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Just how unlucky are we? Numbers don't lie.

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by pugsly8422, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. pugsly8422

    pugsly8422 Contributing Member

    Mar 19, 2002
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    Based on 2 things....1) Draft Position & 2) Playoff Standings, I pulled some numbers together to determine just how good/bad/lucky teams have been. I know a lot of us are upset that we're just a mediocre team, which means we, most likely, won't get a great draft pick nor will we make the playoffs.

    I looked at 2004 (the year the Bobcats joined) thru 2010. I sorted each year by draft order, then gave each position a value. Whoever got the #1 pick received 14 points, the #2 pick got 13 points, all the way down to the #14 pick, which got 1 point. I did the same thing for the non-lottery teams, starting at the team that picked last (had the best record), I gave them 16 points, the 2nd best team got 15 points, all the way to the worst team that made the playoffs, which got 1 point. Basically if you're a mediocre team, you get the least amount of points.

    Adding all of these up from 2004-2010, we're actually not ranked too badly (sorry it's hard to read). It's from worst to best:

    Rank Team Points
    1 76ers 31
    2 Pacers 37
    3 Warriors 38
    4 Bucks 42
    4 Nets 42
    6 Hornets 44
    7 Jazz 46
    8 Bulls 47
    9 Raptors 48
    10 Knicks 50
    10 Wizards 50
    12 Bobcats 51
    13 Clippers 54
    14 Kings 55
    15 Nuggets 56
    16 Rockets 57
    17 Celtics 58
    18 Blazers 59
    18 Heat 59
    18 Magic 59
    21 Hawks 60
    22 Grizzlies 61
    23 Thunder 62
    24 Cavaliers 65
    24 Timberwolves 65
    26 Lakers 73
    27 Suns 75
    28 Pistons 76
    29 Mavericks 81
    30 Spurs 86

    Include 2011 (based on the current standings) and we actually move from 16th worst to 11th worst. Only look at 2010-2011? Yup, we're the worst...by far (next worst is 4 points behind us).

    What does this say? Yes, 2010 and 2011 have really set us back (although we did get a great draft pick by taking Patrick Patterson) if you ONLY look at the draft spot you get and whether or not you make the playoffs. You could almost say that in 2010 we got more than 1 point (since we had the 14th pick) because if the draft was re-done, Patterson would definitely go higher.

    Bottom line is...yes, 2010 and, most likely, 2011 haven't been great for us if you only look at what we got thanks to our record. Morey managed to do a good job in 2010 taking full advantage of what we were given, and hoepfully he'll do the same in 2011. Also, looking at the last 6 complete years (not including 2011), there are actually 15 teams that have done worse than us in this respect. It all comes down to what you do with what you're given, and I think Morey is one of the best at making something out of nothing. Basically we're right where we should be, based on what we've been given (middle of the pack), and that's with our top player down for the year. This just tells me that given a full squad, we have a very high ceiling.

    Oh, and yes, I know what matters is what is happening in the present and future, but I just wanted to point out that over the past few years there have been a lot of teams that have been given less to work with than us. Of course, some (like Chicago) got less overall and are much better than us, but they also got the #1 pick, and that usually helps...a lot! This also shows how bad Minnesota has been at taking advantage of what they've been given. 1 playoff appearance helped raise their score, the rest of it was due to high draft picks, which they haven't done very well at taking advantage of through the years (based on these numbers).

    1 person likes this.
  2. Nero

    Nero Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    Morey skillset is almost like a 'shtick' - (and don't mis-read me, it is a great great shtick) - in that his greatest strength lies in the deep analysis which allows him to find better talent at the lower levels of the draft - say, non-lottery picks - than most other teams. And this analysis applies to both our own picks and other teams' picks as well, take Lowry as an example.

    In other words, just because you miss out on a guy you might have though pretty highly of in the draft, keep your eyes open because a couple years later maybe his teams has not developed him, or drafted someone new and more high-thought-of at his same position (again such as Conley coming in and relegating Lowry to the bench).

    The problem is.. finding a player at #40 who may turn out to have been good enough to have been drafter #20, or trading for some other team's 2nd-rounder benchwarmer and turning him into a guy who would undoubtedly be re-picked as a first-rounder if everyone had a big 'do-over'... or even nabbing a guy at 14 who is showing himself to be a legit top-ten pick, such as with PPat...

    ..the problem is, to use the baseball analogy, is that this is like station-to-station offense, getting a fair amount of singles and doubles, and the occasional triple, but rarely hitting a home run.

    I think, as much of a wizard as Morey is - and believe me I think he is an absolute wizard - I still don't think we have seen him hit a true home run yet, much less a very much needed grand slam.

    This team is on the brink of being special. It has been on that brink for quite a while now, and taking legitimate shots with Yao and McGrady and Artest, etc.. it was a gamble everyone was happy to take, but it all just came up snake-eyes. So they have changed directions on the fly, switched gears utterly from a bogged-down defensive team to a high-scoring offensive team with challenges defensively, and still remain 'on the brink'..

    I think Adelman will be back, and this team should stay mostly intact. The number one priority is to find a defensive big who will not lower our scoring average too much, if at all. If Morey can find that player, draft him, trade for him, or somehow magically withdraw Yao's and Hakeem's essence and graft it into Thabeet... whatever, however, that's the goal right now..

    If he can do that..

    THAT will be his home run.

    If he can't eventually make full contact and drive one out, we will be perpetually stuck in the 'slightly-better-than-average' hole you so aptly illustrated above.
  3. LabMouse

    LabMouse Member

    Jun 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    It is very hard to be a championship contender without a lucky. I think the rockets should be able to make the playoffs next year, with the addition of another solid player from somewhere.
  4. HowsMyDriving

    HowsMyDriving Member

    Aug 2, 2007
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    you've kind of revealed the flaw in your analysis here. its a nonlinear function that you're assigning linear values to.

    i.e. the value of having the #1 pic is not 1/16th better than having the #2 pick. similarly the value of winning a championship is not 1/16th better than coming in second.

    based on what i remember from an analysis done somewhere on success rate of prospects relative to draft position, there's a really good success rate on #1s, a decent success rate through #3, and a severe dropoff after the #5 pick or so on average. i'll see if i can dig up the graph. anyway, it's nonlinear for sure.

    so to make this analysis more "right" you'd probably have to assign some kind of quasi exponential curve to the "benefit" you're assigning to draft position, and similarly to the value of winning in the playoffs.
  5. pugsly8422

    pugsly8422 Contributing Member

    Mar 19, 2002
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    Yeah, but that's too complicated. I'd rather keep things simple, even if it means I'm not 100% accurate. This is just something I got to thinking about, and whipped up in about 30-40 minutes. I'd love to see something along the lines of what you proposed though, more accurate is always better.

  6. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
    Supporting Member

    Jul 23, 2002
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    Well, CD hit a home run in 2002, landing a 7'6 dude with skills. The question is, were we lucky of unlucky? He hit another home run two years later, having another elite players falling on his lap. Was that luck or not?

    Portland hit a home run getting Brandon Roy. Where they lucky or unlucky? Oh, and they hit another home run winning the lottery in 2007. Were they lucky or not?

    Good luck is not just getting good draft picks or even picking up great players. What happens to the players after you get them plays a big role too, and a lot of it is luck.
  7. HowsMyDriving

    HowsMyDriving Member

    Aug 2, 2007
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    i'll take a shot at it tonight. the data is out there to do this with a couple of reasonable assumptions. it'll be interesting to see how the it compares to the linear approach.
  8. CCorn

    CCorn Member

    Dec 26, 2010
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    I don't understanding assigning so many points just because a team drafted so high. I think you need 3 years to look ok they drafted one but has this player shown he will be an allstar? Who's going to say Mem deserves points for drafting Thabust 2? Look at all the players after him. I think giving a team props for losing it all and getting a good draft pick isn't the way to go at all.
  9. pugsly8422

    pugsly8422 Contributing Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I wasn't basing it on who was drafted, but what they got: a #1 pick deserves more points than a #2 pick. If you got a #1 pick, then you got an item worth quite a few points, whereas if you got a #14 pick, it's not worth near as much. I think anyone would take the #30 pick over the #5 pick. Why? If you have the #30 pick that means you had the best record in the league and home-court throughout the playoffs, whereas #5 means you were one of the worst teams in the league. Try to only look at what the team received in regards to the pick, not the player they used with the pick. I'm only looking at that because that's what people are talking about....us getting the #14 pick again and having little chance of improving or going anywhere.

  10. rhinomft

    rhinomft Member

    Jan 1, 2003
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    Dang we are even mediocre at being mediocre! I blame Scola...
  11. smoothie

    smoothie Jabari Jungle

    Mar 1, 2001
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    so we weren't the most mediocre team, in fact we were the 16th most mediocre team, which is right in the middle of the pack. we are even mediocre at being mediocre!? F*#k!! :mad:
  12. Aydge

    Aydge Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Likes Received:
    I understand the frustration of possibly getting the 14th pick two years in a row. It's the least enviable place to be, barely missing out on the playoffs two years in a row.

    Despite that position, I think its pretty obvious that this team is getting better and will continue to get much better, even with another 14th pick.

    Whether we make the playoffs or not, teams don't want to face us right now. Since the all-star break this team has been top 10 for sure. We've gotten better WHILE getting younger, and cheaper and picking up more draft picks... that almost never happens. Our 14th pick last year is currently playing better than everyone in that draft class besides Greg Monroe (God bless 2Pat but Greg Monroe would have been absolutely perfect for this team).

    I know Morey talks about getting a superstar, and allegedly had interest in Melo, but I'd rather him keep doing what he's been doing to build this team up. I would hate to see all this young talent traded away for a team(if you could call them that) that resembles the Knicks.
    1 person likes this.
  13. MorningZippo

    MorningZippo Member

    Jun 24, 2010
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    Your over-complicating it. Draft position has linear values before the draft actually takes place, no matter who ends up being drafted with what spot. He's trying to show which teams have been put into the position
  14. HowsMyDriving

    HowsMyDriving Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Likes Received:
    no it doesnt. i don't know if something similar exists for the NBA but in the NFL many teams assign a value to draft picks based on tables like this one:


    you'll see that its nonlinear.

    the reason it matters is because of data like this:


    you'll see that its also very much nonlinear.

    so yes, the difference between the integers 1 and 14 as it relates to draft position is linear, but that's pretty much the only thing about it that is. just like theres a huge difference between winning a chip and just barely making the playoffs.
  15. Beavis

    Beavis Member

    Mar 10, 2011
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    I think the Rockets will be forced to tank at some point whether Morey wants to or not. Heres why I think that.

    Teams like Minnesota,and Kings are slightly worse right now that the Rockets, they will get better players in the draft than us because of draft position. This process will slowly(years) result in teams that are drafting ahead of us, like Indiana,Minnesota,Kings,Clippers, to pass the rockets over the next 1-3 years.

    This will result in the Rockets being bad. Real bad. You cant expect Yao to magically help this team. Lowry,Scola played thier hearts out this year and still cant make the playoffs. This teams talent has maxed out.

    So, even though alot of you are anti tanking, I hate to tell you but these teams are going to pass the Rockets because they will be drafting the Barnes,Irvings while the rockets get backup role players in draft.

    This process will be painful and last years until the Rockets can hit the jackpot in draft(top 3).

    Thats why I expect atleast 2 more years of missing playoffs. Easily. The process could have been avoided had they started tanking 2 years ago when Yao went down in lakers series. We would have a core of Cousins/Irvin got build around instead we will be watching the Anehiem Kings being great for years after this draft.

    Drafting 11-14 year after year after year isnt going to improve to contender status. All it does is keep you afloat(9th seed),but not over the top.
  16. slothy420

    slothy420 Paper Street Soap Co.

    May 10, 2002
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    Don't count on the Rockets tanking... ever. I think that's against their entire philosophy and I'd like to believe that they are too classy of an organization to intentionally lose. If there's a player in the draft that Morey likes enough, he'll do whatever he can - within reason - to grab that player. He's not going to bet the farm, though, and give up too much for a draft pick who only has a 40% chance of ever making an all-star team. It would be great if we somehow managed to end up with a number one pick, but not at the cost of the teams integrity.
  17. HowsMyDriving

    HowsMyDriving Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Likes Received:
    they tanked to get olajuwon. the spurs tanked to get duncan.

    even classy organizations do it.
  18. ashishduh

    ashishduh Contributing Member

    Aug 21, 2010
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    Lol what a terrible post. The Kings and Wolves have been horrible for many seasons, how's that working out?

    I also find it hilarious you say this team can't improve even though every single player who's played decent minutes has in fact improved his year, lmao. Patterson still has a lot of improving to do, Hill can still improve, Dragic Budinger are still improving.
  19. Nero

    Nero Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Likes Received:
    You're right, that was kind of my point. In order for Morey's particular exceptional skillset to hit his version of a 'home run', then he is going to have to get VERY lucky with one of the players he acquires in the middle of the draft, or in a 'hidden-gem' trade, such as the sort of thing which has happened with Lowry.

    In other words, taking your use of Portland's 'luck', we need for Morey to know something that ten other teams don't, and have them all pick a version of Gred Oden, where the conventional wisdom leads them to pick certain players, leaving Morey picking the guy who turns into an actual 'superstar', which everyone seems to enjoy saying we really really need.

    ..which is, to say the least, not bloody likely. We are not the only team which uses analytics, not the only team with good scouts, etc. So, we get gradually younger and better, which is fine, but until we get our own Tim Duncan or Dwight Howard, we are not going to get over that hump.

    So they better have CD and Sikma, and everyone else who has ever taught a big guy how to play, camped out with Thabeet 24/7 for the foreseeable future, and hoping and praying that he can be turned into something which will genuinely help.

    If that happens (big if, I know), then that could be Morey's first Home Run.
  20. HowsMyDriving

    HowsMyDriving Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Likes Received:
    alright, here's my take on this. what i did was use the actual data about success rate of prospects relative to draft position for the same timeperiod as the OP to weight the "benefit" of drafting in specific locations in the draft. this data is at the link a couple of posts up if anyone wants to see it. using this and each team's draft position from 2004 to present, i calculated a value for each team's likely draft success based on history.

    the results for that are as follows (sorted from best likelihood of draft success to worst):
    1 atl 1.96
    2 cha 1.95
    3 chi 1.95
    4 sea 1.73
    5 min 1.72
    6 was 1.71
    7 por 1.64
    8 mem 1.42
    9 lac 1.37
    10 tor 1.3
    11 mil 1.29
    12 nj 1.18
    13 gs 1.11
    14 bos 1.1
    15 uta 1.07
    16 sac 1.06
    17 phi 1.05
    18 mia 0.97
    19 nyk 0.92
    20 orl 0.9
    21 nor 0.84
    22 phx 0.66
    23 ind 0.61
    24 cle 0.51
    25 lal 0.48
    26 det 0.42
    27 den 0.38
    28 sa 0.35
    29 hou 0.32
    30 dal 0.12

    so according to this, only dallas has had a worse likelihood to draft well than the rockets. most of the other teams at the bottom are perennial playoff teams over the timeperiod we're talking about.

    in addition, i also used a barometer of playoff success to gauge this against, meaning that the goal of any team isn't to get the top pick, it is to succeed in the playoffs and win championships, so the two have to go hand in hand. doing a similar type of weighted analysis gave me the following view of each team's playoff success:

    1 lal 3.8
    2 sa 3.3
    3 det 3.1
    4 bos 2.3
    5 mia 2.1
    6 cle 1.9
    7 dal 1.85
    8 phx 1.6
    9 orl 1.55
    10 den 1.3
    11 uta 1.05
    12 nj 0.9
    13 chi 0.85
    14 hou 0.85
    15 ind 0.8
    16 was 0.7
    17 atl 0.65
    18 sac 0.55
    19 nor 0.55
    20 mem 0.45
    21 mil 0.45
    22 phi 0.45
    23 sea 0.4
    24 min 0.4
    25 por 0.3
    26 tor 0.3
    27 lac 0.25
    28 gs 0.25
    29 cha 0.15
    30 nyk 0.15

    you'll notice that the playoff success is weighted more heavily (roughly double) than likelihood of draft success, and that's because as mentioned above, winning is the most important thing for any franchise, and drafting well only matters as it contributes toward winning, especially in the playoffs. you may disagree with the weighting, but i believe this is sound.

    combining the two lists, we get the following back of the envelope metric for "success" for 2004 to present, as gauged by the combination of winning in the playoffs and putting your team in a position to draft well:

    1 lal 4.28
    2 sa 3.65
    3 det 3.52
    4 bos 3.4
    5 mia 3.07
    6 chi 2.8
    7 atl 2.61
    8 orl 2.45
    9 cle 2.41
    10 was 2.41
    11 phx 2.26
    12 sea 2.13
    13 uta 2.12
    14 min 2.12
    15 cha 2.1
    16 nj 2.08
    17 dal 1.97
    18 por 1.94
    19 mem 1.87
    20 mil 1.74
    21 den 1.68
    22 lac 1.62
    23 sac 1.61
    24 tor 1.6
    25 phi 1.5
    26 ind 1.41
    27 nor 1.39
    28 gs 1.36
    29 hou 1.17
    30 nyk 1.07

    it should be noted that i didn't create this with any bias toward or against the rockets. i did what made sense, and this is the result.

    take it for what it is, a simple analysis done by one person to understand whether the team has been as unsuccessful as it feels like it has. according to me, only the knicks have been worse overall.
    1 person likes this.

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