Nets inconsistencies show up in the stats

Firing off two tweets today, ESPN Insider Tom Haberstroh listed the five most consistent and inconsistent offenses and defenses in the NBA, and sure enough, guess what team made the top five in both “inconsistent” lists:

Along with the perpetually inconsistent and 27-50 Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets ranked in the top five in both rankings, as the second-most inconsistent offense and the third-most inconsistent defense this season.

The ranking was done by looking at team points per possession by game, both scoring and defending, and calculating the standard deviation.

One potential bright spot: in the book Basketball on Paper, author and basketball analyst Dean Oliver argued that a team inconsistent in their game-to-game production actually has a better chance of upsetting favorited opponents. The argument, in essence: if you’re consistently the 8th-best team in the NBA and never perform above that level, you’re going to lose to the 5th-best team in the NBA all the time. However, if you’re the 8th-best team in the NBA, but half the time you play like the 2nd-best team in the NBA and the other half you play like a lottery team, there’s at least a chance that the good half will come up at the right time.

The problem with the Nets is that their inconsistency is relatively consistent, and not in a good way. According to numbers from HoopData, of the 36 times they’ve scored above their season average, only 10 have come against teams over .500. Of the 39 times they’ve defended better than their season average, only 15 have come against teams over .500.