Okay so I know that there’s already a 2014-15 Schedule Thread but I decided I’d go way deeper into it and see which teams will have the easiest and hardest schedules, strictly by using math (math major here, couldn’t help myself).
Aside: Mods please don’t mesh, this thread is a completely different conversation than the Schedule thread.
All Western Conference teams will be ignored because we’re in the Eastern Conference and it’s too much work to do every team.
So first off, I’m going to class all the teams into four groups: TOP (the elite teams; title contendors), MID (the next level of teams that are almost a lock for the playoffs), LOW (the teams that will struggle to make the playoffs but will be in the conversation) and BOTTOM (the teams with no chance of seeing the playoffs; the “tankers” if you will).
Cleveland - Because LeBron
Chicago - They finished 4th last year and replaced Boozer with Pau, Mirotic, Mcbuckets and a seemingly healthy Rose
Toronto - no shocker here
Washington - again, no shocker here
Miami - Bosh, Deng, Wade and McBob should keep them competitive
Charlotte - Lance and Vonleh should boost them up to this level
Atlanta - they were 3rd all year last year before Horford went down, they’ll be right back there with him
Brooklyn - lost a step obviously but should stay competitive with Lopez back
New York - will battle for the 8th seed with their new offense
Detroit - deeper team than most people realize, they should be in the running for the playoffs
Indiana - as long as they don’t blow it up they should be at the same level as the other LOW teams
Boston - obvious
Philadelphia - obvious
Milwaukee - obvious
Orlando - obvious
Okay so if we allocate points to each group, we’ll be able to judge how hard a game will be. I experimented with a couple different set of numbers here but I settled with this set because I thought it was easiest to work with and the most accurate.
TOP - 8 Points
MID - 6 Points
LOW - 4 Points
BOTTOM - 2 Points
So how it’ll work is if you play a top team, your point total goes up. The more points, the harder the schedule. There’s a little more factors into this because of course nothing’s ever this simple. So obviously every team plays every team in their division 4 times each, so there will be automatic points given to each team no matter how the schedule is set up. This number will be called Division Points. Western Conference games aren’t in question because every team plays each Western Conference team twice. So that clears up 46 total games. The other 36 games is where it gets interesting. How it works is that each team plays 6 out of division teams 4 times and plays the other 4 teams only 3 times. 6x4 and 4x3 gives us a total of 36. MAX Points is the maximum amount of points a team can get (plays the best teams more often). This does not include points earned in the division. Likewise, MIN Points is the least amount of points a team can get (plays the bad teams more often) and again it does not include points earned in the division. Median Total Points is the average of these two numbers, or the number of points teams should have (assuming they play bad teams just as often as they play good teams). Total Plus/Minus gives us the amount of points a team has more or less the the Median Total Points.
Now there’s a basis to our numbers, but there’s even more factors going into this.
For every back-to-back, 1 point is added to teams totals. If the back-to-back is a home-road, road-home or a road-road back-to-back (pretty much of the team has to travel between games), then 1 additional point was given. For every 3 game road-trip, 1 point was added to the total. For every 5 game road-trip 1 additional point was given (so a 5 game road-trip gets you 2 points). For every 3 game homestand, a point was subtracted. Likewise, a 5 game homestand gets you an additional point reduced.
So halfway through this I realized this method punishes worse teams and rewards better teams so the only way it actually works is if we compare teams in the same tier, so I will obviously do the MID level.
Toronto Atlanta Charlotte Miami Washington Division Points 48 80 80 80 80 MAX Points 196 166 166 166 166 MIN Points 148 150 150 150 150 Median Total Points 172 158 158 158 158 Out Of Division Points 186 158 160 154 162 Total Plus/Minus Plus 14 Even Plus 2 Minus 4 Plus 4 Total Points 234 238 240 234 242 Back To Backs 19 21 22 17 18 H/R or R/R BTB's 19 19 22 17 18 3 Game Roadtrips 6 5 4 5 4 5 Game Roadtrips 1 1 0 2 1 3 Game Homestands 4 2 6 5 5 5 Game Homestands 3 1 0 1 1 4 Games In 5 Nights 3 3 2 1 4 Net Misc Points 41 46 44 36 39 Final Point Total 275 284 284 270 281
Some things that this shows us:
1. Miami plays the easiest competition (they’re the only team that actually had easier competition than the median), with the fewest back-to-backs, the fewest back-to-backs where they have to travel between games, and the fewest instances of 4 games in 5 nights. Put that all together and it’s easy to see that Miami has the easiest schedule of all the East Mid-tier teams.
2. The level of competition played against by Toronto and Miami is the same, even though our division is a lot weaker which leads us to…
3. The NBA is clearly trying to even out the playing field and not let any teams have advantages and disadvantages just because of the division they play in. This is very evident because Toronto is nowhere near their Median Points. The NBA-schedulers are making sure we play against good competition because had we actually played our median, our Total Points would have been 220, nowhere near any other teams and actually a full 22 points clear of Washington. The way it’s set up has everyone within 8 points. Of course we still have the advantage of a top-four spot if we win our division so there’s that.
4. With the 4 teams in the Southeast division so close as far as how good the teams are, don’t be surprised if Miami wins that division thanks to a huge advantage through the schedule.
5. Charlotte never plays 5 straight games neither at home or on the road while every other team has at least one 5 game homestand AND one 5 game road trip. Weird.
6. We had four three game homestands and of the four, three actually stretch to five games. Again, weird.
7. Atlanta is the only team of the five to actually have a back-to-back exclusively at home. I thought that happened a lot more often for some reason.
Thanks for the read if you got this far.
TL;DR: OMFG THE NBA KEEPS SCREWING THE RAPTORS OVER AND THE HEAT HAVE SUCH AN EASY SCHEDULE F*%K YOU ADAM SILVER I SMELL YOUR CONSPIRACY FROM ALL THE WAY UP NORTH