Schedule Analysis For Every NBA Team Up Until December 1st

Schedule Analysis For Every NBA Team Up Until December 1st

How much does the start of the season matter? There are examples like last season, in which the Rockets and Trail Blazers (both 7-11 last December 1st) eventually turn it around and make the Playoffs. Conversely, the Chicago Bulls started out 10-5 before collapsing and missing the playoffs. In general, each team will play 16-20 games from the start of the season up until December 1st with this year’s schedule. I thought it would be interesting to examine the schedule of each team from the start of the season up to December 1st and see how challenging or soft their assorted schedules are. Upon looking at all of these schedules, I came up with a best case and a worst case scenario in terms of record for each team (alphabetically) for when we hit December 1st. As the season progresses, I’ll do this for every quarter of the season. Opening disclaimer: The schedule will revert back near the mean for every team. So the teams with tougher schedules to open the season will see it ease up as the season moves on, and vice versa. However, for teams shuffling new players, the road games, strength of opponents and back-to-backs can certainly can raise the degree of difficulty. For example, Houston plays 7 of 8 to open the season on the road. Chicago has a stretch of 8 of 10 on the road in November. Preseason darlings Utah play 12 road games and 5 back-to-backs up until December 1st. While every team can turn their season around, the pressure is turned up with a slow start. Atlanta Hawks Atlanta has...
Do You Believe In Magic: Orlando As A 2017 Playoff Team

Do You Believe In Magic: Orlando As A 2017 Playoff Team

Rebuilding in the NBA is exceedingly difficult. Rob Hennigan was in Oklahoma City for four years, a team that had the best possible scenario of any rebuilding team in recent memory. Oklahoma City drafted Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden and put them in place around Kevin Durant as the Thunder appeared to have the start of a Dynasty. While we know how things in Oklahoma City played out and know in retrospect that Oklahoma City’s talent haul was almost once in generation, Hennigan had some excellent training in trying to build a team. Within a year of being named General Manager of the Orlando Magic on June 21st, 2012, Hennigan moved Dwight Howard and JJ Redick and added Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn and Victor Oladipo. He also hired Jacque Vaughn, a former player who came from the Spurs coaching tree. It appeared to be an excellent kick-start to a thorough rebuilding task. At the end of the 2013-2014 season, Hennigan swapped Arron Afflalo for Evan Fournier and then selected Aaron Gordon and Dario Saric. Saric was quickly moved to the 76ers in exchange of Elfrid Payton. Going into the 2014-2015 NBA season, Orlando had a legitimate core and tried to surround some young talent with veteran players. The wins did not follow. Orlando went 23-59, Vaughn was fired and the Magic had to regroup. Orlando had talent in place, but as mentioned on the “NBA Open Court Coaches Edition”, it’s especially hard to coach a young team when there isn’t one player who separates himself as the best player. Tobias Harris wasn’t that...
“NBA Open Court Coaches Edition” Is Peak Sports Programming

“NBA Open Court Coaches Edition” Is Peak Sports Programming

Hosted by Matt Weiner and with a panel of Tom Thibodeau, Dwane Casey, Mike D’Antoni, Doc Rivers and Terry Stotts, the “NBA Open Court Coaches Edition” that aired yesterday on NBA TV was legitimately one of the best sports programs I’ve ever seen. That’s not hyperbole. (NBA Open Court Coaches Edition can be viewed on NBA.com ) Mainly, it was some of the smartest NBA minds on the record, plus some excellent footage and some compelling subplots involved. Here are the ten things that I learned / found interesting: Seeing Doc Rivers and Terry Stotts not only appearing together, but sitting next to one another, was an “oh shit” moment. There was a series of weird instances between Doc and Terry last season (this YouTube video covers everything with creepy music to boot!) and seeing them sit next to one another had my mind racing. Did the folks at NBA TV know? I kept watching both of their facial expressions when the other was speaking like it was the Zapruder film. Either way, props to both of them for being pros.Right behind Doc and Terry on the “interesting only for NBA nerds” scale was Thibs and D’Antoni. From a 2012 Frank Isola penned Daily News article:“D’Antoni and the Suns parted ways after Phoenix lost a first round series to the San Antonio Spurs in 2008. D’Antoni was upset that then-general manager Steve Kerr was pushing him to hire a defensive assistant. A year earlier, Kerr suggested Tom Thibodeau for the job but D’Antoni resisted. Thibodeau eventually joined Doc Rivers’ staff and the Boston Celtics went on to win the...
Uncommonly Consistent: The Spurs Evolve Again

Uncommonly Consistent: The Spurs Evolve Again

The NBA has always been referred to as a “copycat league” and a number of teams want to play faster and emulate what the Warriors are doing offensively. The Rockets hired Mike D’Antoni. Larry Bird fired Frank Vogel because he wants Indiana to play faster and score more points. The injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist forced the Hornets to pivot last season and they shot a ton of threes and made the Playoffs. The Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau and brought in Fred Hoiberg before last season with the idea that they were going to play faster. The owner of the Kings once suggested playing 4-on-5 defensively to get out in transition. Ty Lue said during last year’s NBA Finals that the Cavaliers needed to play faster. In theory it’s a nice idea and a go to buzz-phrase among regime changes. However, as Tom Ziller noted over one year ago, mimicking the Warriors style is easier said than done. With the Warriors adding Kevin Durant, that statement is more accurate than ever. While teams will try to imitate the Warriors style of play, NBA history has shown that teams usually need to formulate a way to stop those best teams, not copy them. The Knicks of the early-mid 90’s tried to pummel Michael Jordan into submission.  The Pistons built an elite defensive team with two great bigs in Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace in an effort to knock off the Lakers and the Spurs. The Boston Celtics built an elite defensive team powered by Kevin Garnett and took home one title while narrowly missing out on two more. From the 1998-1999...
The Warriors, The Schedule and The Marathon NBA Season

The Warriors, The Schedule and The Marathon NBA Season

73-9 in the regular season. Coming back from 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Losing in Game 7 after a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Adding one of the best players in the NBA via free agency and stealing him away from a rival in the process. A lot has happened since the the 2015-2016 regular season concluded back in April, a season in which the Warriors became the greatest regular season team of all-time with a 73-9 record. Before getting into the recent comments from Warriors General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers in regard to resting players, let’s take a look at the games that the Warriors lost last season: Any Common Threads To Their Losses? The Warriors were 2-5 in games in which they did not score at least 100 points. 7 of the 9 losses were on the road. 6 of the 9 losses were on the first or second night of a back-to-back. 6 of the 9 losses occurred on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Recap Saturday, December 12th at Milwaukee Bucks 108 – Warriors 95 The Warriors were pushed to the limit the previous night in a 124-119 win in double-overtime at Boston. The Warriors shot 22.2% from deep (6-27) and their bench shot 33.3% (10-30), while Greg Monroe (28 points, 11 rebounds), Giannis Antekokounmpo (11 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists) and Michael Carter-Williams (17 points, 7 assists, 5 steals) led the Bucks to victory. Wednesday, December 30th at Dallas Mavericks 114 – Warriors 91 Steph Curry sat this one out with a bruised left leg, the Mavericks shot 51.9%...