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 CBSSports.com + 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):
|San Antonio Spurs||0.690||57|
|Los Angeles Clippers||0.682||56|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||0.651||53|
|Golden State Warriors||0.599||49|
|New York Knicks||0.549||45|
|New Orleans Pelicans||0.504||41|
|Portland Trail Blazers||0.493||40|
|Los Angeles Lakers||0.430||35|
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:
|Portland Trail Blazers||0.786||64|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||0.779||64|
|San Antonio Spurs||0.779||64|
|Los Angeles Clippers||0.631||52|
|Golden State Warriors||0.540||44|
|New Orleans Pelicans||0.488||40|
|Los Angeles Lakers||0.465||38|
|New York Knicks||0.359||29|
The last thing to do is the comparison.
|Team||Expected Win%||Actual/Projected Win%||Difference||Wins over Expected|
|Portland Trail Blazers||0.493||0.786||0.293||24|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||0.651||0.779||0.128||10|
|San Antonio Spurs||0.690||0.779||0.089||7|
|Los Angeles Lakers||0.430||0.465||0.035||3|
|New Orleans Pelicans||0.504||0.488||-0.016||-1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||0.682||0.631||-0.051||-4|
|Golden State Warriors||0.599||0.540||-0.059||-5|
|New York Knicks||0.549||0.359||-0.190||-16|
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!
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?