Rerisen wrote:JeremyB0001 wrote:Not necessarily. What's predictive of future success is the margin by which a team is outscoring opponents. Slippage on one end might not be a big deal if the the team is doing great on the other end and thus still outscoring opponents by a large margin. Moreover, looking at the rankings could be misleading - even late in the season - because teams could be bunched closely together.
For example, let's take a hypothetical team that's third in scoring at 110 points per 100 possessions and sixth in defense, allowing 101 points per 100 possessions. Let's say the team has a game where it keeps up its scoring rate on offense but gives up a lot of points and its points allowed dips to 101.5 points per 100 possessions. There are a lot of teams bunched up next to each other in the points allowed ranking so this moderate drop causes the team to slip five spots in the ranking. It might seem like a major fluctuation that the team went from being ranked third and sixth to third and 11th. But the scoring margin only dropped from 9 points per 100 possessions to 8.5 points per 100 possessions, which would have a relatively minor effect on how many games the team is projected to win. Perhaps it means that the team is now projected to win 59 rather than 60 games. (Of course, there could be teams bunched up in terms of point differential and, ultimately, wins, which could mean that by winning one or two fewer games, the team's playoff seed drops by a few spots.)
Extreme corner cases excepted naturally. Point differential is a better predictor than your off/def ranks, I would agree, my comment should be taken as associating with all those related metrics. Main point being, 16 games doesn't mean much for predicting your season. In 2011 we started 9-8, then won the most in the league. Last year we started 11-5, barely ended over .500.
Sure, though if you're going to get into won-loss record, it's important to note that point differential tends to be a lot more predictive than record. For instance, last season if you look at the Bulls 11-5 start, you would've projected them as a 56-win team. However, if you looked at their scoring margin at that point in the season, you would have far more accurately projected them as a 44-win team.