Quantifying and Visualizing How Much Your NBA Team Sucks

Ben recently visualized how expectations/projections going into the season and real wins until now respectively extrapolated for the rest of the year can differ from each other. Bah, too complicated. Fans really want to know: Does my team suck, and if yes how much? Here I'm taking up an idea by SBN weekend editor Jon Bois who recently visualized the suckiness of various Major League Baseball teams. By googling them (more about the method in his post). Genius! Time to apply this to the National Basketball Association. This absolutely precise method helps us to quantify and determine which teams are really good, and which truly suck. Once and for all!

Well, not really. It rather shows which teams get discussed a lot, which fanbases are optimistic, which seem to hate their teams or which teams are universally disliked by opponents, and which have no significant mind share yet. It's just for fun. Take a look at the results after the jump.


Click image or here for full scale

X axis: City Team Name suck(s)

Y axis: City Team Name (is) good (excluding "not good") 

(I reversed the axes opposed to Jon Bois' baseball chart. Here it's better to be above the diagonal line.)

Generally I searched for exact hits of the full official team name, with the city name. In some cases I tried combinations (such as Philadelphia 76ers and Sixers, or Blazers and Trail Blazers, or Mavs and Mavericks, or Wolves and Timberwolves, or LA and Los Angeles, or...) to get the maximum number or results as an addition. Then the "good" and "suck" results came into a table to create this scatterplot chart.


Some learnings:

  • There is a "why does my team suck so bad" page for just about every team on Yahoo Answers and similar forum sites. All fans have the same worries. Is my team bad? Why?!
  • Okla-whoma Who?
  • The Lakers truly suck, in the eyes of their opponents
  • The Celtics truly suck, in the eyes of their opponents
  • Although you might get the feeling that the Bulls suck a lot when reading too much Blogabull, they are really good. Or at least once were and earned respect.
  • Bucks and Jazz seem popular too
  • The Heat are off the charts good. They also suck a lot. Maybe LeBron has a point with his "Heatles" moniker in a year or two.
  • The Magic are also off the charts good in the eyes of the web. And suck much less than other top teams. This came as a surprise to me. I tried all kinds of exclusion of terms to make sure I'm not getting reviews how much people liked visiting the world of the mouse in Orlando, but that didn't drop the number a lot.
  • Teams that are fun to watch seem to get better "this team is really good" ratings. Though the Suns are kinda the exception here.
  • Raptors, Kings, Nets, Warriors fans are pretty optimistic. So far.
  • The Blazers are in a cluster with some other good and not so good teams. Nothing really outstanding, which somehow fits the current situation. Depending on the exact search term I found 5,010 respectively 6,540 hits for "suck", and 4,090 hits for "good".
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