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:11 AM
        Subject: [APBR_analysis] East - West imbalance


        > As recently as 1999, the East was winning 55% of inter-conference
        > games. The West took over and beat the East down to 39% in 2001.
        > The East rebounded to 45% in '02, and then dropped back to .405 this
        > last season.
        >
        > What kind of forces create this situation? It doesn't seem as though
        > it can be good for the game. Does it naturally balance out? Or can
        > free-agency cause a rush of stars to a 'major league' conference,
        > worsening the disparity?
        >

        One of the things that rarely gets mentioned is that the West, in addition
        to having the team's with the best records, also has the teams with the
        _worst_ records. In other words, the disparity between best and worst in the
        West is greater than that in the East, where teams tend to cluster tightly
        around the average. This has been the pattern for more than a decade. You
        can kind of see it if you look at the standard deviations of winning
        percentages from both conferences -- the higher the standard deviation, the
        greater the disparity with the conference between best and worse.

        Decade Conference N Mean StDev
        1940 E 16 0.4706 0.1639
        1940 W 15 0.5311 0.1546

        1950 C 5 0.6118 0.1516
        1950 E 47 0.5098 0.1324
        1950 W 45 0.4742 0.1236

        1960 E 46 0.5524 0.1592
        1960 W 51 0.4527 0.1350

        1970 E 90 0.4839 0.1384
        1970 W 94 0.5154 0.1209

        1980 E 111 0.5134 0.1527
        1980 W 120 0.4876 0.1434

        1990 E 143 0.5002 0.1533
        1990 W 135 0.4999 0.1827

        2000 E 60 0.4740 0.1278
        2000 W 56 0.5279 0.1642

        I don't see that anything has to be done -- the disparity between
        conferences looks greater than it actually is because people have a tendency
        to look at the extremes (the best teams, the worst teams, the finalists,
        etc.) and ignore the entire range of variation.
      • Mike G
        ... wrote: remember around December of this season when the East ... flurry of postings ... could be an artifact of ... the season things ... advantage.
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 10, 2003
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          --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "Michael Tamada" <tamada@o...>
          wrote:
          remember around December of this season when the East
          > had a winning percentage against the West? There was a small
          flurry of postings
          > here about that, but my reaction at the time was that it
          could be an artifact of
          > small sample size. Which it turned out to be; by the end of
          the season things
          > were where we expected them to be, with a solid Western
          advantage.

          Perhaps it was hoping against hope, but it looked like a serious
          trend dating back a full year.

          The 2001-02 season started like the one before, with the West winning
          over 60% of interconference games. As the season wore on, the East
          slowly gained and finished at .448

          The sub-.500 difference had been cut in half, from the previous year.

          It wasn't unreasonable to suppose the 'pendulum' might bring the
          conferences back to parity by this (2002-03) season.

          The latest posting I (facetiously) made regarding the early East
          surge had them at 24-14, on Nov. 11. Coincidentally, I recall Shaq
          returning about that time, and the rest of the West picked up the
          pace.

          To have finished the year at 171-251, the East went 147-237 the rest
          of the way, or .380

          That is really bad.

          No team typified this season more than the Pacers, who actually
          drubbed the then-undefeated Mavericks, and then shortly thereafter
          foundered for the season. They could only beat the cellar-dwellers
          in the West, some of the time.


          > ... the 40% winning
          > percentages are pretty worrisome and bothersome,

          And one reason I hate it is that stats may have to be adjusted to
          account for the great imbalance in competition. Something for the
          future, I guess.
        • ankurvdesai
          How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in the league? isn t it possible that their records are only worse than those of the east because
          Message 4 of 9 , Aug 7, 2003
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            How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in the
            league? isn't it possible that their records are only worse than
            those of the east because they have to play the west juggernauts more
            often? i think you'd have to have more detailed team-by-team record
            data to make an assertion like the one in this post.


            --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, igor eduardo küpfer
            <igorkupfer@r...> wrote:
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "Mike G" <msg_53@h...>
            > To: <APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:11 AM
            > Subject: [APBR_analysis] East - West imbalance
            >
            >
            > > As recently as 1999, the East was winning 55% of inter-conference
            > > games. The West took over and beat the East down to 39% in 2001.
            > > The East rebounded to 45% in '02, and then dropped back to .405
            this
            > > last season.
            > >
            > > What kind of forces create this situation? It doesn't seem as
            though
            > > it can be good for the game. Does it naturally balance out? Or
            can
            > > free-agency cause a rush of stars to a 'major league' conference,
            > > worsening the disparity?
            > >
            >
            > One of the things that rarely gets mentioned is that the West, in
            addition
            > to having the team's with the best records, also has the teams with
            the
            > _worst_ records. In other words, the disparity between best and
            worst in the
            > West is greater than that in the East, where teams tend to cluster
            tightly
            > around the average. This has been the pattern for more than a
            decade. You
            > can kind of see it if you look at the standard deviations of winning
            > percentages from both conferences -- the higher the standard
            deviation, the
            > greater the disparity with the conference between best and worse.
            >
            > Decade Conference N Mean StDev
            > 1940 E 16 0.4706 0.1639
            > 1940 W 15 0.5311 0.1546
            >
            > 1950 C 5 0.6118 0.1516
            > 1950 E 47 0.5098 0.1324
            > 1950 W 45 0.4742 0.1236
            >
            > 1960 E 46 0.5524 0.1592
            > 1960 W 51 0.4527 0.1350
            >
            > 1970 E 90 0.4839 0.1384
            > 1970 W 94 0.5154 0.1209
            >
            > 1980 E 111 0.5134 0.1527
            > 1980 W 120 0.4876 0.1434
            >
            > 1990 E 143 0.5002 0.1533
            > 1990 W 135 0.4999 0.1827
            >
            > 2000 E 60 0.4740 0.1278
            > 2000 W 56 0.5279 0.1642
            >
            > I don't see that anything has to be done -- the disparity between
            > conferences looks greater than it actually is because people have a
            tendency
            > to look at the extremes (the best teams, the worst teams, the
            finalists,
            > etc.) and ignore the entire range of variation.
          • igor eduardo küpfer
            ... From: ankurvdesai To: APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 5:48 PM Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: East - West imbalance How do you
            Message 5 of 9 , Aug 7, 2003
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              ----- Original Message -----
              Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 5:48 PM
              Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: East - West imbalance

              How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in the
              league? isn't it possible that their records are only worse than
              those of the east because they have to play the west juggernauts more
              often? i think you'd have to have more detailed team-by-team record
              data to make an assertion like the one in this post.

              I was looking only at interconference records. The worst teams in the West had worse records against East teams than the worst East teams had against Western teams.
               
              ed
            • wimpds
              In any event, the biggest problem is that all the best teams are in the West. The NBA finals have become completely anticlimactic. We already know that the
              Message 6 of 9 , Aug 7, 2003
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                In any event, the biggest problem is that all the best teams are in
                the West. The NBA finals have become completely anticlimactic. We
                already know that the top 5 teams will be from the West next year.


                --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "ankurvdesai"
                <ankurvdesai@y...> wrote:
                > How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in
                the
                > league? isn't it possible that their records are only worse than
                > those of the east because they have to play the west juggernauts
                more
                > often? i think you'd have to have more detailed team-by-team
                record
                > data to make an assertion like the one in this post.
                >
                >
                > --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, igor eduardo küpfer
                > <igorkupfer@r...> wrote:
                > >
                > > ----- Original Message -----
                > > From: "Mike G" <msg_53@h...>
                > > To: <APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com>
                > > Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:11 AM
                > > Subject: [APBR_analysis] East - West imbalance
                > >
                > >
                > > > As recently as 1999, the East was winning 55% of inter-
                conference
                > > > games. The West took over and beat the East down to 39% in
                2001.
                > > > The East rebounded to 45% in '02, and then dropped back
                to .405
                > this
                > > > last season.
                > > >
                > > > What kind of forces create this situation? It doesn't seem as
                > though
                > > > it can be good for the game. Does it naturally balance out?
                Or
                > can
                > > > free-agency cause a rush of stars to a 'major league'
                conference,
                > > > worsening the disparity?
                > > >
                > >
                > > One of the things that rarely gets mentioned is that the West,
                in
                > addition
                > > to having the team's with the best records, also has the teams
                with
                > the
                > > _worst_ records. In other words, the disparity between best and
                > worst in the
                > > West is greater than that in the East, where teams tend to
                cluster
                > tightly
                > > around the average. This has been the pattern for more than a
                > decade. You
                > > can kind of see it if you look at the standard deviations of
                winning
                > > percentages from both conferences -- the higher the standard
                > deviation, the
                > > greater the disparity with the conference between best and worse.
                > >
                > > Decade Conference N Mean StDev
                > > 1940 E 16 0.4706 0.1639
                > > 1940 W 15 0.5311 0.1546
                > >
                > > 1950 C 5 0.6118 0.1516
                > > 1950 E 47 0.5098 0.1324
                > > 1950 W 45 0.4742 0.1236
                > >
                > > 1960 E 46 0.5524 0.1592
                > > 1960 W 51 0.4527 0.1350
                > >
                > > 1970 E 90 0.4839 0.1384
                > > 1970 W 94 0.5154 0.1209
                > >
                > > 1980 E 111 0.5134 0.1527
                > > 1980 W 120 0.4876 0.1434
                > >
                > > 1990 E 143 0.5002 0.1533
                > > 1990 W 135 0.4999 0.1827
                > >
                > > 2000 E 60 0.4740 0.1278
                > > 2000 W 56 0.5279 0.1642
                > >
                > > I don't see that anything has to be done -- the disparity between
                > > conferences looks greater than it actually is because people
                have a
                > tendency
                > > to look at the extremes (the best teams, the worst teams, the
                > finalists,
                > > etc.) and ignore the entire range of variation.
              • Dean Oliver
                ... the ... more ... record ... the West had worse records against East teams than the worst East teams had against Western teams. Note that Sagarin and Massey
                Message 7 of 9 , Aug 7, 2003
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                  --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, igor eduardo küpfer
                  <igorkupfer@r...> wrote:
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > From: ankurvdesai
                  > To: APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com
                  > Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 5:48 PM
                  > Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: East - West imbalance
                  >
                  >
                  > How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in
                  the
                  > league? isn't it possible that their records are only worse than
                  > those of the east because they have to play the west juggernauts
                  more
                  > often? i think you'd have to have more detailed team-by-team
                  record
                  > data to make an assertion like the one in this post.
                  >
                  >
                  > I was looking only at interconference records. The worst teams in
                  the West had worse records against East teams than the worst East
                  teams had against Western teams.

                  Note that Sagarin and Massey both put out ratings of NBA teams, too,
                  accounting for strength of schedule. The below have playoffs also
                  factored in.

                  http://www.masseyratings.com/rate/nba-m.htm

                  Rank Team Power
                  1 San Antonio 1.9
                  2 Sacramento 1.671
                  3 Dallas 1.407
                  4 LA Lakers 1.141
                  5 Minnesota 0.867
                  6 New Jersey 0.85
                  7 Portland 0.79
                  8 Utah 0.507
                  9 Philadelphia 0.479
                  10 Detroit 0.387
                  11 New Orleans 0.359
                  12 Phoenix 0.329
                  13 Houston 0.281
                  14 Indiana 0.153
                  15 Seattle 0.084
                  16 Milwaukee 0.042
                  17 Boston 0.014
                  18 Orlando -0.006
                  19 Golden State -0.105
                  20 New York -0.241
                  21 Washington -0.475
                  22 Atlanta -0.504
                  23 Memphis -0.849
                  24 Chicago -0.945
                  25 LA Clippers -1.031
                  26 Miami -1.43
                  27 Toronto -1.514
                  28 Denver -2.047
                  29 Cleveland -2.116



                  http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/nba0203.htm
                  (This is Sagarin's combined rating, which he actually doesn't like as
                  much as his Predictor, which ranks Dallas at the top. He had a fit a
                  couple years ago when the BCS said you can't consider point
                  difference in ranking teams if you want to be part of the rating
                  system. Frankly, neither side did it right. Point difference is
                  relevant up to a certain theoretical cutoff, but Sagarin's work can't
                  deal with it and the BCS just had political motivations. Sagarin's
                  work still is good...)

                  Rank Team Power
                  1 San Antonio Spurs 97.95
                  2 Sacramento Kings 97.17
                  3 Dallas Mavericks 96.99
                  4 Los Angeles Lakers 94.58
                  5 Portland Trail Blazers 93.93
                  6 New Jersey Nets 93.92
                  7 Minnesota Timberwolves 93.43
                  8 Utah Jazz 92.54
                  9 Detroit Pistons 92.04
                  10 Philadelphia 76ers 91.95
                  11 Phoenix Suns 91.57
                  12 Houston Rockets 91.51
                  13 New Orleans Hornets 91.35
                  14 Indiana Pacers 91.2
                  15 Seattle SuperSonics 90.56
                  16 Boston Celtics 90.21
                  17 Milwaukee Bucks 89.78
                  18 Orlando Magic 89.72
                  19 Golden State Warriors 89.55
                  20 New York Knicks 88.52
                  21 Washington Wizards 87.84
                  22 Atlanta Hawks 86.96
                  23 Memphis Grizzlies 86.71
                  24 Los Angeles Clippers 85.82
                  25 Chicago Bulls 85.45
                  26 Miami Heat 83.71
                  27 Toronto Raptors 83.24
                  28 Denver Nuggets 81.63
                  29 Cleveland Cavaliers 80.19

                  DeanO
                • John Hollinger
                  I studied this very topic each of the past two years. In 2001-02 playing in the East was worth about a game in the standings for most teams, in 2002-03 it was
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 8, 2003
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                    I studied this very topic each of the past two years. In 2001-02
                    playing in the East was worth about a game in the standings for most
                    teams, in 2002-03 it was worth closer to two games. This might be
                    smaller than people imagine, but the reason is that regardless of
                    which league a team plays in, 56 of the games will be exactly the
                    same.



                    --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, igor eduardo küpfer
                    <igorkupfer@r...> wrote:
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: ankurvdesai
                    > To: APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 5:48 PM
                    > Subject: [APBR_analysis] Re: East - West imbalance
                    >
                    >
                    > How do you know that the worst west teams are the worst teams in
                    the
                    > league? isn't it possible that their records are only worse than
                    > those of the east because they have to play the west juggernauts
                    more
                    > often? i think you'd have to have more detailed team-by-team
                    record
                    > data to make an assertion like the one in this post.
                    >
                    >
                    > I was looking only at interconference records. The worst teams in
                    the West had worse records against East teams than the worst East
                    teams had against Western teams.
                    >
                    > ed
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