2011 NBA Now Rankings and Predictions (Final Preseason Build)

“. . . be resolved that duty is heavier than a mountain, while death is lighter than a feather.”—First Precept of the Imperial Rescript to Japanese Soldiers and Sailors

Duty. That’s a heavy, heavy word. I made a promise to myself and to readers of this blog that I would build a model to forecast Win totals for the NBA season using Wins produced (go here for the Basics behind it all). There were a lot of factors to consider:

  • Projecting veteran player performance (the veteran model)
  • Projecting for rookies who played in college (the rookie model).
  • Projecting for everyone else using the preseason
  • Rosters, Minute allocations and Injuries (wait for it)
  • The difference between conferences (see here)

But I was not daunted. In fact I did a first simple build (NBA Now Team Rankings take 1) then added some complexity for version #2 . But now the season is upon us and time is running out.

Over already?

Picks are due. Let’s get on with it. This Version accounts for everything.

Yes, even the spanish inquisition.

The 2010-2011 Build Preseason Final (as of 10/25/10)

There are 435 players currently on NBA rosters. I’ve done projection (accounting for age,performance,injuries & depth charts) for 435 players. Every single one.  The full build is here.

Some notes:

  • Blake Griffin was adjusted to the high end of his projection based on his pre-season performance. Didn’t help the clippers much.
  • Durant and Westbrook were projected based on the last 41 games of last year.
  • I went high on CP3 minutes, low on Yao minutes based on the Rockets minutes restrictions, low on Oden and Aldridge minutes, I also gave Scalabrine playing time.

    Did you know he's now a Bull?
  • I used ShamSports combined with ESPN for depth charts. Some teams (I’m looking at you Indiana) was kinda like throwing darts at random.

The final preseason 2011 projection looks like this:

So with the Miller injury, Portland is my number one overall seed for the season and yes I am predicting the Wizards to win only ten games. Shocking I know :-).

I previously posted the win totals vs the lines (see here). Let’s update that now.

Do with that info what you will but the top 4 looks very inviting. Every team in green is also attractive (the rockets have keep away written all over them).

As for Awards picks? Here you go:

So now like Clippers fans, I can await the sweet release of death.  Enjoy, discuss, comment and as always:

DYI Snark. We're all about Fanservice

Oh and by the way:

Gimme a big C tonight

Note: I had to make a correction so final predictions are here


  1. Chicago Tim
    October 26

    Patrick Beverley may join the Bulls soon. I’m assuming he can’t be that great if the Heat cut him, but on the other hand he’s good enough that the Heat signed him to a guaranteed contract. I’m just hoping he’s not another negative producer.

    You are going to keep throwing Scalabrine in my face, aren’t you? We’ll find out soon if he gets playing time. If he doesn’t get it with Boozer out and Gibson off to a slow start, he surely won’t get it when Boozer returns. It’s amazing how much difference a bad player can make. Finding superstars is hard, but shouldn’t cutting bad players be easy?

    On the other hand, I love what Coach T. has been preaching to D. Rose. “We’re small, so we have to be a gang-rebounding team, and if he could give us six or seven rebounds a game that goes a long way with us, and also it ignites our break.”


      • notherbert
        October 27

        grilling Chicago Tim is quite worthwhile and i also wonder if Scalabrine’s preseason factors into his projections? how does this compare to the Rookie model where the players last college year and preseason project their rookie year decently?

  2. Chicago Tim
    October 26

    Oh, wait, I just looked up your post on rookie preseasons. Beverley looked great! .305 WP48! Go Bulls!

  3. Jimbo (Australia)
    October 26

    Arturo, congratulations on putting it all together, awesome work as always !

  4. some dude
    October 27

    good work. it’s unfortunate the model will be way off with the raps, Blazers, and magic. Wiz should win more than 10..at least 15. Otherwise, I think it’s fairly accurate.

    Houston sure looked good tonight. Questioning my own positioning of em (and yours).

    Shaq is starting, so I don’t get the 6th man pick. Roy the MVP? Well, i guess if you project em to win 64 and I’m a huge Roy fan, but that’s a wonky pick for the media. Agree on Griffin and Love.

    Regarding Ariza, I don’t think MIP WP should include players getting back to their previous WP after a down year. It should be someone reaching a career high in WP and it being a significantly higher number than the previous year’s.

    • October 27

      I really spent some time with those teams. I don’t think I’m wrong. I watched them last night and the Blazers are a rebounding machine (granted it was Phx). Phx shot lights out and still couldn’t hang. Had that feel of inevitability to it (i.e Port. was down but you knew they’d win in the end).

      Houston did look good last night (I watch games everybody!). The big thing is that ESPN & Shamsports rotations (and thus my minute prediction ) looked to be off and Miller and Ish were surprising. I do worry about health with them and that playing against Fish makes 1/2 for the other team look much better. Might do a piece just on them.

      Shaq won’t start enough games (Jermaine will start some and once Perk gets back he’l be the starter). He looks like his motor runs out after 10 minutes right now. Thus sixth man.

      As for Ariza? I don’t make the rules I just take advantage of them. That said, the upgrade of playing with CP3 instead of Fish or Brooks should do wonders for his numbers and I think he hits careers highs in WP48 and WP.

  5. Raspu10
    October 27

    Nice work. you certainly can’t be accused of stacking the deck for the Warriors – either Brandan Wright or Williams sb in the top 6 – Bell was a complete disaster in preseason. Looks like a 3-guard rotation on the two slots, for the most part, with Ellis, Curry, and Williams. And Brandan is has been increasing his share of minutes vs Vlad. But hey, I’ll take it – its far from a best case scenario and we still look pretty good.

  6. October 27

    Golden State is solid and they found some gems in Adrien and Lin. Like that team. The biggest problem is Mr. WP Variability (Ellis). Can’t they trade for Rudy Fernandez or something?

    • October 27

      heh. Well, he’s unhappy, and the Blazers let Oden know the writing is on the wall…. just trade expirings (Bell and Gadz) for expirings…. right. In my dreams.

  7. some dude
    October 27

    Arturo, did you notice that Portland couldn’t make it’s run until it took Camby out of the game (with Miller)? Yet I’m sure Camby will get a lot of the WP. Just sayin’ (the issue is they can’t play Miller, Camby, and Aldridge together long because there’s no spacing).

    As or Houston, I expected a better season out of Miller. Adelman’s system is more conducive to his style of play. I know coaching has little effect, but I do think Adelman is one of the few good ones. Yao only playing 24 minutes is interesting. The announcers made a good point that with that constraint, Yao doesn’t have to worry about fouling and can play at top level always. I wonder if this will make his minutes more productive once he’s in shape.

    Shannon Brown looked good in the game continuing his roll from preseason (a .15 WP48). If he turned the corner a bit (more like .1) after spending all summer working on the shot (ala Ariza), then he could add a few more wins to the team. Blake looked great and Phil leaving him out there already eliminated my early fears regarding Fish.

    Why do you say Jermaine will start? I don’t see Doc ever starting him over a healthy Shaq out of deference to the Big Fella. I know there’s talk of Perkins, but Boston is not being honest IMO about it. His injury will not bring him back til late in the season. That type of injury really takes a year to heal from and more to get yourself back. He’s not coming back in January, you’d be lucky if it’s late February or March.

    Ellis is hard to trade because the league caught on to how overrated he was and his contract is ewwwwwwww.

    Hey, that was some Miami Heat performance, eh? I felt a bit dirty sort of almost rootin’ for you greenies.

    • October 27

      Portland just need to figure out their rotation (Camby didn’t really play in preseason, Roy was hurt last year). Phx also shot lights out and couldn’t pull away beacuse of Portland ridiculous rebounding edge. Playing Batum at the four was inspired.

      Houston has warts (injuries,turnovers) that I think will show. That said, I liked their actual rotation better than their projected one.

      Jermaine/Perk will start (both banged up). Shaq is better served coming off the bench to feed on backup PF/C (who’s covering him on the Wiz or 76ers?). I actually think he’ll get in better shape as the season goes along. Maybe he can get on Big Baby’s training regimen (who looked awesome and strong)?

      Ellis kills me because some nights he’s fantastic and other’s he’s craptastic.

      • October 27

        Ellis is a very volatile player – meaning he has high statistical volatility. It’s pretty clear that some players have larger swings than others – has anyone really looked into that in terms of WP?

  8. some dude
    October 27

    their rotation should involve not having camby and miller out there together much. There is no floor spacing as teams will ignore Camby and pack the paint. One is fine, but not both. Miller should be coming off the bench, honestly.

    Maybe Shaq should come off the bench, but I just don’t see Doc doing that unless he gets hurt first or Perkins returns. he might not even come off the bench enough to qualify.

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