Stat Smackdown!

In honor the playoffs the Wages of Wins Network has a podcast discussing the first round of the playoffs.

Super Stat Team Assemble!

The podcast has two parts, one for each conference

If you’re interested in more you can also

With that here’s a run down of some links that may make listening more enjoyable.

The Playoffs!

Super Stat Smackdown

On with the main event. What fun is the playoffs without brackets and picks? In the same as the True Hoop Stat Geek Smackdown, the Wages of Wins Analysts are having a contest to see who can predict the playoffs the best.

The Contestants

The Rules
  1. The contest will have four rounds. At the start of each round each contestant will submit a completed bracket predicting the winner and numbers of games for all remaining playoff series out until the NBA Championship.
  2. For each series picked correctly the player gets 5 points. For each correct number of games the player gets 2 points.
  3. If a player does not change their pick for winner in a series from a previous round they get 2 points per round they do not change their pick. If they do not change the pick of the finals winner from the start of the contest they get an extra 4 points in addition to their 2 points per round (8 points total)
  4. Highest point total wins!

The Predictions

Eastern Conference Quarter Finals

Chicago vs. Indiana
Chicago in 4 – Alex, Arturo, Ben, Devin, Dre, Mosi
Chicago in 6 – Ian
Consensus – Chicago in 4. 
Orlando vs. Atlanta
Orlando in 4 – Alex
Orlando in 5 – Arturo, Ben, Dre, Ian, Mosi
Orlando in 6 – Devin
Consensus – Orlando in 5
Boston vs. New York
Boston in 4 – Mosi
Boston in 5 – Alex
Boston in 6 – Ben, Devin, Dre, Ian, Arturo
Consensus – Boston in 6
Miami vs. Philadelphia
Miami in 4 – Alex
Miami in 5 – Arturo, Ben, Devin, Ian, Mosi
Miami in 6 – Dre
Consensus – Miami in 5
Western Conference Quarter Finals
San Antonio vs. Memphis
San Antonio in 5 – Alex, Ben
San Antonio in 6 – Devin, Mosi
San Antonio in 7 – Dre, Ian
Memphis in 7 – Arturo
Consensus – This will be an exciting series
Oklahoma City vs. Denver
Oklahoma City in 6 – Ben, Devin, Ian
Oklahoma City in 7 – Mosi
Denver in 6 – Arturo, Alex
Denver in 7 – Dre
Consensus – Oklahoma in 6
Dallas vs. Portland
Dallas in 6 – Alex, Ben, Devin, Ian
Dallas in 7 – Mosi,Arturo
Portland in 7 – Dre
Consensus – Dallas in 6
Los Angeles vs. New Orleans
Los Angeles in 4 – Ben, Devin
Los Angeles in 5 – Alex, Arturo, Dre, Ian, Mosi
Consensus – Los Angeles in 5
Wrap Up
I’ll see if we can find a nice visual way to display everyone’s picks for the rest of the playoffs on out. I will say oddly Mosi and Arturo agree with Miami winning the finals in 5 games (I didn’t know those two agreed). Chicago is currently the odds on favorite, but San Antonio and Los Angeles are getting some votes as well. Here’s hoping out of seven stat heads one of us can prove to be right.
Arturo here. A quick note: Go here for the ESPN Smackdown picks (including our own Prof. Berri).
Here’s a quick visual summary:


  1. April 16

    Typo – We’ve got a first round matchup between CHI and BOS! BOS should be IND.

    Looks good, guys!

  2. Some Dude
    April 17

    Berri already lost Magic in 4. lol

  3. April 17

    Some Dude,
    See that’s the problem with predicting sweeps, you’re proven wrong very quickly if you’re wrong. Me and Mosi tie for most 7 game series predictions (6 each) means we can still be right until the series is over 🙂

    I do also like that Los Angeles is the only first round match up out West that was undisputed. I think Chris Paul stealing 1 is the rational for most people picking LAL in 5.

    • Some Dude
      April 17

      It’s cuz advanced stat guys still look too general and not specific enough. Orlando is a better team than Atlanta, but Atlanta is a bad matchup for Orlando. Funny, advanced stat guys don’t look into enough advanced stats when it comes to series predictions. Arturo’s numbers put Orlando as a really heavy favorite, while better analysis would show a much more even matchup.

      Atlanta’s defense: Weakness is paint defense. Strength is 3 point defense, which Orlando relies on making, and forcing long 2s.

      Orlando’s offense: Weakness is paint scoring. Yes, despite Howard, they’re at the bottom of the league. Strength is 3 point shooting.

      See a problem? Atlanta defends what Orlando does well best, forces long 2s which Orlando is average at, and then isn’t great at paint defense but Orlando doesn’t convert anyway. predicted result? Orlando will trade 3s for long 2s and a couple paint points. Atlanta wins in this scenario.

      Now look at the results today. Orlando took a couple more shots in the paint with an uptick in conversion, took less 3s, making a low percentage, and shot poorly on long 2s (but traded these extra shots for FTs) by Howard, who isn’t a good Ft shooter.

      Now for the other side:

      Orlando Defense – Weakness is not much, i guess defending the 3. Strength is defending the paint and forcing long 2s.

      Atlanta Offense – Weakness is scoring in the pint. Strength is making long 2s.

      Again, a problem. Orlando’s strength is useless since Atlanta ignores the paint. Their strength is scoring on long 2s, which Orlando intentionally gives up. The result? Atlanta won the game shooting well on long 2s.

      The box score played out exactly as the season shot charts. Another issue is orlando is great at Dreb but Atlanta sucks at Oreb, so nothing gained here. Same in reverse.

      All that said, Orlando is the better team with HCA. And I still think they should win the series. But they really way too much on hitting 3s. Atanta, meanwhile, is not nearly as bad as their point differential or WP48 indicates. They have dogged it for half the season knowing that they were not moving up or down in the seedings. They’ve only played hard against teams like Orlando, showing they can win.

      Anyone who picked Orlando in 4 wasn’t actually paying attention to what’s going on and just believed the season long generic numbers. Any model built like this will always fail. It’s why I asked if Arturo would throw matchups into his WP48 model earlier this week, which he didn’t in the way I meant.

      Sorry it was long, but wanted to get it out. Matchups matter. And it doesn’t just boil down to “Dwight Howard over Collins” and ends. These teams aren’t the same as last year, either. Atlanta is a mediocre team, but they are also a team that will give orlando problems. We’re seeing it play out.

      • EvanZ
        April 19

        I picked Orlando in 7, after using the stats from the regular season meetings:

        “Obviously, this should be one of the more interesting and unpredictable series. My stats don’t suggest otherwise. The predicted WARP for Orlando is 0.560 vs. 0.473 for Atlanta. Given that Orlando also has home court, that gives them the edge. Top predicted performers are no surprises either: Horford, Johnson, and Smith for Atlanta, and Nelson, Turkoglu, and Howard for Orlando. Horford actually appears to have the statistical advantage against Howard so far this season, which is kind of a surprise.”

    • Some Dude
      April 18

      CP3 got his game. 🙁

      Horrible officiating today all around. Marred a good weekend.

  4. Greyberger
    April 17

    There’s another typo, where it says Arturo’s silly little stats – Grizzlies in Seven it should say Spurs in six.

  5. April 18


    What do the colors (i.e. green, yellow & red) mean for each pick?

    • RG,
      I coded everything for length. So 4 game series gets green, 7 gets red.

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