Thursday, December 6, 2007

John Hollinger's New Formula, "WTF"

So ESPN's resident hoopsnerd John Hollinger, apparently bored by the proceedings of the season thus far, has invented something called "Hollinger's Playoff Odds 2007-08." You can read JH's explanation of it here; it seems fairly complicated but also weirdly simplistic, if that makes sense.

Hollinger tends to do pretty good work, though, so we're tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt, EXCEPT... his playoff predictor has the Celtics as a 42.6% likelihood to win the NBA Finals. They are roughly 3 times more likely to win the Finals than the next most likely contender, the Orlando Magic (choking on my bowl of cereal). Third most likely? Wait for it... ladies and gentlemen, your Detroit Pistons! Yes, you read that correctly: the 13-5 Pistons have a greater likelihood of winning the Larry O'Brien Trophy than the 16-3 San Antonio Spurs, who have a fairly decent track record in these sorts of things.

I mean, I like Hollinger and he's certainly a sharp dude, but even he has to realize this is fucking crazy. I'm one of the more biased Celtics fans on the planet, and while I'm absolutely ecstatic that they're 15-2, I wouldn't give them more than a 20% chance against San Antonio, Phoenix or Dallas. I dunno, I feel like this is one of those moments in Looney Tunes where Wile E. Coyote blows himself up and then mutters something about going back to the drawing board.

4 comments:

Tim said...

Not one of Hollinger's finest moments. I recommend this instead -
http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/teamstats

Jack said...

I know... it makes me wonder if it's in his ESPN contract that he needs to come up with some new, crazy performance metric every two weeks or so. The whole thing just seems really weird, including his explanation of it, which is half-hearted at best.

Anonymous said...

Is there a simple explanation for this-- specifically, more competition in the West (Spurs, Suns, Jazz, Mavs, etc) makes it more difficult for any one of those teams to make the playoffs, thus reducing considerably their overall odds of winning?

Meanwhile, the three-team East provides good odds to the Celtics, Magic, and Pistons.

Even so, the absurdity of the resulting "odds" does seem to vitiate the entire enterprise.

The Fox said...

Exactly.

Sure it's harder to "make it" out of the West, but the West teams should still be more favored to "win it."