Tag Archives: Toronto Raptors

The Tank Watch (4/23/2012)

Last week, the tanking was going strong. Only the Hornets had played well among playoff eliminated teams. My guess is that league ownership made them bring back Eric Gordon, and it’s about to cost them a lottery position after they won again in the last few days. They helped boot the Rockets out of the playoffs and Gordon had another superb game.

A couple other teams played well since the last Tank Watch. The Wiz have now beaten the Bulls, Bucks, and Heat in succession, but their spot is basically clinched, so their incentive to tank is diminished. One more loss in their last three games or a win for the Hornets will lock them in. The Pistons also posted a couple of wins, though over Cleveland and Toronto. Here are the updated numbers:

The Tank Watch

Tonight, we get a treat! The Bobcats travel to play Washington. Below is an incredible craigslist post that my buddy Tony sent me about this game (click to enlarge). Apparently there were zero tickets listed on Stubhub around 4pm.

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The Tank Watch (4/17/2012)

‘Tis the season for tanking! Last week, there were six teams eliminated from the playoffs. The Bobcats and Wizards had lost quite a lot already since then, though the Hornets looked surprisingly good. The Hornets continue to look good, but everyone else is bad bad bad, and the ranks of the eliminated have grown. The Bobcats locked in the worst record last night, but it’s hard to imagine them winning any games the rest of the way, so I’m not sure they can be accused of tanking. They are just a terrible team.

The Tank Watch

The Hornets 6-3 record since playoff elimination is largely due to the return of Eric Gordon (they are 4-1 in recent games when he has played). However, would any team other than the LEAGUE OWNED Hornets bring back Eric Gordon Continue reading

The Tank Watch (4/11/2012)

Following up on my post yesterday tracking tankers the past few years, here’s the tank watch for the 2011-2012 season. Six teams have been eliminated from the playoffs so far, but no one has locked in their spot yet. We’ll see if the Bobcats stop their losing ways (13 in a row!) once they clinch the worst record and the tanking incentive is gone:

The Tank Watch

Who tanks in the NBA?

Tanking: intentionally losing in order to improve draft position.

After my PhD buddy Chris and I circulated our findings that NBA teams tank a lot, we’ve been asked a few times, “Which teams are tanking?” Today I offer a quick look at teams that have likely tanked.

First, a refresher: we measure tanking by comparing performance before and after playoff-eliminated teams “clinch” their lottery spot. In the last couple games of the season, many teams lock in their spot, so they no longer have an incentive to lose. Those games act as our control. The problem with doing it this way is that some tankers may keep trying to lose even after they clinch their spot. This could happen because teams shut down star players because of “injury” or just because teams develop a habit of losing.

So, the big caveat with the results below (and the results in our paper) is that we are almost certainly missing some tankers. Some teams Continue reading

The Old Three and the condensed schedule

Lately, I’ve been arguing that older teams should rest their “more experienced” players as much as possible during the condensed season, especially in the fourth quarter of games that are out of hand. Regular readers might be shaking their heads at me after the Celtics’ games against the Cavaliers this week. In the first one, they gave up an 11 point lead in the last 4:24 of the game (they scored zero points). In the second, they nearly blew an 18 point lead in the fourth quarter.

However, I think these games are just more evidence that the Celtics should rest the Old Three in the fourth quarter with large leads (or deficits). Not only will it help in future games, but it might actually help in the current game. The Celtics have a strong bench, and the Old Three are, well, old and tired. They are prone to blowing fourth quarter leads with long scoring droughts. Whether early or late, Doc Rivers needs to find time to rest his horses, or they will be burned out by March.

Edit: I actually wrote this yesterday before the Celtics thumped the Craptors. In that game, they led by 28 points entering the fourth quarter, the starters all rested, and they ended up winning by 34. Progress, I say!

Changing strategy in response to the condensed NBA schedule

In the Celtics – Raptors game early tonight, the Celtics were up 73-55 at the start of the fourth quarter. Of the Old Three, only Garnett was on the floor. Both teams started the quarter cold, but Garnett got a couple free throws to push the lead to 20 with 9:15 left. In came Greg “the Dutch Steamer” Stiemsma, and that was the last of the Old Three for the evening. Needless to say, the Celtics won by 23. (The only bad news for the Celtics was a hard fall for Rondo, though he seems to be ok.)

I definitely approve of this strategy. There are multiple pros: Continue reading