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I Told You So

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Man, Spurs fans are sensitive. My "5% prediction" riled up fans on two different message boards. The amount of misinterpretations is astounding. Here's my favorite reply, mainly because it contains some good points and some not so good yet hilarious ones. (My second favorite reply is clearly "You are wrong and your graphs didn't prove crap." Delightfully straight to the point!) His/her (curiousspirit is the User ID) comments are quoted and my response follows.

spursblogguy, why don't you run the same stats on the last three years for Detroit and see what kind of percentage you come up with?

My percentage was not based on stats. It's an estimation. Would you prefer I say "I think the Spurs have little chance of beating the Pistons in the Finals?" The easiest way to express the magnitude of my doubt was by putting a number to it.

Why don't you include some intangible variables mentioned in this thread in your analysis? Your analysis and your ultimate 5% or 15% has some links missing, like how you arrived at those percentages.

I don't include intangibles because the definition of the word implies they aren't measurable. Though I totally would have given the Spurs an extra 1.6% if Duncan still had the fro.

How does a less than 2 point decrease in point differential apply to your 5% prediction?

See my first answer. Or, if you prefer, the 2 point increase accounts for exactly 32.5% of my 45% reduction from 50% (assuming the outcome of said series is entirely random).

Did you take into consideration that Timmy's second of b2b games has had a great impact on his production level and if you take out the b2b, his production would be very close to last years? How does that impact your 5% prediction?

No, didn't take into account because Duncan probably played some back to back games last year, too. Just totally guessing here. Could be wrong. Back to back games may have been invented this offseason. I'll get back to you.

How about the sample size of 10 close games (9-1 win ratio by the way) to validate the "randomness" of winning close games? Do you know anything about sample size? Do you believe that the results of this factor majorly impacts the ability to win 4 of 7 games? How much of this stat was in your 5% prediction?

The small sample size does partially explain the randomness of winning close games. But the average number of data points of about 10 is enough, combined with the total randomness of the graph, to conclude luck is significantly involved. None of this particular stat was in my 5% prediction, but I did include some cumen and I think that added a certain je ne sais quos.

Did you factor in the "hunger" that savvy vets like Finley and NVE have for getting a ring? Can you quantify that intangible? How much of of this intangible was part of your 5% prediction?

DUDE. I totally forgot that! THE SPURS NOW HAVE A 7.6% CHANCE BECAUSE TWO PLAYERS HAVEN'T EATEN RECENTLY.

The only improvement the Pistons have shown is in point production? Did you quantify the give and take from being a perimeter jump shooting team versus and inside/out team?

Oops. I've been found out. The Pistons only improvement from last year is increased point production (from 17th in offensive efficiency to 3rd). Scoring points is totally beside the point! They should have signed some hungry players instead of improving their offense!

There are too many holes, missing links and erroneous conclusions with your blog to take any of it seriously. You have good points, but are they even relevant to your conclusion? I don't think so.

Now just wait an effin' minute. Where do I say to take my blog seriously? But seriously, in general it seems people got waaaaay too hung up in "5%." I wish I could revise it 15% or so (not that 15% wouldn't also drive fans batty) I should have just written "little chance." And the graphs were meant to ONLY illustrate that winning close games is mostly random and therefore explains why the Spurs have a better record yet worse scoring margin than last year. As for points being relevant to my conclusion, I don't see how the following could be refuted much less irrelevant:

  1. Scoring margin and offensive efficiency both point to a sizeable improvement in DET. Contrary to seemingly popular belief, their defense has the same rank it did last year.
  2. The Spurs have a lower scoring margin and the same efficiency rankings as last year.
  3. Manu played at an unthinkable level in last year's playoffs and hasn't been the same since. He's said it himself, he doesn't have the explosiveness.
  4. Tim Duncan is hurt again and there's no reason to think he will heal before the Finals. He's had his worst statistical year in every category and simply is not the player he was last year.
  5. 82games.com, a site referenced by ESPN.com, keeps track of shot locations and results for every game. Their data shows that Parker's jump shot has not improved significantly since last year. But hey, at least he has his thumb in the right place now.
  6. The Spurs create no matchup problems for DET. Rasheed Wallace is the best Duncan defender in the league. Billups plays 5' off Parker to negate his quickness advantage. Manu's the wildcard, but he's human again and Tayshaun caused him some problems last year. No one else on the Spurs can create their own quality shots. Unless you consider Finley's 20' fade aways and Nick's hopeless runners good shots.
  7. DET creates matchup problems for the Spurs. Billups physically overmatches Parker. Tayshaun has a serious length advantage over Manu in the post. Rasheed is a virtuoso at the pick and roll which Duncan has played poorly all season. Ben Wallace has a quickness advantage over any one the Spurs could put on him.
  8. Home court advantage.
  9. DET beat the Spurs twice this season, including a Christmas Day crushing in SA.
So, again, as an impartial observer why should I think the Spurs have a good chance of beating DET?

Anyways. I'll let it go now. Before I get to the tidbit thingy I wanted to post a hilarious picture that "To be named later" over at SpursReport conjured up. Just to make sure no one is taking all of this too seriously. The caption is his/hers, too.


"NEVER.....ARGUE WITH THE DATA!

Sincerely,
Matthew Powell
Internet Blogger"

For the record, the photo is unfair because I don't smoke. And I happen to think that's a pretty sweet pair of slacks that guy is wearing.

Entirely True Yet Remarkably Meaningless Tidbit Number Three.

I have seen Pearl Jam in concert about 25 times and I totally think Stone is hotter than Eddie Vedder.