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Friday Morning for the Weekend (Episode 002)

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We discuss the Jazz’s long-term success, cannibals, and how to predict the NBA season; welcome to your FM FTW

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

[ED Note. DDoS attack prevented this from going up in the AM.]

Breakfast discussion

Last week, I discussed how Dennis Lindsey is building a competitive team in a small market. This week, I want to discuss the long-term success of the Jazz. While Utah has not won an NBA Championship, the Jazz have a long history of success. How much success have they had? I was looking at a list of the historical winning percentages for each NBA team and found the Jazz fared well; here’s the list:

30. Timberwolves (39.1%)

29. Clippers (39.4%)

28. Grizzlies (41.5%)

27. Nets (42.0%)

26. Raptors (43.8%)

25. Hornets (44.0%)

24. Wizards (45.0%)

23. Kings (45.9%)

22. Cavaliers (46.4%)

21. Pelicans (46.6%)

20. Warriors (47.3%)

19. Nuggets (48.3%)

18. Pistons (48.7%)

17. Magic (49.0%)

16. Knicks (49.3%)

15. Pacers (49.6%)

14. Hawks (49.9%)

13. Bucks (51.0%)

12. Mavericks (51.0%)

11. 76ers (51.4%)

10. Rockets (51.7%)

9. Heat (52.0%)

8. Bulls (52.2%)

7. Jazz (53.4%)

6. Trailblazers (53.5%)

5. Thunder (53.9%)

4. Suns (54.6%)

3. Celtics (58.8%)

2. Lakers (60.3%)

1. Spurs (62.0%)

First, I noted that Minnesota has long suffered. I was a little surprised by the Spurs beating out the Lakers and Celtics for the top spot, but the Spurs have been good for a long time; while the Lakers of late have not been good. Also, how strange is it that Utah is sandwiched in between the Bulls and Trailblazers? This is a testament to how well the Jazz are run.

Worst analogy

Last week’s worst analogies ranged from anne r. keye’s “happy to see” Jazz related posts on a Friday (or he really likes Bonnie Tyler - I couldn’t decide) to finding out that Gif Oracle is biased (thanks Uber_snotling for pointing this out and to 15,806 assists for learning this truth the hard way). Additionally, jazzyman put teams on notice that the Jazz are going to make them look silly, and gubihero thinks the media will talk truth about the our team this year.

But the clear winner of the “worst analogy” championship belt (WACB) is VegasPete for letting us know that “what you see can often be quite different from what the actual point is and people commenting from the outside generally miss the point” - i.e. perception isn’t always reality.

Congrats VegasPete; here’s your belt:

[=====(WACB)=====]

This week I am sharing Rob Cantor’s “Shia LaBeouf” Live. If you visit the YouTube page for this video it says that “‘Shia LaBeouf’ tells the true story of an actual cannibal”. I’m looking forward to your worst analogies and seeing if anyone can wrest the championship belt away from VegasPete.

Cap space

I’m devoting this space to an Honor Thesis I found online at stat.berkley.edu. The Thesis is written by Yuanhao (Stanley) Young, and is entitled “Predicting Regular Season Results of NBA Teams Based on Regression Analysis of Common Basketball Statistics”.

It’s a somewhat technical read, but, it purports that a Team’s Win Ratio (regular season team wins divided by total regular season team games played times 100) can be predicted by a Team’s PER (individual player PERs times total minutes played for the top 12 players on a team by minutes played).

Stanley looks at the fit of the model for the 2011-12 year, the 2012-13 year, and the 2013-14 year. The adjusted R-squared ranged from .6978 to .7934 over the years. R-squared represents how well the regression line “fits” the data; an R-squared of 1 is a perfect fit. Stanley’s R-squared is a pretty-good fit with around 70-79% fit.

Stanley used his 2012-13 and 2013-14 models to predict the 2014-15 NBA season Team Win Ratios utilizing each NBA team’s TEAM PER at the beginning of the year. His model predicted 7 of 8 playoff teams for both conferences. I also noted that Utah underperformed slightly in the 2014-15 year based on Stanley’s computations.