Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Grizzlies Playoffs Chances?

The Grizzlies are back above . 500 after a win in which they were outplayed at home despite the absence of the Clippers' top three big men. Both Mike Conley and the Grizzlies' bench are crushing my hopes for the Grizzlies' first franchise playoff win to come against Pau Gasol. I don't know whether to be happy of sad. So I decided to alleviate my confusion by analyzing the Grizzlies' remaining schedule to better understand their playoff chances.

Fedex Forum's Water Breaks, Fans are Evacuated.

Over the remaining schedule, let's predict, somewhat arbitrarily, that the Grizzlies win:
  • 100% of their home games against sub .500 teams
  • 50% of their home games against teams equal or greater than .500
  • 50% of their road games against sub .500 teams
  • 25% of their road games against teams equal or greater than .500
That's a strong performance, but not out of the question if they stay healthy. Here's what the breakdown of the Grizzlies remaining schedule looks like (45 games):

Remaining Games by Location and Opponent Record (1/12)

Sub .500
.500 or greater

Take the remaining games and apply my formula, and you get a 42-40 record (rounding to the nearest game) or a .512 winning percentage. That's essentially equal to the Grizzlies' current .514 winning percentage, and within one game of John Hollinger's prediction of the Grizzlies' end-of-season record. It's also not good enough to move the Grizzlies up in the standings unless other teams perform significantly worse (and the Clippers don't improve significantly).

Of the teams above the Grizzlies in the standings, I can see Houston, Portland, New Orleans, or Utah dropping, and Phoenix is one injured 35-year-old point guard away from the lottery. Even though only 2 losses separate the Grizzlies from the four franchises I mentioned (excluding Phoenix), I can't see 3 of those four franchises tanking enough to make 42-40 qualify for a playoff berth. (In the Western Conference of course.)

What that means is, to make the playoffs, the Grizzlies need to perform better than my predictions for the rest of the season.

If we don't make the playoffs, I blame Iverson.

The good news is that the Grizzlies have performed better than my prediction since December 1. Here's the breakdowns with victories in parentheses. (Opponents' Jan 12 records are used here too.)

Dec 1 - Jan 12 Games by Location and Opponent Record (Wins)

Sub .500
.500 or greater
4 (4)6 (4)
3 (2)6 (3)

You can see the Grizzlies won:
  • 100% of their home games against sub .500 teams
  • 67% of their home games against teams equal or greater than .500
  • 67% of their road games against sub .500 teams
  • 50% of their road games against teams equal or greater than .500
For those of you still reading, this means the Grizzlies need to perform somewhere between my prediction and their Dec -Jan 12 pace to make the playoffs. The most likely scenario is that the Grizzlies finish somewhere around .500 and miss the playoffs. Since the Grizzlies final record will likely qualify for the East's 5th seed at seasons end, the Grizzlies will have been screwed by the NBA's playoff rules in two of the four seasons when it wasn't lottery fodder. Don't think I forgot the 2006 playoffs when the Grizzlies (49 wins) played against the 60 win Mavericks instead of getting home court advantage against a 47 win Clippers team thanks to the NBA's superb Division leader rules.

Instead the 47-win Clippers used their home court advantage to beat the third-seeded Nuggets (44 wins) in 5 games.

Anyways, all of this is just a roundabout way of saying that it's nice to be getting back to being screwed by the NBA's playoff rules instead of the NBA's lottery rules. Go Grizz.


mbaker said...

what would you say the chances are of the grizz finishing in last place in their division? with a record around .500 it's still likely that the grizz could be in last place. given your analysis and the expected results of the other teams, would you say the chance of grizz at the bottom is 80% or higher?

John said...

I can't believe you spent 3 hours on that only to come up with the exact same conclusion I did after three shots of Jameson. Also I read a story yesterday about a guy who bet $2,200 on the halftime over of a Jazz/Maverick's game and won. You and I need to get back to Vegas in a hurry.

David Jones said...

Baker, I think there's a solid chance Houston or NOLA drops in the standings. To make the playoffs, we likely need both to drop. Therefore, I think getting out of the bottom of the SW division is more likely than making the playoffs.

John, name the date, and I'll be there.

Sam said...

If David is handing out tips on first-half NBA betting, count me in. If he's at a blackjack table...that's another story.

David Jones said...

They call me the Tim Donaghy of Timberly Cove.

John said...

I noticed today that in the western conference only 3 teams have a losing record while in the east two of thhree divisions have 4teams with losing records. unbelievable. I'm looking into dates for Vegas.

MC Welk said...

Like the formula. I applied it to the Jazz and came up with 44-38.

Anonymous said...

could you do this same thing and tell me the dallas mavericks chances and predicted record

John said...

No, go to and ask them to do it. This is a grizz blog or do it yourself like MC Welk, sucka.

Sam said...

David - your local team ran out of players last night:

Sam said...

So, is AI technically the Grizzlies' first all-star starter?

stuart said...

You're definitely at least a 5 seed in the Leastern Conference... thats' a lot better than I thought the Griz would be doing at this point. Is there a chance the Griz could be last in their division and still make the playoffs? Has that ever happened?

David Jones said...

Stuy! Definitely hasn't happened. And I think there's no chance. But there is a chance the Grizz could be 4th in their division and make the playoffs.