I am debuting my Franken-Win Predictions for the upcoming NBA season. I am calling them Franken-Win Predictions because they come from an unnatural bastardization and stitching together of statistical models and predictions from other sources. Having never done this before I decided to start with a source I was familiar and semi-comfortable with, David Berri’s Wins Produced. If you are unfamiliar with Wins Produced, it is a box score based metric which converts a player’s individual statistical contributions into a measurement of how many wins they produce for their team.
Making predictions with Wins Produced requires some information about the position a player plays and the minutes they spend on the floor. To this end I borrowed the minute projections for next season from Basketball Prospectus, whose terrific 2010-2011 version is now available in PDF format. I had to make a few adjustments to the minute projections based on injuries which occurred after the publication of the Basketball Prospectus (Al Harrington, Carlos Boozer, etc.).
I then took the Wins Produced per 48 minutes numbers from last season. I made some slight adjustments to these numbers to account for player improvement or decline. These adjustments, in most cases, were made by dividing the Basketball Prospectus projected Win% for each player by their Win% from last season and then multiplying it by their WP48. I combined these new, adjusted WP48 projections with the minute projections and arrived at a projected Win Total for each roster.
I am sure there are several reasons why my method is mathematically ludicrous but at this point in the development of my statistical knowledge and analytical skills it was the best I could come up with. In addition, these projections don’t account for potential future trades and injuries which will almost certainly affect the fates of several different teams.
Here are my projected win-loss records for each team:
With these win-loss records the playoff seeds would break down like this:
The teams left out of the playoffs would stack up in lottery positions thusly:
A few points:
- My projections reflect a decline in league parity, especially in the Western Conference. This is partially due to the strength of several power teams; with Miami, Portland, Chicago, Orlando, San Antonio, and the Lakers all amassing 53+ wins. This will also lead to sub .500 teams, Cleveland and New York, to make the playoffs in the East.
- Based on my numbers, Washington will challenge the futility of last season’s Timberwolves and Nets. This projection is largely based on the huge minutes that should be played by John Wall, who has the potential to have a negative WP48 score.
- The surprise team in my projection is easily the Golden State Warriors, who if my analysis proves correct, would jump 23 wins from last year’s total and catapult themselves up to the 5th seed in the west. Wins Produced is a metric heavily influenced by rebounding. (David Berri would also point out that winning games is heavily influenced by rebounding). With Nellieball being abandoned, more minutes will be available for the above average rebounders David Lee, Andris Biedrins, Brandan Wright, and Louis Amundson. Simply put the Warriors will be beasts on the boards this year and should be an incredibly improved team.
- My projections have Denver missing the playoffs. If this scenario is in play as the trade deadline approaches it seems extremely likely that Carmelo Anthony would be traded, throwing a monkey wrench into all projections for how the season will play out.
- By my numbers Philadelphia is the team in the most tenuous position this season. I have them only projected to win 24 games, roughly 12 of which would be produced by Andre Iguodala. If Iguodala is injured or traded things could spiral out of control very quickly.
If anyone is interested, here is the link to the google spreadsheet which shows the detailed breakdowns of my projections. These include the individual WP48 and Wins Produced projections for each player.