The Wonder Years, Part 3 - In Numbers

[WV: I pushed this back to top so more people could enjoy its brilliance.]

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The JV defied physics.

These are turbulent times for Spurs fans: we knew we were going to struggle after renewing half the team, and that there would be a learning curve. Unfortunately, the injury bug bit hard, and we're off to a disappointing start that goes beyond our more pessimistic predictions. I thought it was a good time to look back and hopefully achieve some perspective on that team we watch every week.

As much as I've mocked stats in the past, they're one of only a few tools available to younger fans that make it possible to glimpse teams of the past, to get some measure of the game before our game. Granted, you will never be able to enjoy Gervin's finger-rolls or Silas' clutch jumpers by looking at numbers or the simple formulas invented by well-meaning sports journalists - the art is gone, banished to YouTube clips, VHS tapes, and the odd NBA Classic Game feature. My intent is only to understand a bit better where our beloved Spurs fit in the grand scheme of things and how the team evolved through the years.

It's a bit too much, I know, but it doesn't hurt to try. More graphs than you can shake a Rockets GM at, after the jump:

Foreword

First, let me give some people the credit they're due. I first saw these graphs in 2007 over at NBA Fanhouse, and they were the brainchild of Sactown Royalty's Tom Ziller. In his post he used them to compare all the league's teams according to a series of parameters, and I thought it was a pretty nifty idea at the time. Ben Q Rock of Third Quarter Collapse then picked it up during the last offseason and used Ziller's method to analyze every team in Magic history. It was such a wonderful post that I immediately decided to blatantly steal his idea and do the same for the Spurs.

Remember to click on the graphs to see the full-sized versions.

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The Map of Goodness & Badness

The first map was dubbed by Ziller "The Map of Goodness and Badness", and it's pretty intuitive: green is good, red is bad, white is ambiguous. The x-axis shows the teams' offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions); the y-axis has their defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). To add a bit more information, I classified the teams according to their franchise player, and marked in gray the dark age between Gervin and Robinson. (For the purposes of this post, Duncan was the Spurs' franchise player since his rookie year.)

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At first glance, the map seems to work: our championship teams are all in the green square, or close to it; the awful star-challenged 1988-89 team and the tanking 1996-97 Robinson-less squad are by far the worst teams in our history; the 1994-95 team, arguably the best team of the Admiral's flying-solo days is revealed as our best offensive team.

However, I wasn't completely happy with Ben Q Rock's approach. Is it possible to compare teams from different ages so straightforwardly? Keep in mind that there wasn't a three point line in the Spurs' first three NBA seasons, for instance, and that many important rules were changed through the decades. Hand-checking, the length of the 3 point line, etc. etc. It seemed impossible to account for all these variables... and it probably is. So I did something as arbitrary as Fred's Bonner rating.

Basically, I compared every team's offensive and defensive ratings to those of the other teams in the league that year. I scaled their ratings according to their relative efficiency in that years' league, taking into account the number of teams in the league. The formulas used are:

PTR Offensive Ranking = (# of teams - Spurs' offensive rating's position) / # of teams * Offensive rating
PTR Defensive Ranking = (Spurs' defensive rating's position / # of teams) * Defensive rating

Using these being the best defensive team in a league of 22 teams isn't as impressive as managing that same feat competing with 30 teams, and averaging 102,5 points in a 3-point-line-less era should turn up a higher ranking than in today's triple-heavy reality. As I said, it's completely arbitrary, but I'm very happy with the results, so hey. Let's see:

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That's more like it. The Spurs were an offensive juggernaut during Gervin's peak, consistently scoring the most points per game in the league at a fast pace. It were the days of the run-and-gun Spurs, briefly mentioned in part 2 and something we'll focus on in part 4. Our best offensive team all-time is according to this map the 1982-83 squad, featuring the classic lineup of George Gervin, Mike Mitchell, Johnny Moore and Artis Gilmore (in his first year as a Spur). They scored a respectable 114,3 points per game, and gave the Lakers quite a scare in the playoffs before losing 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals.

However, the Map marks the 1978-79 team as Gervin's best. Why's that? Well, that team combined unstoppable offense (3rd in the NBA in efficiency, 1st in points per game with 119,3 and no 3 point line) with the best almost-defense of any Gervin team (7th in the NBA that year). It was the return of the Big Four to full health: George Gervin, Larry Kenon, Billy Paultz, James Silas, the same unit that had shined in the ABA. James Silas in particular was finally at full speed after 3 disappointing seasons of injuries, comebacks and diminished athleticism. They'd go on all the way to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, before losing in a heart-breaking game 7 to the Washington Bullets. The next season Billy Paultz would be traded to the Rockets, Coach Doug Moe would be fired after a disappointing .500 start, and the Spurs would never regain that ABA swagger.

All of the Spurs teams after the Iceman was traded were a complete mess, and fall right into the red square of shame. Our worst team is now clearly the 1996-97 team, when Robinson was injured and the team focused on earning more ping pong balls. Those must have been dark days for the Spurs fans.

What about the rest of the time? Well, we've been good, guy, we've been very good. The Duncan years have been defined as you'd expect by excellency on the defensive end of the floor, with the 2005-06 team being the best of the best by a hair.The real surprise involves the offense, though: our best offensive team was by a considerable margin the 2006-07 championship team. In fact, this map marks is as our best team ever. Looking back at the ease with which the Spurs dispatched all of its playoffs opponents we might just have overlooked how dominant that team really was. Once the mighty Suns were hip-checked into self-destruction, there was no one to stop that perfect blend of stiffing defense and strong offense.

Now, I'm not fond of adding the 2009-10 team to these graphs. The sample size is too small, and we shouldn't draw many conclusions from the first 10 games of a long, long season (a bit over 12% of the season). However, I imagined that someone would ask for it or try to find the information on his or her own afterwards, and wanted to save you the hassle. So there you go: the 2009-10 team is just as good on the offensive end as any other team Popovich coached, but it's regressed to Gervin age-like D. We know that's not going to last, so fret not.

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Before we move onto other maps, I thought it'd be fun to see the evolution of the Spurs' offensive/defensive balance. As I mentioned in Part 2, the ABA Spurs were the epitome of fast-paced all-offense no-defense basketball - the Suns before the Suns, if you will. Gervin himself often expressed his disdain for half-court, defensive-minded teams, claiming it was boring basketball that fans didn't want to see. The Admiral's arrival represented a 180º turn in philosophy for the San Antonio franchise, which would quickly turn into the best defensive team in the league. I find it interesting how the defense suffered every time the Spurs' offense improved, and vice versa, illustrating the difficulty of building a truly balanced team.

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The Map of GOMLness & 7SoLness

Ziller called this graph "The Map of Awesome Speed & Apocalyptic Boredom", which is probably a better title but not as entrenched in the Spurs' lore. This is a graph that tries to gauge how "watchable" a team is. Let's face it: regardless of how much we've learnt to appreciate our plodding selves and recognize them as the marks of winning teams, watching fast high-flying teams is a treat to the eyes and the soul. Once again, the x-axis shows the offensive efficiency, but now the y-axis measures the team's pace factor. In case you don't know, pace factor is an estimate of the number of possessions per 48 minutes by a team.

Like before I decided to adjust pace to account for its position relative to the other teams - we'll be checking the unadjusted pace later on.

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Shock! We haven't been entertaining for a while, it seems - but we haven't been boring either, except for a few infamous exceptions. We are mostly in that gray slow-pace-but-efficient-offense area championship teams are born in, and that's fine.

The real fun, though, must have been watching Gervin's fast-footed daredevils run up and down the court, scoring and giving away points like it was 1962. The Spurs had the faster pace in the league in 1976-77, 1978-79 and 1979-80, and weren't too far from the top of the rankings in subsequent years. Our faster year was 1976-77, also our first in the NBA after the ABA dissolved. That year the newcomers were also first in points per game: Gervin and Kenon both averaged over 20 points per game, and four more players had over 10 points per game. (Incredibly, none of them was Silas - Mr. 4th Quarter was away two thirds of the season, battling injuries.) It was both an ideological statement from Coach Doug Moe and his star, the Iceman, and a strategy by the front office that looked to gain a stronger hold on the San Antonian community.

Where are we today? Well, believe it or not, the 2009-10 team's pace and offense are virtually equivalent to those of the 2006-07 championship team. A coincidence, I know, but I prefer to think of it as a sign of things to come.

Once again, I think it's eye-opening to see the evolution of the Spurs' pace as time passed.

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The red line represents our raw pace, and the dashed line my apocryphal adjusted pace that considers the average pace in the league. The first thing that caught my attention was the steady decline in pace ever since the 1988-89 season, interrupted only by the 1994-97 bleep when the 3-point line went was shortened and the Spurs went completely haywire. It's not a coincidence that Larry Brown took over as coach that year. In fact, reading and googling about the Spurs of old I came across this book chapter, written in 1989 by Dean Oliver, at the time a 19-year-old aspiring journalist:

"The Spurs must think that the NBA is completely dominated by offense because they sure don't play any defense. San Antonio gave up the most points per game last year, 118.5, or over 10 ppg more than the league average. The Spurs also allowed the highest shooting percentage in the league, 50.2%. Their defensive rebounding percentage was easily the lowest in the NBA, .644. Their overall defensive efficiency rating of 110.8 points per 100 possessions was the worst the league has seen since Golden State had a defensive rating of 111.2 in '84-85 and that team was absolutely miserable, blocking 172 fewer shots than Mark Eaton did that year and allowing a 53.6% field goal percentage. San Antonio may have had Alvin Robertson stealing the ball 200+ times from opposing guards, but once it got past him, the Spurs could only pray that their opponents would do something stupid.

[...]

Things should change in '88-89. The arrival of Larry Brown should mean an overhaul in the defense as Brown has a good sense for problem solving."

I recommend his book, Ball Hoopla, available here. It gives great insight into the teams of the golden age of the league, and in fact it's downright prophetic in some ways. For instance, the defense really improved just as the pace plummeted (check the previous graph), and only their inability to put the ball through the hoop kept them from becoming a good team.

The most observant among you might have noticed the 1993-94 Robinson-led team at the bottom of the map, all alone, with only the slowest of Duncan's teams to keep it company. Adjusted pace tells us that it was the slowest Spurs team of all time - it was the only time a Spurs team was at the very bottom of the pace rankings. No one was slower than the Spurs that year, and I can only attribute it to their coach that year: one John Lucas, who had joined the team after Jerry Tarkanian was fired 20 games into the previous season. John Lucas had actually played for the Spurs before retiring, and was along with Johnny More our assists leader in the 1983-84 season, ironically one of our faster teams. John Lucas' team also enjoyed the best offense of the Robinson years, but it wasn't enough for him to keep the job. The next year Bob Hill would come to town, and would coach the Spurs to two very respectable seasons until Popovich gave him the boot in 1996.

Something I want to look at more closely in the future is how the team adapted to their metamorphosis from Lucas' more methodical approach to Hill's faster pace and actually improved their defense significantly. But maybe in the next post.

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The Map of Riflemen & Roughnecks

This map tries to describe the offensive strategy most often employed by any given team: it tries to separate perimeter-oriented teams that rely heavily on their three-point shooting from those who camp at the paint. The x-axis shows the team's tendency to draw fouls, divided by pace to free the results from the number of possessions used by each team. The y-axis depicts their tendency to shoot three-pointers, using the formula: 3PA / FGA).

In this case I didn't have the time to compile the stats of each team's contemporaries regarding three-pointers and fouls, so it was impossible to use the method I employed for the last two maps. I don't think it would have worked, anyway: the bottom line is that the three pointer is a concept that wasn't immediately accepted by the league, and coaches only realized its true importance decades after it was constituted. Let's see the map:

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Just in case you don't know or don't remember, the NBA officially adopted the three-point line in the 1979-80 season. Along with the world-shaking dunks, three-pointers had been the trademark of the ABA during the 70s, but it took the NBA a few years to wise up.

If you look closely you'll notice that the Gervin teams barely shot three-pointers - I imagine it was both a matter of range (there weren't many three-point specialists) and philosophy. The only above-average three-point shooting teams BD (Before Duncan) were the 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97 crews, but there's a perfectly logical explanation for that. It was during those seasons that Stern decided to address the scoring woes the league was suffering by shortening the distance of the line to 22 feet (as opposed to the classic 23 feet, 9 inches, with 22 feet at the corners). Many of today's 3-point shooting records were set in those years: most three-pointers in a season, with 267 in 1995-96 for Orlando's Dennis Scott; highest three-point field-goal percentage, with .428 for Charlotte in 1996-97, most consecutive three-point field goals with no misses, with 13 for both Washington's Brent Price and Detroit's Terry Mills, in 1996, etc.

It must have been too much fun for Stern's heart, because the NBA reverted the line to its original distance in the 1997-98 season. FIBA still uses the uniform-radius arc to this day.

Another thing I noticed while looking at this map is how the team turned more and more dependent on their three point shooting from the winning 2006-07 season onwards - in 2008-09 they drew fewer fouls than in any other season in the Spurs' history, believe it or not. We all saw their reluctance to draw contact with our own eyes, but I still found it shocking that there was such a huge difference. Fortunately the arrival of RJ, Manu's recovery (albeit interrupted) and the willingness of Hill to finish strong at the basket seems to have turned it around, because the 2009-10 is being fouled at a rate we didn't enjoy since the 2004-05 season.

That's not to say we're not shooting triples any more: actually, we're shooting them more than ever, as you'll see in the next graph:

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This illustrates what I explained above: our romance with the three-pointer was slow to heat up, but increased with every season and is reaching a point where we should settle down and start thinking of having a family, maybe a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence and a nice garage with a hoop above the door. I'd like to know whether the entire league shared our learning curve, or if some pioneer showed the rest the way during the 80s.

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The Map of Bowenator & Nashties

Ziller's original name for this one was "The Map of Thugs & Hummingbirds". Well, I decided to use the steorotypes we've grown to mock: Bowen as the ruthless time-traveling death machine and Nash as the harmless space alien permanently wronged by referees in his quest for intergalactic peace. ...Or something like that.

In this case we're investigating pace (on the x-axis) against fouls given (on the y-axis). Before you see this map, I promise I hadn't seen it before I described Gervin's early teams as Nash's historical wet dreams. Check it out:

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I'm once again surprised at how linear the Spurs evolution has been. It's as if the team had aged as a person would, renouncing the wild ways of its youth for a more conservative approach as a grown, mustache-wielding Southern gentleman. Here's what Ziller had to say about the Spurs in 2007:

"Wait, San Antonio doesn't foul? Nope -- lowest foul-rate in the league. This, coupled with its non-evil placement in the above cartography, redeems Gregg Popovich's system. They may work slow, the Spurs, but their offense is efficient and they don't foul a lot. In other words, it could be worse. A lot worse."

That was then, and this is now. Check the right-left corner, above the Bowenator himself. That's our current team, fouling more than ever before and taking names. Part of it can probably be attributed to the inexperience of the newcomers with the Spurs system and the NBA in general: Blair trying to draw charges within the restrictive circle; RJ failing to rotate in time; Ratliff leaving his feet for a block that won't come. But is that all?

Whatever else you may take from this post, keep this in mind: so far, the 2009-10 team is fundamentally different from other, recent Spurs teams. As I said at the beginning, we shouldn't read too much into these numbers with so many games left in the regular season. Still, it's something to keep an eye on.

Moving on.

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The Map of Blair Zone & Tonyville

This map was thought out by yours truly, and thus the quality decreased considerably. Still, it shows how easily they can be made and how strong a visual analysis tool it is. Rebounds are a frequent discussion topic among PTRs and basketball fans in general: what's more important: running back to your half of the court quickly after a missed shot, to strengthen your transition defense and avoid easy points for your opponent, or battle for the offensive board? Every coach has a different answer, and that's what this map wants to illustrate. On the x-axis you have offensive rebounding efficiency (ORB / (FGA - FG)), and on the y-axis defensive rebounding efficiency. Take a look:

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Our best offensive rebounding team was the 1980-81 squad. It didn't feature a rebounding genius like the Twin Towers, a talented big that cleaned the boards. Instead, it benefited from a battalion of respectable rebounders such as Dave Corzine (7.8 rpg), George Johnson (7.3 rpg), Paul Griffin (6.2 rpg) and Mark Olberding (5.7 rpg), and even the Iceman chipped in with 5.1 rpg. Together they averaged 15.9 offensive rebounds per game, which is rather impressive and impossible match with the current personnel and pace (remember that the map accounts for pace).

It's remarkable how difficult it is to be an efficient rebounding team on both ends of the court - it seems to be a pick-your-poison affair, at least in San Antonio. Our best rebounding teams all-time were the 1993-94 and 1994-95 ones, and you won't be surprised to find out one Dennis Rodman, rebounding genius extraordinaire, was part of that team. The Worm had his third and fourth best statistical seasons in San Antonio, grabbing 17.3 and 16.8 rebounds per game respectively, good for best in the NBA by a large margin. That old "rebounding win championships" motto wouldn't hold, though, when The Dreamshake came to town.

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Looking at the graph above you can see how abysmal our effort on the offensive glass has been in the last four seasons. The 2009-10 team looks poised to make a comeback in this area thanks to the likes of McDyess and Blair himself, but that improvement has been accompanied by a new-found inability to box out. As I said, balancing the rebounding efficiency isn't easy.

Oh, and for the record, I chose Tony because he's been the worst rebounder in a Spurs jersey ever since he was a rookie. I didn't mean to pick on him, after all, he has a good excuse: he's smurf-sized.

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(Thanks xkcd for giving us so much)

Even more graphs

I'm sure that by this point in the post you're tired of looking at thin color lines arching up and down, but that's the nature of the beast. Abandoning the map format, I decided to use the information I had gathered to answer some of the questions Spurs fans deal all the time. Let's see.

Cheering wins games

The following graph shows two curves: the red one represents the total attendance at the end of the regular season, and the blue one represents the team's overall quality. To quantify the latter I utilized the Simple Rating System, which is explained like this: "Every team's rating is their average point margin, adjusted up or down depending on the strength of their opponents. Thus an average team would have a rating of zero." We know that Hollinger is a big fan of point differential, and we'll see later that he's got a reason for it. If you want to read more about the SRS, check this page.

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I'm sure most of you have read somewhere that Robinson save the Spurs franchise. Well, it's painfully evident in this graph just how importance he was both in terms of the quality of the teams and the attendance rates. From the year he was drafted the number of fans filling the Hemisfair Arena increased every year, and San Antonio went from being the least popular team in the NBA in 1987-88 to being the second most popular once San Antonio moved to the Alamodome.

There would be some ups and downs through the years, particularly in that horrible 1996-97 season. (Who wants to see a team determined to lose by all means available?) But as Duncan joined San Antonio and the Spurs won their first championship, the attendance numbers soared once more, and the Spurs held the league's top spot during their last two seasons in the Alamodome, with a record 906,390 fans in 2002. The 'Dome was a 65,000-seat stadium, and during the regular season, most of the upper level was curtained off. During the Finals in 1999 attendance was 39,514 for Game 1 and 39,554 for Game 2, both records for the Spurs.

The decision to move, inspired by the front office's disenchantment with the humongous arena, meant a significant drop-off in attendance. The SBC Center had a capacity of only 18,797 for basketball, and the Spurs returned to their middle-the-pack status. In recent years attendance has declined, and we know Holt mentioned this as one of the reasons the FO went all-in this year, salary-wise.

However, if my calculations are correct, the projected attendance for this season would be even lower than last season's, which makes me wonder about the loyalty of some of the local fans. Oh well.

Passing hurts

Passing, the last frontier. This is something I'll focus more on a future post, but I wanted to know how the team does in the assists department. We always complain about Tony's ball-hogging ways, but considering Spurs never had an all-time point guard I couldn't help but wonder whether his effect would be noticeable in a historical context. Let's see:

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First of all, as I said before, the point guard position was always a weak spot for the Spurs before Parker came along. I marked in color dotted boxes the assist leaders for the different seasons and ages.

Mike Gale was a serviceable point guard, but in 1976-77, his best season, he only averaged 5.8 assists per game, playing at a fast pace with excellent shooters. Perhaps our best pure point guard was none other than Johnny "00" Moore, one of only three players in Spurs history to record 20 assists in a game. His 9.6 assists in the 1981-82 season were good for best in the league, and he topped that in 1984-85 with 10.0 apg. Impressive.

Rod Strickland was our best point man in seasons that shall remain unmarked, and even Vinny Del Negro (Vinny Del Negro!) manned the point guard position in the 1993-94, when the Spurs FO gave Avery a one-year break for good behavior. Avery and Tony are both well known to all of you, so we can now look at the big picture.

Even though we're graphing team stats instead of individual stats, I believe the point guard handles the ball enough for his actions to affect the whole team's performance. We've seen it enough times with Tony, where the Spurs pass the ball better the more he distributes it himself. Johnny Moore and Avery Johnson both seem to have inspired very generous teams, in particular compared to Tony. This is not a slight on the Frenchman, however - we all know he's always been more of a scoring point guard, and carries the load of this team to a degree Avery never did, and against competition Johnny Moore rarely encountered in the post-season. It's impressive how the total number of turnovers has lowered as Tony developed, too, and our assists / turnover ration was at its highest point last season, despite our injury woes.

The trend this year is negative, but that's to be expected. Chemistry should develop in time... or at least, that's what we wall hope for.

Flex those quads

Once again I decided to mess with capricious parameters. Here we are showing the evolution of our FT% and what I call FTA RK: instead of graphing free throws attempted, I'm simply calculating the FTA / FGA relation, to account for the differences in pace. I could've used the pace factor, or the raw FTA number - trust me, the conclusions don't change.

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There's not much new information here, but at least now you can tell people that once upon a time the Spurs weren't a disastrous FT-shooting team. We even had a .804 season in 1977-78, which compared to the depths we hit in 2003-04 is more or less Nirvana for us.

We can also see once again how the number of free throws we've shot in the last few seasons has been lower and lower every year, as our stars got older and stopped attacking the basket as often. That's yet another trend the 2009-10 team is fortunately shattering.

I also had fun locating Chip Engelland's hiring in the timeline. Chip, for the newbies reading this, is the Spurs' shooting wizard, and coaches most of the players to clean their form and hopefully raise their percentages. (He's also Wayne's buddy, but you have to ask him about it.) In a lovely statistical twist, the curve for once showed exactly what I was expecting to see: a short valley as Chip reworked the players' shots and they got used to their new strokes, a rapid increase in efficiency as they fixed their most obvious problems, and then a gentler slope as they started a more delicate tinkering.

Looking at this year's percentages, it seems that Chip will have his hands full with Blair and RJ.

Winning and nothing but

First, my utter failures. I couldn't find any correlation whatsoever between rebounding efficiency and winning percentage. In the following pair of graphs, you can see on your left the comparison between offensive rebounds differential and regular season record, and on your right, the comparison between defensive rebounding efficiency and regular season record. There's not much to see, although defensive rebounds do seem to have some sort of slight influence over a team's record. At least it helps to demythologize the importance of offensive rebounds.

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Every stats whiz considers point differential a very important factor to a team's winning percentage. In fact, as you can see below on the graph on your left, it represents the basis for the SRS parameter, one that I've found to be very accurate to rank teams. On your right I compared point differential and raw winning record, and while the results aren't as neat in this case, the error is still reasonable.

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I propose the following formula to estimate a Spurs team's regular season record:

RS.record = 29,515 * Point differential - 14,737

Of course, that won't be helpful until at least midway through the season, and even then it's debatable. But hey, I never claimed it was a useful formula, did I?

This points differential correlation doesn't work as well in the playoffs, but that was to be expected considering the small number of games played, and the discrete nature of the series format. The influence is evident, and obvious (if you score more points than your opponent, you win!), but it's yet another failure.

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However, this made me try to think of a way to compare playoffs team that went beyond their postseason record. A team that made it into the second round should be better ranked that one that lost its first series, regardless of their records, right? Let's consider the playoffs results from every team since the Spurs entered the NBA:

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In a most inelegant solution, I simply added one point to their record for every series they won. The teams are now ranked first for the number of series won, and second for their playoffs record. It's not the be-all end-all of ranking, but I think it's a good start point for a discussion on our best and worst playoffs teams.

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Anyway, that's it. I have no more graphs for you. Be merry and multiply, for tomorrow someone will posterize you.

Coda

Much can be done by analyzing the stats of the Spurs through the years; I believe we have barely scratched the surface. I'm sure cleverer people than me can look at those numbers and form theories that are beyond me. I've uploaded the Excel file I used here, so that everyone who feels like trying their hand at it can have a head-start. Feel free to download it and modify it at will.

The more I read about the Spurs' rich history, the more I find myself both glad and sad: glad, because I got to watch this at its absolute historical peak, every year (even this year, you'll see) with a good chance of winning the championship; sad, because it must've been truly rewarding for old fans to see their team steadily rise as it did. Regardless, what's unequivocal is that our Wonder Years are right now, people. Enjoy them.

Anyway, I plan to do a similar post in the future but looking at individual Spurs players instead of the teams themselves - for the moment, though, I'm going to stick to hack previews and recaps.

Stats are tough.

Sources

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