Just before every NBA season most basketball writers, bloggers and authors try to predict what will happen in the next year which is usually fun stuff to read and discuss. But I’ve always felt there’s a half of the picture missing – accountability for those predictions.
Recently pundittracker.com started to track single-winner picks which is great but I’d like to continue this blog’s “tradition” with comparing wins projected before the season to the actual ones after the season.
So which writer, blogger or author had the most accurate projections before the 2012-13 NBA season?
To answer this question I gathered predictions in early November from most popular sites and other googled sources [btw, it's not a closed list so if you want to add your's predictions let me know in the comments] and compared them to actual results by Root Mean Square Deviation which is essentially average difference between each prediction and result in terms of absolute value.
If you want to play with numbers or check any single entry just download NBA Predictions Accuracy 2012-13.pdf but if you are interested only in the results they are in the table below…
But please keep in mind two important notes:
1) don’t think or assume it’s all about the skills of people involved because randomness plays a part here… and it’s hard for the better example than Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012-13. Literally everybody thought they would be better this season but they were crushed by injuries and in the end the best prediction for this team turned out to be from… last years’ adjusted wins! So if someone predicted 45 wins for them his result was punished by bad luck more than someone who predicted 35 wins for them.
Well, unless someone can predict injuries…
2) in most cases entries next to each other are basically interchangeable in terms of accuracy because difference between them can be translated into “2-3 more/less wins in the right direction would flip them”.
Onto the table…
A couple of notes about the results in the 5th season measured:
- The most undervalued teams were Warriors [by an average of 11.1 wins], Rockets [10.7 - thanks Harden!], Grizzlies [9.1], Nets [6.8], Clippers [6.4], Knicks [6.1] and Heat [6.0]. I guess people underestimated how bad Eastern Conference will be… because teams like Nets, Knicks and Heat on any undervalued list are surprising.
- The most overvalued teams were aforementioned Timberwolves [by an average of 12.5 wins], Sixers [11.3 thanks Bynum!], Lakers [9.2 - again injuries], Celtics [7.3 - FA Class], Suns [7.1], Magic [6.5] and Cavs [5.9].
- I have to congratulate John Hollinger on many levels. Not only he won for the second time [after 2010-11] and beat Vegas AGAIN but his fame reached Memphis Grizzlies so they signed him to a deal. I’m sure his main responsibility there will be predicting wins for another season ;-) Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see it.
- last year’s “scouted gem” and “promising prospect” Joe Schaller from rivals.com proved it was not a contract year and became a “respected veteran” in the group. OK, too many clichés in one sentence but congratulations for him are in order.
- wisdom of the crowd in form of ESPN forecast had 5th strong year in a row… and not only they noticed it but also created a NBA ESPN Forecast. I didn’t see that one coming but that’s an interesting twist for me.
- yes, over/under numbers from Vegas were still good.
- last year’s predictions had a surprisingly short list of competitors and I was a little worried about it but fortunately it was an outlier caused by the lockout. Hopefully more of them will continue to do it in future seasons.
- after last year’s strong showing from members of APBR forum this season was clearly a disappointment.
I guess the moral of this story is “you have to participate to win”…
- I didn’t include predictions from Bill Simmons because on his podcast with Joe House for some teams they both only said “over” or “under” without any specific number.
Have I missed anything?
Anyway, I’ll see your predictions next year!