Stat Crunching: Most Improved Teams

By:
Published: January 4, 2008

There have been a bunch of recent articles written about the biggest Disappointments/Surprises this season in the NBA.  Being a junkie, I've read most of them, but have found that none of them had any real stats behind them.  They all focused on big-market, big-name teams, so it was not a surprise that they all dwelled on disappointing teams like the Bulls, Miami, and Cleveland.  The Hornets, and their unexpected success, were not mentioned at all.

Grumbling at life's unfairness, I decided to crunch some numbers and focus on figuring out who are the Most Improved teams in the  NBA – as well as which teams have become Train Wrecks.  To do this, I turned to my favorite stats: team efficiency ratings.

In 2006-07 the Hornets scored 104.7 points per 100 posessions.  They gave up 106.7 points per 100 posessions to the opposing team, for a differential of -2.  That, obviously, was not good.  By way of comparison, the eventual NBA champions, San Antonio, scored 109.3 points per 100 posessions, and gave up 99.8 to their opponents, producing a whopping differential of 9.5. 

So how much have the Hornets improved from last year?  Following the Clippers game, they were scoring 104 points per 100 posessions, but only giving up 99 points to their opponents.  That means the Hornets have improved their differential by 7, from a -2 last year to a +5 so far this year.  When compared to other teams, I found it to be the second best improvement in the league, behind only the Celtics.  Nice.

Here is a table of the teams, their differentials in 06-07 and 07-08, as well as the change.  You'll notice that Portland, Orlando and Atlanta have all improved(no surprise), but that Detroit and the Lakers have also had significant improvement.  The Cavs have declined 8.5 points, and the bulls a massive 10.4 points from 5.8 to -4.6.   The Suns(-.7), Mavs(-3.3), Rockets(-6.6) and Spurs(-2) have all declined – something that is good news to us Hornets fans.

Boston has improved an insane 19.7 points.  I guess adding Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett was a good idea.  Anyone have a cloning machine we could use on Garnett?

 Team  06-07 Differential 07-08 Differential   Change
 Celtics  -4.3  15.4  19.7
 Hornets  -2.0  5.0  7
 Blazers  -5.5  0.6  6.1
 Pistons  5.3  11.1  5.8
 Lakers  -0.8  4.7  5.5
 Hawks  -5.2  -0.2  5
 Magic  0.2  4.5  4.3
 Warriors  -0.4  1.9  2.3
 Nuggets  2.2  4.2  2
 Wizards  -1.1  0.7  1.8
 76ers  -3.1  -1.4  1.7
 Pacers  -2.8  -1.3  1.5
 Grizzlies  -5.6  -4.3  1.3
 Jazz  2.5  3.8  1.3
 Raptors  1.4  1.9  0.5
 Suns  7.5  6.8  -0.7
 Bucks  -5.3  -6.2  -0.9
 Bobcats  -4.3  -5.9  -1.6
 Kings  -2.0  -3.8  -1.8
 Spurs  9.5  7.5  -2
 Mavericks  8.7  5.4  -3.3
 Supersonics  -3.3  -6.7  -3.4
 Nets  -0.1  -4.7  -4.6
 Heat  0.2  -4.7  -4.9
 Clippers  -0.3  -5.4  -5.1
 Rockets  6.6  0.4  -6.2
 Timberwolves  -4.4  -11  -6.6
 Knicks  -3.4  -10.6  -7.2
 Cavaliers  4.2  -4.3  -8.5
 Bulls  5.8  -4.6  -10.4

And with that, we have more ammunition for whining about being ignored.  We've improved more than anyone but Boston, yet we still can't get mentioned by the national media.  Durn.

0 comments