One little thing holding Bucks back

I just did a Point Value over Average assessment of the Bucks, only this time I did it a little different.  Normally I adjust for location and competition and then I compare that with the team’s overall efficiency averages.  This time I didn’t do that.

This time I treated the Bucks like two different teams:  “Home Bucks” and “Road Bucks” and then did a PVOA analysis of each as if they were separate teams.  In other words, I split the Bucks schedule and simply compared the Bucks road numbers to their road opponents home numbers, and vice versa.

Now remember, PVOA already adjusts for home/road location.  So in theory a team that is stronger than the usual home team should be that much stronger than the average road team.

Of course it doesn’t really work out that way.  A lot of teams, for whatever reason, are either much better than the average road team and not equally better than the average home team, or whatever.  The Bucks are one of those teams.

The Bucks are an above average home team, meaning that even when you take into account the fact that almost all NBA teams are much better at home, the Bucks are even better than that.  And since the Bradley Center has never really provided the Bucks with anything more than an average home court advantage (and this season attendance has been low) one would logically conclude that the Bucks themselves must be an above average team overall.  Yet they are in fact projecting as a slightly below average overall team for one reason.  The Bucks are a way, way below average road offensive team.

Here is a breakdown of the Bucks home and road PVOAs:

Home Bucks (Net: +2.2) (Offense: +1.1) (Defense: +1.1)

Road Bucks (Net: –2.6) (Offense: –8.2) (Defense: +5.6)

That is a really, really weird combination.  Its like you have a quarterback who in relative terms performs like Aaron Rodgers at home and then turns into Brian Brohm on the road.  Makes no sense.  If you’re Aaron Rodgers at home, you should at least be, I don’t know, 90s era Mark Brunell on the road.  In other words you shouldn’t turn from relatively above average into relative dog shit. But that’s the Bucks offense.

The defense, if you notice, is relatively tough no matter where the Bucks are playing.  And it is especially tough on the road.  It must, in fact, be one of the toughest road defenses in the NBA in relative terms.  But I wonder if that is just fueled by desperation.  I wonder if the team just simply realizes that if they don’t crank the defense up on the road they will get embarrassed.

Anyway, why does the offense turn from above average at home to putrid on the road?  I think its because the Bucks specific offensive strengths and weaknesses are somehow EXTRA sensitive to home/road location.  I have no proof of this, but it seems like a team that needs three point shots to fall as badly as the Bucks do is especially vulnerable to road conditions, and a team that has a hard time getting to the foul line at home is going to really be in trouble on the road.

So it may be that the Bucks offense is constructed in such a manner that it is just uniquely sensitive to location.  I don’t know that; its just a hunch.

But I do know this.  If the Bucks played at the same level on the road as they do at home then they would project as a 47 or 48 win team (remember earlier in the season when they fooled me into thinking that’s what they were?).  As it stands, they project as a 37 to 40 win team, depending upon luck (technically, I would project them at 39.4 win team, but with the luck factor I have to provide a range).

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3 Responses to “One little thing holding Bucks back”

  1. Blake Says:

    /sigh

  2. Blake Says:

    Well I’m gonna hear it from all the Kings fans now.

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