Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

April 17, 2009

Stat Geek Smackdown

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 5:48 pm

For the third straight season, I’ll be competing in TrueHoop’s Stat Geek Smackdown, which pits eight NBA statistical analysts against each other (and author Henry Abbott‘s mom) to see who can do the best job of predicting the NBA playoffs. My results the last two years tend to show this isn’t much of an indicator: After finishing second in 2007, I was last amongst the geeks last year, beating only Henry’s mom.

Basketball-Reference.com‘s Justin Kubatko was more consistent, winning both years. Alas, he had to retire this season because he is now under the employ of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Our picks for the first round are now online, along with some explanation for each pick. Here’s who I took:

Cleveland in 5
Boston in 7
Orlando in 5
Atlanta in 6

L.A. Lakers in 6
Denver in 6
Dallas in 7
Portland in 7

This is the first year I’m relying on a specific formula instead of just making use of the available numbers. Common sense is still an override, though. The numbers favored San Antonio, almost entirely because of home court, but I still like the Mavericks to pull the upset.

Elsewhere, I summarized my research on the relationship between age and success in “The Count” feature for The Wall Street Journal this morning, highlighting Portland ending the season as the league’s youngest 50-win team in the last three decades.

(By the way, if you think Stat Geek Smackdown is a misleading name in terms of level of violence, you might enjoy the Garbage Time All-Stars cartoon previewing the Rockets-Blazers series.)

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