FanPost

Why yes, I am a crackpot, thanks for asking


So I was watching my beloved World Champion San Francisco Giants play on Sunday night, very much buoyed by the welcome change-of-pace that saw our Spurs win a game for once earlier that afternoon while also enjoying the refractory period after the Lakers surprising loss to Denver, I decided to tool around with ESPN.com's "AccuScore Playoff Predictor," because let's face it, Game 4 of the baseball season is too soon to pay rapt attention to every strike and ball-scratch.

I ran a 100 simulations based on the current standings and recorded the results, as you can see after the jump.

Explanation:

Try: Obviously, the number of the simulation.

Elimination: Which round and which team knocks the Spurs out, with "WQF" standing for Western Quarter-Finals (rd. 1), "WSF" standing for Western Semi-Finals (rd. 2), "WCF" standing for... well you get the gist. The percentage next to each elimination is the percentage the Spurs are favored to win a given series according to the stats fed into this simulation by people who aren't me. You will notice they're underdogs only to the Lakers (45%), even-money against Miami (50%), and favorites to various degrees against everyone else.

Path: The Spurs' path in that playoff simulation before their run ends. You will notice every path begins with the Hornets because they are the current 8th seed and the Spurs are first.

West W: The Western Conference Champion, with the number next to it representing how many times the team in question had made the Finals so far in this experiment.

East W: Ditto, the East.

Result: The champion that simulation, along with how many times thus far they'd won the whole enchilada.

 

 

Try         Elimination                   Path                               West W                  East W                 Result

1.       WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               OKC 1                    Bos 1                     Bos 1    

2.       WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 1                        Orl 1                       Orl 1

3.       WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-OKC-Dal                       Dal 1                      Orl 2                       Dal 1

4.       WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 2                        Chi 1                      Chi 1

5.       Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-OKC-LA-Mia                    SA 1                       Mia 1                     Mia 1

6.       WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                         NO 1                      Mia 2                     Mia 2

7.       Finals to Bos (52%)        NO-OKC-LA-Bos                SA 2                       Bos 2                     Bos 2

8.       WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 3                        Chi 2                      Chi 2

9.       WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-Den-Dal                         Dal 2                      Mia 3                     Mia 3

10.   WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-OKC-Dal                          Dal 3                      Orl 3                       Dal 2

11.   Finals to Bos (52%)        NO-Den-LA-Bos                    SA 3                       Bos 3                     Bos 3

12.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                  Dal 4                      Mia 4                     Mia 4

13.   Finals to Chi (51%)         NO-OKC-Dal-Chi                    SA 4                       Chi 3                      Chi 3

14.   Finals to Orl (62%)          NO-OKC-LA-Orl                    SA 5                       Orl 4                       Orl 2

15.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                 LA 4                        Bos 4                     LA 1

16.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                  Mem 1                  Chi 4                      Chi 4

17.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                         LA 5                        Chi 5                      LA 2

18.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                          LA 6                        Bos 5                     LA 3

19.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                          Dal 5                      Chi 6                      Chi 5

20.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                 Den 1                    Orl 5                       Den 1

21.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                          LA 7                        Mia 5                     LA 4

22.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                  Den 2                    Chi 7                      Den 2

23.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                OKC 2                    Mia 6                     Mia 5

24.   Finals to Orl (62%)          NO-Den-LA-Orl                     SA 6                       Orl 6                       Orl 3

25.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                Dal 6                      Ind 1                      Dal 3

26.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                         LA 8                        Phi 1                      LA 5

27.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                Den 3                    Orl 7                       Orl 4

28.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                 LA 9                        Mia 7                     LA 6

29.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                         OKC 3                    Mia 8                     OKC 1

30.   WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-Den-Dal                         Dal 7                      Orl 8                       Dal 4

31.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 10                     Mia 9                     LA 7

32.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               OKC 4                    Orl 9                       OKC 2

33.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 11                     Chi 8                      LA 8

34.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 12                     Chi 9                      Chi 6

35.   Beat Chi (51%)                NO-Den-Por-Chi              SA 7                       Chi 10                    SA 1

36.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                         NO 2                      Chi 11                    Chi 7

37.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 13                     Mia 10                   LA 9

38.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-Den-Por-Mia                    SA 8                       Mia 11                   Mia 6

39.   Finals to Chi (51%)         NO-OKC-Dal-Chi                   SA 9                       Chi 12                    Chi 8

40.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 14                     Orl 10                    Orl 5

41.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-OKC-LA-Mia                    SA 10                     Mia 12                   Mia 7

42.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               OKC 5                    Bos 6                     Bos 4

43.   Finals to Bos (52%)        NO-Den-LA-Bos                    SA 11                     Bos 7                     Bos 5

44.   Finals to Orl (62%)          NO-OKC-Mem-Orl                 SA 12                     Orl 11                    Orl 6

45.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-Den-LA-Mia                     SA 13                     Mia 13                   Mia 8

46.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 15                     Mia 14                   Mia 9

47.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 16                     Bos 8                     Bos 6

48.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 17                     Bos 9                     Bos 7

49.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 18                     Orl 12                    Orl 7

50.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 19                     Bos 10                   LA 10

51.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                        LA 20                     Mia 15                   Mia 10

52.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 21                     Orl 13                    Orl 8

53.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 22                     Mia 16                   LA 11

54.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 23                     Mia 17                   Mia 11

55.   WFC to Dal (57%)           NO-OKC-Dal                          Dal 8                      Chi 13                    Dal 5

56.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               LA 24                     Orl 14                    LA 12

57.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               OKC 6                    Chi 14                    Chi 9

58.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                               LA 25                     Orl 15                    LA 13

59.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-Den-Dal-Mia                     SA 14                     Mia 18                   Mia 12

60.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                          LA 26                     Bos 11                   Bos 8

61.   Beat Bos (50%)                NO-OKC-Dal-Bos              SA 15                     Bos 12                   SA 2

62.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                 Dal 9                      Orl 16                    Dal 6

63.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                 LA 27                     Chi 15                    LA 14

64.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                           LA 28                     Chi 16                    Chi 10

65.   Finals to Bos (52%)        NO-OKC-Mem-Bos                 SA 16                     Bos 13                   Bos 9

66.   Finals to Chi (51%)         NO-OKC-Mem-Chi                   SA 17                     Chi 17                    Chi 11

67.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-OKC-LA-Mia                      SA 18                     Mia 19                   Mia 13

68.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                         LA 29                     Chi 18                    Chi 12

69.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                  Den 4                    Bos 14                   Bos 10

70.   Beat Orl (62%)                 NO-Den-Por-Orl                 SA 19                     Orl 17                    SA 3

71.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                OKC 7                    Chi 19                    Chi 13

72.   Finals to Chi (51%)         NO-OKC-LA-Chi                      SA 20                     Chi 20                    Chi 14

73.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                  OKC 8                    Mia 20                   OKC 3

74.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                   LA 30                     Orl 18                    LA 15

75.   Finals to Mia (50%)        NO-Den-Por-Mia                        SA 21                     Mia 21                   Mia 14

76.   WCF to Por (82%)           NO-Den-Por                             Por 1                      Chi 21                    Chi 15

77.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                           LA 31                     Chi 22                    LA 16

78.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                    Mem 2                  Orl 19                    Orl 9

79.   WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-OKC-Dal                            Dal 10                    Chi 23                    Chi 16

80.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-OKC-LA                           LA 32                     Mia 22                   Mia 15

81.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                 OKC 9                    Chi 24                    Chi 17

82.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                  LA 33                     Orl 20                    LA 17

83.   Beat Chi (51%)             NO-Den-Mem-Chi                SA 22                     Chi 25                    SA 4

84.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                            LA 34                     Chi 26                    Chi 18

85.   Beat Bos (52%)                NO-OKC-Dal-Bos              SA 23                     Bos 15                   SA 5

86.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                 LA 35                     Mia 23                   Mia 16

87.   WSF to Den (72%)          NO-Den                                  Mem 3                  Orl 21                    Mem 1

88.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                           Dal 11                    Chi 27                    Dal 7

89.   WCF to Dal (57%)           NO-Den-Dal                           Dal 12                    Chi 28                    Chi 19

90.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                           LA 36                     Chi 29                    LA 18

91.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                                Dal 13                    Orl 22                    Dal 8

92.   WSF to OKC (58%)         NO-OKC                               Dal 14                    Orl 23                    Orl 10

93.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 37                     Orl 24                    LA 19

94.   WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                         LA 38                     Orl 25                    LA 20

95.   Beat Chi (51%)        NO-Den-Dal-Chi                       SA 24                     Chi 30                    SA 6

96.   WCF to LA (45%)             NO-Den-LA                         LA 39                     Mia 24                   Mia 17

97.   WCF to Por (82%)           NO-OKC-Por                        Por 2                      Chi 31                    Chi 20

98.   Beat Chi (51%)              NO-Den-LA-Chi               SA 25                     Chi 32                    SA 7

99.   Beat Chi (51%)             NO-Den-Dal-Chi               SA 26                     Chi 33                    SA 8

100. WQF to NO (88%)          NO                                   LA 40                     Mia 25                   Mia 18

Results:

Western Champions: LA 40, SA 26, Dal 14, OKC 9, Den 4, Mem 3, Por 2, NO 2

Eastern Champions: Chi 33, Mia 25, Orl 25, Bos 15, Phi 1, Ind 1

Champions: Chi 20, LA 20, Mia 18, Bos 10, Orl 10, SA 8, Dal 8, OKC 3, Den 2, Mem 1

Finals Record:

Mia 18-7 (76%)

Bos 10-5 (67%)

Chi 20-13 (61%)

Dal 8-6 (57%)

LA 20-20 (50%)

Den 2-2 (50%)

Orl 10-15 (40%)

OKC 3-6 (33%)

Mem 1-2 (33%)

SA 8-18 (31%)

NO 0-2 (0%)

Por 0-2 (0%)

Ind 0-1 (0%)

Phi 0-1 (0%)

Matchups:

Vs. New Orleans Hornets:            Expected percentage: 88%          Actual: 89% (89 out of 100)

Vs. Oklahoma City:                          Expected percentage: 58%          Actual: 52% (27 out of 52)

Vs. Denver:                                        Expected percentage: 72%          Actual: 76% (28 out of 37)

Vs. Los Angeles:                               Expected percentage: 45%          Actual: 35% (11 out of 31)

Vs. Dallas:                                          Expected percentage: 57%          Actual: 50% (7 out of 14)

Vs. Portland:                                      Expected percentage: 82%          Actual: 67% (4 out of 6)

Vs. Memphis:                                    Expected percentage: 83%          Actual: 100% (4 out of 4)

Vs. Chicago                                         Expected percentage: 51%          Actual: 56% (5 out of 9)

Vs. Miami:                                           Expected percentage: 50%          Actual: 0% (0 out of 7)

Vs. Boston:                                         Expected percentage: 52%          Actual: 33% (2 out of 6)

Vs. Orlando:                                       Expected percentage: 62%          Actual: 25% (1 out of 4)

 

So what's there to glean from these results, aside from the fact that this has been, by far, the biggest waste of time of my pathologically wasteful 33 years and change on this muddy rock? Well, I'm certainly no mathematician, but even allowing for statistical variance and random anomalies, some of the results struck me as curious at best and suspicious at worst.

In just about every case where the Spurs squared off against one of ESPN's "sexy" teams, our guys fared worse than their projection, often by a dramatically lopsided rate. In the case of the Western opponents, the difference isn't as extreme, 52% against the Thunder vs. their 58% projection, 50% against Dallas vs. their 57% projection and worst of all, 35% against LA vs. their 45% projection. Again, I'm not necessarily saying the percentages assigned to the Spurs are on the money. But they're AccuScore's percentages, not mine, so you would think after a 100 simulations that the findings would be somewhat more faithful to them, no? If the percentage they assigned the LA-SA match-up was say, 37% going into it, then who would quibble with 35%?

In the Finals match-ups though, it gets kinda nuts. The Bulls one is in range, as the Spurs rallied from a 1-4 start by winning their last four meetings to finish 5-4, so 55% as opposed to the 51% projection. If it was 4-5 again there'd be no issue. Similarly with Orlando while we're 62%, there was such a small sample size, only four meetings, that a 1-3 record doesn't tell us a whole lot. With the Celtics we're at 52%, despite losing both games with them, and the simulation has us winning just 2 of 6. Again, that's okay, because 3-3 and it'd be right there.

Then there's the Miami Heat. ESPN's beloved Miami Heat. As you'll recall ESPN carried LeBron's "Decision," and they also have a "Heat Index" section devoted exclusively to all things Heat. ESPN has sunk a lot of money into those guys and the Heat has made the Disney people a lot of money (along with the TNT folks) because they get incredible ratings, if for no other reason then people want to watch them lose.

Well those Miami Heat, even money against the Spurs according to the percentages, went a perfect 7-0 against the Spurs in these Finals simulations. In addition, over the course of another 50 simulations I ran before these 100 before figuring out how to properly chart what I wanted to chart, I would estimate the Spurs lost another 3-5 meetings with Miami. Let's say four to be in the middle. That means 11 straight wins for Miami. Flip a coin 11 times in a row. What are the odds it comes up heads all 11 times? As I said, I'm no mathematician, but I believe the answer is 1 : 2 x 11th power, which I think is 2,048. So my simulation produced a result that had a 1 in 2,048 chance of happening? Really?

You'll also notice that the Heat fared fairly well against the other Western squads too, and their overall 18-7 record in the finals produced a higher winning percentage (.760) than any other team, despite them not being more than a slight favorite in most cases and slight underdogs to the Lakers. Conversely the Spurs, the second-best team in the West according to this thing and slight favorites over all the East powers (well, the aforementioned even-money to the Heat and 62% to the Magic), had the worst winning percentage of any team except the ones who made the Finals just a couple times, going 8-18 for (.306). In fact, before winning their last five Finals, the Spurs were the Buffalo Bills of this simulation. At one point they were 1-13 and then 2-17. It doesn't figure, statistically. It's almost as though these AccuScore computers can predict Pop playing Bonner and Blair together against the Bulls for 10-minute stretches at a time while benching Tiago get benched because "the Finals are too big for him," or some such nonsense. Or maybe they think Manu is going to break something again, besides our collective hearts.

Who the hell knows?

I'm just asking myself who stands to benefit the most from Miami winning it all? ESPN. Who stands to lose the most if the Spurs win it all? ESPN. Maybe the next 100 simulations would be completely different. But in the words of noted Spurs fan Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong, but I doubt it."

I encourage you all to run a 100 simulations and report your findings, using the handy chronicling method I've devised. Or you can continue living your productive, merry, non-insane existences. Up to you.

This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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