Tracking NBA Awards: Coach of the Year

As the Blazers have over-performed this season, many of the team's components have become part of the discussion for NBA level awards. Since it is our job as fans to obsess, I thought it might be worthwhile to track some of these awards over the season.

My hope for this fanpost as well as a few others to come, is to provide a beginning discussion for how to evaluate these awards, and eventually provide an ongoing tracker for current front-runners (especially for those categories that may contain a Blazer player in the running).

I'm going to start with Coach of the Year because I have done some of the research.

My general theory on how COY is won is essentially the coach of the team with the highest positive difference between their team's perceived preseason expectations of win percentage and their actual win percentage.

Sidebar - I preferred to use total wins instead of win percentage since it is easier to quickly comprehend, but comparing total wins to current wins involves more manipulation, where win% could be compared in a pretty straightforward manner.

In order to evaluate this, the first task is to determine team's expectations for win percentage. To do this, I scoured the internet for predictions. I ended up using three sports betting over/unders(here, here and here), four sites who had authors do win predictions (teamrankings, rantsports, bleacherreport, cbssports), and finally the KP2 SCHOENE predictions. One of the sites (CBS Sports) had several writers contribute and I used their average. So that site and SCHOENE had more weight then. Here is my formula: (Average of the three betting O/Us + Average of the three websites + Average of contributors from + SCHOENE) / 4.

I had hoped to use more well known national pundits, but I could not find hard predictions for them. If you can, send them my way.

This formula gave the following win prediction totals (with extrapolated win totals for easier reference):

Miami Heat 0.718 59
San Antonio Spurs 0.690 57
Los Angeles Clippers 0.682 56
Chicago Bulls 0.676 55
Houston Rockets 0.657 54
Oklahoma City Thunder 0.651 53
Indiana Pacers 0.649 53
Brooklyn Nets 0.635 52
Golden State Warriors 0.599 49
Memphis Grizzlies 0.598 49
New York Knicks 0.549 45
Minnesota Timberwolves 0.542 44
Denver Nuggets 0.535 44
Dallas Mavericks 0.516 42
Atlanta Hawks 0.513 42
Detroit Pistons 0.508 42
New Orleans Pelicans 0.504 41
Portland Trail Blazers 0.493 40
Washington Wizards 0.491 40
Cleveland Cavaliers 0.487 40
Toronto Raptors 0.457 37
Los Angeles Lakers 0.430 35
Milwaukee Bucks 0.374 31
Sacramento Kings 0.371 30
Charlotte Bobcats 0.339 28
Utah Jazz 0.339 28
Boston Celtics 0.335 27
Orlando Magic 0.287 24
Phoenix Suns 0.232 19
Philadelphia 76ers 0.210 17

The next task is the comparison with the actual win percentages. However, this doesn't take into effect strength of schedule well. Therefore, I used the actual win percentage, plus the ESPN Hollinger Projected win total for each team and divided it by two. Here are the results of that:

Indiana Pacers 0.819 67
Portland Trail Blazers 0.786 64
Oklahoma City Thunder 0.779 64
San Antonio Spurs 0.779 64
Miami Heat 0.705 58
Los Angeles Clippers 0.631 52
Houston Rockets 0.625 51
Phoenix Suns 0.591 48
Denver Nuggets 0.585 48
Dallas Mavericks 0.548 45
Golden State Warriors 0.540 44
Minnesota Timberwolves 0.530 44
Atlanta Hawks 0.494 41
New Orleans Pelicans 0.488 40
Los Angeles Lakers 0.465 38
Boston Celtics 0.464 38
Detroit Pistons 0.458 38
Toronto Raptors 0.448 37
Washington Wizards 0.430 35
Chicago Bulls 0.424 35
Charlotte Bobcats 0.422 35
Memphis Grizzlies 0.413 34
Cleveland Cavaliers 0.397 33
New York Knicks 0.359 29
Brooklyn Nets 0.357 29
Sacramento Kings 0.348 29
Orlando Magic 0.329 27
Utah Jazz 0.286 23
Philadelphia 76ers 0.274 22
Milwaukee Bucks 0.238 20

The last thing to do is the comparison.

Team Expected Win% Actual/Projected Win% Difference Wins over Expected
Phoenix Suns 0.232 0.591 0.359 29
Portland Trail Blazers 0.493 0.786 0.293 24
Indiana Pacers 0.649 0.819 0.171 14
Boston Celtics 0.335 0.464 0.129 11
Oklahoma City Thunder 0.651 0.779 0.128 10
San Antonio Spurs 0.690 0.779 0.089 7
Charlotte Bobcats 0.339 0.422 0.083 7
Philadelphia 76ers 0.210 0.274 0.064 5
Denver Nuggets 0.535 0.585 0.050 4
Orlando Magic 0.287 0.329 0.042 3
Los Angeles Lakers 0.430 0.465 0.035 3
Dallas Mavericks 0.516 0.548 0.032 3
Toronto Raptors 0.457 0.448 -0.008 -1
Minnesota Timberwolves 0.542 0.530 -0.011 -1
Miami Heat 0.718 0.705 -0.014 -1
New Orleans Pelicans 0.504 0.488 -0.016 -1
Atlanta Hawks 0.513 0.494 -0.019 -2
Sacramento Kings 0.371 0.348 -0.023 -2
Houston Rockets 0.657 0.625 -0.032 -3
Detroit Pistons 0.508 0.458 -0.050 -4
Los Angeles Clippers 0.682 0.631 -0.051 -4
Utah Jazz 0.339 0.286 -0.053 -4
Golden State Warriors 0.599 0.540 -0.059 -5
Washington Wizards 0.491 0.430 -0.061 -5
Cleveland Cavaliers 0.487 0.397 -0.090 -7
Milwaukee Bucks 0.374 0.238 -0.136 -11
Memphis Grizzlies 0.598 0.413 -0.185 -15
New York Knicks 0.549 0.359 -0.190 -16
Chicago Bulls 0.676 0.424 -0.252 -21
Brooklyn Nets 0.635 0.357 -0.278 -23

So far using this standard for Team Success translating into Coach of the Year votes makes Jeff Hornacek of the Suns the front runner. There is probably some value for a team's overall success that I am missing(what did the unexpected success translate into). Given that, I would suspect then that teams who perform above expectations, but do not make the playoffs are removed from contention in most voters minds. Other factors may include: National notoriety (big markets) and injuries overcome.

Right now though, the Suns and Blazers are indeed playoff teams, so perhaps the current COY standings are:

1. Jeff Hornacek

2. Terry Stotts

3. Frank Vogel

4. Brad Stevens

5. Scott Brooks.

Help me break this down further: Where could my formula be improved? Can you help me find more pre-season predictions? Are there factors I'm forgetting? Let's work this one out!

Last thought:

I would think the Executive of the Year award would be based on somewhat similar criteria. What other pieces would be different for that award?

Next Award:


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