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November 19, 2008

And Then There Were None

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 3:19 pm

Of everything I wrote during my first year at Basketball Prospectus, my favorite column was probably one posted a year ago today looking at the fast starts of the New Orleans Hornets and Orlando Magic and arguing, based on the history of similar teams, that they were almost certainly not flukes. The Hornets and Magic, as well as the Boston Celtics, joined seven other teams since the start of the ’80s to start at least 8-2 coming off of a .500 season. With their additions, six of the 10 ended up division champs, and eight of the 10 have won at least one playoff series.

Alas, there will be no addition to the list this year, nor even to the slightly less prestigious group that started 7-3. The last hope was the Atlanta Hawks, and their fourth consecutive loss yesterday dropped them to 6-4 after their unbeaten six-game start.

The bigger picture of that column is that things have generally settled down at the team level by the 10-game point. That’s good news for the Hawks as well as above-.500 teams Miami, New York and Portland (all 6-5), but the early evidence doesn’t suggest a surprise team on the magnitude of New Orleans and Orlando a year ago.

Bonus Along the Lines of the Previous John Gasaway Post Note: I’m glad John has chosen to concentrate on rebounding percentage. Personally, I’ll know my life’s work is complete when the last writer has determined an offense or particularly a defense’s quality based on points scored or allowed per game with no regard for prace of play.

Chat Thursday: Join me tomorrow at Baseball Prospectus at 1 p.m. EST to talk about the first three weeks of the NBA season. If you can’t make it, submit your question now and check out the transcript.

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