I may expand on this idea in the coming week, but with as long as it's taken me to gather the data that I have (Central Division - 3:15), it's going to take me a while. The formulas are set in place, but typing up each team's schedule is time consuming (copying and pasting isn't an answer as the formats have to be adjusted and that's just as time consuming). I want to do this for the whole league just for fun, but for now I'll look at what we have in comparison to our Central Division opponents.
There are some things in the schedule that are a given. For instance, the Pistons have 20 back-to-back games, 3 sets of home-and-home matches, and 3 sets of 4 games in 5 nights. Here's how it compares to the teams in our Division.
|Team||Back-to-Back||Home-and-Home||4 games, 5 nights|
The Pistons also have one set of 5 games in 7 nights. As far as rest goes:
No teams are the same as they were. Of Detroit's current 14 man roster, 7 players weren't on the team last year. In Milwaukee, their starting backcourt is no more. Cleveland had the No. 1 pick in Anthony Bennett and added Andrew Bynum to the mix. Indiana is pretty much the same, except for a stronger bench. And Chicago is going to have Derrick Rose back. So the following is very likely bunk, but for spits and wiggles ...
Taking the current schedule for each of the Central Division's teams and applying the opponent's win percentage from the previous year can likely show some form of strength of schedule. For instance, the combined winning percentage for Detroit's opponents this year is 0.503. For reference, Chicago's is 0.491, Indiana's is 0.489, Cleveland's is 0.497, and Milwaukee's is .488.
However, teams play better on their home court than they do on the road in most cases. Because of this, I decided to calculate the winning percentage of our opponents based on where they are playing. For instance, Detroit plays the Wizards to open the season, at home. Last year, the Wizards had a 0.537 winning percentage at home, but 0.171 on the road. So when calculating based on place of game for our home opener, I used 0.171 for the Wizards. In doing so, not much actually changed to the strength of schedule. Detroit's is 0.498, Chicago's is 0.488, Indiana's is 0.484, Cleveland's is 0.494, and Milwaukee's is 0.486. It would appear that Detroit has the toughest strength of schedule in our division by both of those measures.
Now, there were two ways that I counted possible wins. First, when a team we are playing has the odds (based on place of game) of winning below 0.500, I marked it as a win. Based on that, the division would shape up:
- Chicago: 43-39
- Indiana: 42-40
- Milwaukee: 42-40
- Cleveland: 39-43
- Detroit: 38-44
But then I decided to go back to using the win percentage based on where the game is being played, but for both teams. In this instance, if the home team had a higher home winning percentage than the road team's road winning percentage, then it was marked as a win. In that scenario, the division would shape up like:
- Indiana: 51-31
- Chicago: 47-35
- Milwaukee: 37-45
- Detroit: 23-59
- Cleveland: 18-64
Let's hope the immense roster changes allow us to have a much better record than that. However, I think I've heard some around here say that they think the Pistons will be right around 38 wins. Hopefully that's not good enough for last in the division.
Now, in the 38 win's scenario, it had us winning 9 of the second part of the back-to-backs. However, I actually think this number could potentially be higher. Reason being that 12 of the 20 back ends are against teams that also played the night before, so both teams will be tired. In most cases, the other team played a stronger opponent than we do, so they may be "more tired". Also, I believe youth will be on our side. Say for a minute that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the starting SG, our starting lineup's ages will be 23 (Brandon Jennings), 20 (KCP), 27 (Josh Smith), 23 (Greg Monroe) and 20 (Andre Drummond). On the chance that Rodney Stuckey is the starting SG, he's still only 27. Youth may make the back-to-backs not that hard to digest this year.
None of these "predictions" are based on solid data. It's based off of data from last year, when teams were different than they are now. This could be good, or it could be bad. I'd like to hope that the Pistons could easily get 38 wins with their new roster, which in itself would be a vast improvement over the year before (with a new coach, 7 new players, etc.). I dread thinking that the Pistons could only win 23 games, especially in a year when many teams are
n't tanking. If I get around to gathering the other data for the rest of the league, I'll update this post.
Thanks to Bluepost, I was able to do a league wide comparison a lot faster.
After looking at the league wide data, it shows that the West has a tougher schedule overall as compared to the East. Probably has something to do with the West's domination over the East. So just comparing with the East, Detroit has the fourth toughest adjusted strength of schedule: Toronto - 0.502, Charlotte - 0.500, Orlando - 0.499, Detroit - 0.498. League wide, Detroit is tied for the third most back to backs with 20 (fewest is 13 for Denver, most is 22 for Charlotte). League wide, Detroit is tied for the second most 4 games in 5 night stretches (fewest is 0 for Philadelphia, most is 4 for New York, Atlanta and Milwaukee). Also League wide, Detroit is tied for the most home and home sets at 3 (fewest is 0 for Oklahoma City, L.A. Clippers, and Brooklyn).
Now, using the adjusted winning percentages for both teams based on location of game, each conference would shape up as such:
Again, these numbers are VERY likely to change. Many teams made drastic changes...some better, some worse. However, IF this were to be the outcome...at least we get to keep our pick, right? Right?