Actual vs. Pythagorean wins

Discussion in 'Utah Jazz' started by idiot, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    I know I've mentioned this before, but it seems worth bringing up again amid what seems to be a somewhat disappointing year so far:

    Why do you think the difference between our actual wins and Pythagorean wins (expected wins based on point differential combined with schedule) is so stark under Quin Snyder? This year, our Pythagorean record (according to Basketball-reference.com) is 23-17, so we've "left 3 wins on the table," so to speak. Last year we had 5 more Pythagorean wins than actual wins.

    You might figure that this difference between Pythagorean and actual wins is somewhat random and evens out over the years. But over the 4 1/2 years of Quin's coaching, we've had by far-and-away the largest difference between Pythagorean wins and actual wins of any team in the league. Only 4 teams are over 10, in either direction. We're at -19 (actual compared to Pythagorean). We've never had a season under Quin with more actual (or even the same number of) wins than Pythagorean wins.
     
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  2. Handlogten's Heros

    Handlogten's Heros Well-Known Member 2019 Award Winner

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    I think lack of a closer leads to a bigger swing here... IDK it is interesting... it might just be that we used to rarely get blown out because the team wouldn't quit. That has been different this year.
     
  3. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'm not sure how to best explain it. Last year we thought we had a closer in Donovan, yet we finished -5 in the differential. This year we seem to get blown out (which would normally work toward a positive differential), yet we still are on track for a -6 differential for the year.
     
  4. Handlogten's Heros

    Handlogten's Heros Well-Known Member 2019 Award Winner

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    It makes more sense to me this year. We are so up and down with margin of victory so the point differential may not be super useful. I don't think we've been good in close games either in part because of DM's struggles.
     
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  5. Engorged On Unborn Gore

    Engorged On Unborn Gore Well-Known Member

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    I think Quinn's shot is off.
     
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  6. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    The close games thing does make sense this year. Was Detroit our first "close" victory?
     
  7. Saint Cy of JFC

    Saint Cy of JFC Well-Known Member

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    It's more of an indicator for future success, so I wouldn't look at this year's win-loss record as it stands to draw any conclusions.
     
  8. Wes Mantooth

    Wes Mantooth Well-Known Member

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    We’re a team that has little room for error, offensively.
     
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  9. Wes Mantooth

    Wes Mantooth Well-Known Member

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    How the heck were we -5 last year?

    We were not remotely close to perceived as some 55 win team going into the season?
     
  10. framer

    framer Well-Known Member

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    I think the new points of emphasis on defense harmed us. It looks like we are figuring it out or the refs are getting lazier about "emphasizing" the changes.
     
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  11. Handlogten's Heros

    Handlogten's Heros Well-Known Member 2019 Award Winner

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    I looked at our splits between wins and losses and the margin of victory of loss... last year was the same. Maybe we are just a little susceptible to bad/good shooting. We shoot a lot of 3s and are pretty inconsistent (30% in losses and 40% in wins). I think the margin and the number normalize... with the schedule being tough the margin for error is less... ie we can't win unless we shoot straight. With the soft schedule we will have some ugly shooting wins. It is worth watching, but I'm not sure the Pythagorean difference widens.
     
  12. Ron Mexico

    Ron Mexico Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Our point differential last year was +4.3. This year it is +2.3 so far going to get bigger. If you take into account strength of schedule basketball reference has us at 5th best in the West +3.62.
     
  13. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you understand how Pythagorean victories work. It's not based on expectations entering the season. It's a retrospective "expectation" based on point differential (combined with schedule strength). The average result for a team with our point differential + schedule strength would have been 53 wins, rather than the 48 we won.
     
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  14. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    I agree. But I don't see how this applies to Pythagorean vs actual record (if you meant it to).
     
  15. idestroyedthetoilet

    idestroyedthetoilet Well-Known Member

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    You know who had more PW every season than actual wins?

    TYRONE CORBIN
     
  16. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree with this. People like to use it as an indicator of future success (compared to actual record) for good reasons, but that only because of the assumption that the Pythagorean record is a better indicator of true strength than the actual record. It is assumed that the actual record is just random variation from the more true Pythagorean record (in the sense of indicating true team strength), a variation that over time will tend toward zero in the aggregate because of the effects of random variation.

    But when we have 4.5 years of seeming evidence all pointing to the Jazz consistently being worse in actual compared to Pythagorean record, it's worth wondering whether the assumption of randomness doesn't apply for the Jazz under Snyder in the same way it applies to most other teams. It seems there may be something systematic that's leading to the consistently negative differential. The assumption that the differential between Pythagorean and actual wins is random doesn't seem to be holding for the Jazz.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  17. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    Yes. I remember this being true.
     
  18. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    We'll see if the difference widens. I think you're right that our inconsistency of shooting may play a role, though I'm not real clear on exactly how that would directly lead to the pattern of relatively bigger victories vs. relatively closer losses that the our difference between Pythagorean and actual wins would indicate.
     
  19. idiot

    idiot Well-Known Member

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    The Jazz's differential indicates that we have relatively more large victories and close defeats (compared to average). If there's anything more than randomness involved, these are some possible causes (though I'm not sure which are more important than others):

    - poor closing of close games (youth, lack of toughness, poor strategy?)
    - leaving starters in longer than most teams (bigger wins, closer losses)
    - superior offensive system (really destroys teams when the team is "on", just leads to average losses when team is "off")
    - very good job of not "playing down" to opponents
    - very good job of rarely giving up in games
    - especially streaky shooting (though I'm not totally sure why this doesn't work as much toward big losses)

    Maybe there's other possibilities?
     
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  20. Saint Cy of JFC

    Saint Cy of JFC Well-Known Member

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    Probably because the Jazz start seasons slow.
     

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