New Bucks Projection: 33 wins*

According to the baseball analyst “Tangotiger”, you need to play only 33 games to determine an NBA team’s true strength. The Bucks are currently at 31 games, which I figured was close enough to evaluate how many games the team is likely to win from this point forward, based on their current record, their remaining schedule, and the relative strength they’ve shown to date.

Projecting the Bucks Final Record

To do that I first calculated: (a) the Bucks’ Relative Winning Percentages to date at Home and on the Road; then I calculated: (b) the rest of the Association’s winning percentage against the Bucks remaining schedule.  Then I took those two figures and predicted how many wins the Bucks will likely produce from this point on.  Finally I added that predicted total to the team’s current record to arrive at the Milwaukee Bucks likely final 2009-10 record.

Unfortunately for me and for Bucks fans, using this method I came up with the lousy final record of around 33 wins and 49 losses.  If that’s true that would probably mean the team is headed back to the lottery.  Yuck.

But that projection may or may not be accurate, based on the uncertainty of NBA outcomes.  Read on to find out how I came up with the projection and what I mean by “NBA uncertainty”.

Road Map to my depressing projection

Here’s a step-by-step map to my projection.

Step 1:  At the moment the Bucks are 13-18.   When you compare their performances at home and their performances on the road against the rest of the Association’s performance against the same schedule, the Bucks relative winning percentages are:

Home:  (-.002)

Away: (-.114)

In other words, the Bucks are playing just slightly below average at home and well below average on the road.

Step 2: I next went through the rest of the Bucks schedule to determine how the rest of the Association is at the moment performing against it.  Here’s what I came up with:

NBA vs. the rest of Bucks schedule

vs. their 24 remaining home opponents: .608

vs. their 27 remaining away opponents: .315

Step 3:  So, using those two numbers, along with the Bucks relative performance at home and away, I then calculated the Bucks expected winning percentages against their remaining home schedule and their remaining road schedule.

Bucks expected winning percentages

24 Home Games: .606% (14.5 wins)

27 Away Games: .201% (5.5 wins)

Projected Final Record: 33-49

Factoring in NBA Uncertainty (71%)

Okay, so that’s a straight prediction — strength versus strength.  But if you’ve been following this blog you will know that only 71% of NBA games are actually determined by the relative strength of the given opponents.  Its a pretty hard and fast rule, so it has to be taken into consideration when making a final projection.

But that presents a dilemma.  Which of the Bucks games will or will not be determined by the relative strength of the Bucks and their given opponent?  I have no idea.

So what I did instead was I arbitrarily removed 30% of their remaining games (14), reasoned that the Bucks would win half of those (7.0 wins), and then I simply proportioned the Bucks combined home/away expected winning percentage (.392%) to the remaining 37 games (14.5 wins).  The new projection I came up with was 34.5 wins.

That projection is a little better, but even that win total is far lower than the win total I projected before the season, and far lower than the win total I would have projected just a month ago. But this entire projection is based on TangoTiger’s belief that a team does not reveal its true strength until it gets to the 33 game mark, so for this post I’m treating the team’s earlier performance as illusory.

Let’s hope that’s wrong.  The Lottery sucks.


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