Greetings again Basketbawful readers. I thought that my first take on the 2010-11 NBA season schedule would suffice, but since then apparently more questions on the total effect of scheduling were raised from it. And by that, I mean literally one reader had more in-depth questions for me. So since I couldn't really let it go, and I wanted to see just how good the Suns (or how bad the Lakers) actually had it in terms of NBA scheduling, I went ahead and did the analysis. Introducing AnacondaHL's Obscenely Comprehensive NBA Schedule Analysis.

  • *With completely random aesthetic consideration to Google Motion Charts, I have defined the "margin" formulas to Team games minus Opponent games*. This means negative numbers are margins in that team's favor and positive numbers means the team is playing more tired games than facing tired opponents.
  • All raw data spreadsheets are now sorted by ascending margin. Visually I saw enough correlation between margin and number of games against Opponents Only on their SEGABABA, so I felt seeing the margin difference across the league is more meaningful to spot the scheduling injustices.
  • Included win/loss records for all teams in their B2Bs and 4in5s. As far as I can tell, this matches up with (and goes above and beyond) Mark Cuban's data dump back in 2005.
  • The Orlando at New York November 2nd game has been removed.
  • All NBA seasons from 1999-00 to 2010-11 have been analyzed, minus the win/loss records of the current season.
  • No advanced rules were made in consideration of the neutral site games, Lakers/Clippers games, or the Hornets New Orleans/Oklahoma City games.

Raw Data:
I'm giving you the option of clicking on these spreadsheets now to view my raw data, but it may be better to skip to the next section if you hate wading through all the numbers.

Motion Charts:
Inspired by HoopData's use of Google Motion Charts, and understanding that I had three-dimensional data just perfect for the tool, and being quite fond of pretty blobs of gliding color, I put all of my results into a couple of different forms, so if you've got a lot of spare RAM handy follow along:


The default of this line chart shows every team since 1999-00 until this year. The y-axis default is Opponents Only B2B and the color is B2B margin, so blue is good, green is average, and red is bad. Overall, the average remains fairly constant over the years, just like the average number of SEGABABAs per team does, but you can see the range varies wildly, unlike the former where there are considerations to limit teams to 23 total SEGABABAs. You can get a better look at a few teams compared to the league average by clicking their checkboxes at the right.

Onto the blobs of color!


Here the default is setup to try and visually see the margin of teams compared to the average. Hit the play button for the blob-tastic motion. You can change the color to unique to make it a little easier on the eyes to track all the teams at once, or select a few teams and follow them. Or change the size of the blobs to Margin, so all the 0's get small and the extremes get big. Again, I will note that I added win/loss records for B2Bs and 4in5s, so you can put that parameter on the chart if you wish.

(If the above charts don't work, or you want a fullscreen view, try opening the raw spreadsheet here).

By looking at B2Bmargin and overall OppOnlyB2B, I've shown the place where the NBA schedule is still lacking in fairness. Not in the number of SEGABABAs a team plays, but in the number of games played against opponents on their SEGABABA. Over the years in the dataset, teams have had a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 24 SEGABABAs in a year. In contrast, the B2Bmargin ranges from -11 to 12, a significant advantage for generally the Mountain/Central teams.

But in the end does this fatigue really matter? Sure on a league wide average, teams win 8.7 and lose 11.4 SEGABABAs a year, but eyeballing the championship teams, they've typically had schedules with unfavorable margins. OTOH, they've also had schedules with less SEGABABAs played overall, so maybe we've looped back to that original simple analysis: which is as long as a team is talented and rested, they've got the strongest chance at winning the rings. (This shallow analysis does not factor being able to pull off ridiculous star trades, or ability of refs to hand you the championship.)


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Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Err, for some godawful reason, the motion charts are only showing up in IE8. I'm looking into it.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Ugh. Upon further web searches, this is some very recent problem with Firefox and Google Motion Charts.

You can still open every spreadsheet and look at the numbers, but the chart is just not correct. I can't even make new charts in Firefox right now.

Blogger Brigadier Ketchup said...
I loved playing Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid. What? That wasn't what SEGABABAs was in reference to?

Anonymous dave m said...
I have absolutely no idea what any of it means but the blobs of color moved just fine and made me feel happy and non-threatened.

Blogger LotharBot said...
Working fine for me in Firefox 4.0 beta 6.

Blogger zyth said...
@Anaconda :
if you fixed it, gz, if not, it's working on both chrome and firefox atm.
I'm a stat geek but you, Sir, are a madman. Nice work.

Also, Brandon Roy does a crossover and has to walk off the court because his knee hurts too much. That's just...sad

Anonymous Muttonhead said...
Awesome work, AnacondaHL.

Anonymous Bill said...
Apparently, Greg Oden is more fragile than I thought.


Blogger Dan B. said...
I have absolutely no idea what any of it means but the blobs of color moved just fine and made me feel happy and non-threatened.

That's awesome. And that's actually exactly how I feel as well, oddly enough.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I had to reread it twice (and watch the videos twice, too), but I finally understand it. It makes more sense when you focus on one team. Good work.

Anonymous Isiah T said...
Does this mean the knicks have the worst schedule? Or the best.
I have the attention span ... of something that has a small attention span.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
The FireFox problem seems to come from NoScript. Disabling it, or temporarily allowing scripts globally are the current ways I've found of displaying the graphs, but that kinda sucks. If anyone knows of a specific option that will allow this to run, let me know.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Isiah T - Knicks by far have the worst schedule. They play an above average 21 SEGABABAs (remember the max is 23), while playing only 6 opponents on their SEGABABA while the Knicks are rested. They even play 3 4in5s. Although I guess Knicks fans can feel happy for Amar''''''e who finally gets the $100m opportunity to say "this loss is on me".

Blogger Brigadier Ketchup said...

Roy "but has been diagnosed with "arthritic knee," which will require the guard to take anti-inflammatory medicine daily, will cause pain so long as Roy runs and jumps using his left leg, and means, effectively, that the Roy who swept into the NBA into 2006 is no longer the Roy under Blazer employ. The less-explosive Roy seen this season is the new Roy, and from Quick's telling there appears to be little chance the old one will ever be able to return. "

RIP Old Roy? In most walks of life, being less explosive is a good thing. (lol. "walks". Get it? Because he can't.)

Anonymous Isiah T's Paramedic said...
Thanks Anaconda;
And on the topic of Amar''''''''e,
is driving to the right into more defenders now called a post move?

Blogger David Robinson said...
This may be a dumb question, and should have been asked last week...but What is SEGABABA? and What's QQ? I did a Google search and didn't find any info.

Blogger Wormboy said...
Nice graphics!

Anonymous DKH said...
My educated guess for SEGABABA is "SEcond GAme of a BAck-to-BAck". QQ in other internet locales is symbolic for crying, but I can't find its use in this thread and didn't look in the past to see its actual context.

Blogger LotharBot said...
SEGABABA = SEcond GAme of a BAck to BAck. (I think it's an excessive acronym myself; I've always just used b2b for back to back, and 2b2b for second of a b2b.)

QQ = "quit, you suck". Comes from good ol' Warcraft 2, where you could type alt-QQ to exit the program. If someone whined, people would tell them "QQ". The connotation is "either quit crying and learn, or quit playing because you suck". (It's also sometimes used as a pair of crying eyes.)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

5, 4, 3, 1!!

Blogger Barry said...
Possibly multiple unintentionally dirty quotes:


"Shaq’s our enforcer. I know he’s going to lay somebody out if need be. If a guy’s killing us, he’s going to definitely lay some wood on him. If my man gets by me, he’s there.”

“Yeah, it goes both ways,” said Rondo. “I love playing with him, and vice versa. I think he enjoys playing with me, as well.”