I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Wayne Winston, but the man is one of the best sports analytics people in the business. In fact until recently he was doing statistical analysis for the Dallas Mavericks. Since he stopped doing his thing for the Mavericks, Winston published a book called Mathletics (where he breaks down advanced statistics for a few different sports) and he now runs a blog where he does his thing. Recently, over at WayneWinston.com Winston posted his “Post All-Star Rankings.” It was interesting to see that according to Winston, the Nets haven’t been the worst team in the NBA since the break. Hell, they weren’t even second worst. The Nets ranked 23rd in Winston’s rankings, with the Knicks ranking last (awesome). Let’s allow Winston to explain his rankings:
In the three weeks since the all star break here is a summary of how well each NBA team has played. For example, the Magic have played 10.65 points better than average. The Magic have played 2.38 points better than average on offense and 8.26 points better than average on defense. Note the Nets have really improved and the Knicks are now the league’s worst team. Kudos to the unsung Bucks, who have played great. These numbers are adjusted for strength of schedule. Makes you think that a Lakers-Cavs final series is not inevitable!
Now, let’s look at the Nets specifically. The Nets have an overall ranking of -4.12119, meaning they play about 4 points worse than their opponents. Breaking it down to both sides of the ball, the Nets have been playing -4.29861 on the offensive end, but on the flip side, the Nets have been better than their opponents on defense. Now it hasn’t been by much (only 0.17742 better), but with the way the Nets played defense, any kind of better is good news.
If you have been watching Nets games, you know the Nets have been playing better since the break. With Brook Lopez continuing to dominate (up until the last two games where he faced real tough defenders), Courtney Lee finally breaking out of his funk, Terrence Williams starting to get it, and Devin Harris returning to last year’s all-star form. I have to echo Mark’s sentiments from yesterday:
So you tell me: can the worst team in basketball honestly be expected to accomplish all this in a given night? After being legitimately angry with this team and organization for the better part of the last four months, I can honestly say I now sympathize with these guys. Between the young talent of guys like Lopez, Harris, Williams and Lee, and some veteran good-guys like Keyon Dooling, Hayes and Hassell, these Nets need to find a way to get out of this discussion as being among the worst ever, because they just don’t belong there.
This team is just not the worst team in NBA history. They don’t do things that bad teams do (most of the time), and they go out and compete. Hopefully they can come away with 3 more wins.