'Basketball' Articles

Did the 2008 Election Deflate the Stock Market?

[New York. November 23, 2008.] At the start of this past Friday’s trading day (Friday the 21st), there had been 12 trading days since the 2008 Election. During that time, the Dow Jone Industrial Average (DJIA) had dropped to its 5-year low. On November 4, 2008 (Election Day), the DJIA closed at 9,625.28. On Thursday November 20, 2008, it closed at 7,552.29 (down 21.5% in 12 sessions) and was settling near the 7500 level on Friday the 21st before the last minute 500+ point run to end the week.

In short, in the 12 sessions that followed the Obama-Biden victory, the DJIA has sounded as follows — Down 500, Down 400, Up 250, Down 75, Down 200, Down 400, Up 550, Down 350, Down 200, Up 150, Down 450 and Down 450. This was indeed an ugly stretch and it is far too easy to blame this run on the results of the election. However, even a Republic should admit it is too early to do so.

Although it feels like ages ago, when the DJIA left the 5-digit world in early October 2008 and dropped to about 8,000 in late October, there was press blaming all kinds of stimulus (or lack of stimulus) for that move. However, leading up to the 2008 Election, the DJIA fought back to pull within less than 400 points of 10k. Now, unfortunately, we are back in the low 8,000’s (following a few days under 8,000). Do we have enough to get back over 9,500? 10,000? 14,000?


On the other side of the world and during a similar period, it should be noted that since the start of the NBA season, the San Antonio Spurs have played 12 games. In those games, the Spurs has six wins and six loses — an ugly stretch for an organization that is accustomed to winning at a 70% rate in the Popovich era. What do the Spurs have to do with the market? Very little. However, there are two paths that this market can take and it is not all that different from the Spurs. After a odd summer, in which Manu Ginobili was injured and had surgery, the Spurs prepared for a start to the season without him. They started the year with no traction and then lost Tony Parker to an injury. Now, Tim Duncan is the only one of the big-3 left and needs to step up and keep this team afloat while Popovich waits for the injuries to heal. Fans in San Antonio just hope all the injuries heal as planned (or quicker than planned) and Tim Duncan can keep his squad above .500 (a.k.a. 8,000) so Manu and Tony can return and carry them into the playoffs (a.k.a. 10,000).

By January, it should be more apparent whether the playoffs are in the Spurs’ sights. Luckily, when it comes to the markets, you do not need to win a championship to be successful. At this point, most would be ecstatic with an annual visit to the Conference Finals.

Add comment November 23rd, 2008

Western Conference: Redistrict the NBA III


Western Conference Logo


As the final follow-up to my articles Western Conference: “Restrict the NBA” and Western Conference: “Restrict the NBA” II — after the NBA regular season is complete, I have worked the following analysis.  (As I did before, I have updated the non-conference standings, in bold, for all NBA teams below.)

Eastern Conference
[193-257 -- .429]

Atlantic [54-96
Rapters 47-35 (14-16)
Nets 41-41 (10-20)  
76ers 35-47 (11-19) 
Knicks 33-49 (11-19) 
Celtics 24-58 (8-22) 

Central [72-78]
Pistons 53-29 (17-13)
Cavaliers 50-32 (19-11)
Bulls 49-33 (13-17)
Pacers 35-47 (10-20)
Bucs 28-54 (13-17)

Southeast [67-83]
Heat 44-38 (17-13)
Wizards 41-41 (14-16)
Magic 40-42 (14-16)
Bobcats 33-49 (9-21)
Hawks 30-52 (13-17)
Western Conference
[257-193 -- .571]

Southwest [95-55]
Mavericks 67-15 (27-3)
Spurs 58-24 (20-10)
Rockets 52-30 (24-6)
Hornets 39-43 (16-14)
Grizzlies 22-60 (8-22)
Northwest [77-73]
Jazz 51-31 (19-11)
Nuggets 45-37 (18-12)
Trail Blazers 32-50 (13-17)
Timberwolves 32-50 (14-16)
SuperSonics 31-51 (13-17)

Pacific [85-65]
Suns 61-21 (25-5)
Lakers 42-40 (14-16)
Warriors 42-40 (14-16)
Clippers 40-42 (17-13)
Kings 33-49 (15-15)

In my prior to articles on redistricting, the Western Conference was beating the Eastern Conference at a noticable rate.  (After 112 inter-conference games, as of December 10, 2006, the Western Conference teams were beating the Eastern Conference teams 66.1% of the time, and after 369 total inter-conference games, as of March 7, 2007, it was 58.3%.)

At the end of the season, after the 450 total inter-conference games, the Western Conference won 57.1% of those game — the Eastern Conference won 42.9%.

Therefore, after a quick start, the Western Conference’s supremecy started to decrease, but still ended with a pretty big spread.  Most of that spread can be attributed to the Texas and Arizona (the Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets and Suns, which combined for a 96-24 record — 80%).  Ignoring the Grizzlies (8-22), every Western Conference team won at least 13 of their 30 inter-conference games — including the four teams discussed above with 20+ wins (no Eastern Conference team had 20 wins).  By division, all three Western Conference divisions, in total, beat out all three of the Eastern Divisions.

I guess we’ll have to wait for the finals to see if this even matters.  But regardless of the result, in my view, this analysis does lead my to believe that the Eastern Conference winner may have an advantage over the Western Conference winner in that they will be well rested.

Add comment May 7th, 2007

Western Conference: “Redistrict the NBA” II

Western Conference Logo 

As follow-up to my article “Western Conference: Restrict the NBA” — three months later — I have updated the non-conference standings for all NBA teams below.  I added the current record (as of March 7, 2007) and the current non-conference record to the numbers tabulated on December 10, 2006.  (The current records are in bold.)

Eastern Conference

Cavaliers 35-25 (15-9) / 12-7 (4-1)
Magic 29-33 (12-13) / 15-7 (7-2)
Bucs 22-39 (11-13) / 8-12 (5-4)
Pistons 37-21 (11-10) / 13-7 (4-5)
Pacers 29-30 (9-16) / 11-11 (3-4)
Hawks 22-39 (10-15) / 8-11 (2-4)
Knicks 28-34 (11-13) / 8-14 (3-5)
Heat 30-29 (13-13) / 8-11 (3-6)
Celtics 17-42 (6-18) / 6-13 (1-4)
76ers 22-38 (8-18) / 5-14 (1-4)
Wizards 34-25 (12-12) / 9-11 (1-4)
Bulls 35-27 (11-15) / 10-10 (1-7)
Bobcats 22-39 (8-18) / 5-15 (1-8)
Nets 28-33 (7-17) / 7-12 (1-8)
Raptors 32-29 (10-15) / 7-13 (1-8)

Western Conference

Suns 46-14 (24-4) / 13-6 (6-0)
Clippers 29-31 (13-11) / 10-9 (3-0)
Rockets 36-24 (16-6) / 14-6 (9-1)
Spurs 43-18 (17-7) / 15-6 (6-2)
Jazz 41-19 (17-7) / 15-5 (5-2)
Mavericks 51-9 (19-3) / 14-6 (5-2)
Lakers 33-28 (14-14) / 17-6 (5-2)
Hornets 28-33 (12-12) / 9-10 (5-2)
Nuggets 29-29 (16-8) / 11-7 (7-3)
SuperSonics 25-35 (13-12) / 10-11 (6-4)
Timberwolves 27-33 (11-11) / 10-9 (3-2)
Kings 28-32 (14-11) / 9-10 (4-3)
Warriors 27-35 (13-16) / 10-11 (2-2)
Grizzlies 15-46 (6-17) / 5-15 (4-6)
Trail Blazers 25-36 (10-15) / 8-14 (4-7)

As of today, March 7, 2007, the Eastern Conference teams are 154-215 (.417), which is a little better than their 38-74 (.339) record almost three months ago.  The Western Conference teams are playing .583 basketball against the east – they were playing .661 basketball back in December.  These numbers are still staggering, although, not nearly as much as they were earlier in the season.  Basically, since December 10, 2006, the Eastern Conference teams have “amped” it up and are 116-141 (.451) against the west.  Still, at this time, only 3 of the 15 Western Conference teams have a losing record against Eastern Conference teams.  (And one of them, the Memphis Grizzles, completely fell apart against the east.)

Out east, only Detroit and Cleveland have winning records against the west — can you say Eastern Conference championship opponents?  What a series that will be — the winner receiving a ticket to lose to the Mavericks, or the Suns, or the Spurs (these three teams combining for a Jordan-like .811 record against the east).  Of course, my prediction may fail if the Spurs beat down the Mavericks again — only losing by a couple of calls — and Dallas goes on to embarrass themselves again in the finals.

We’ll return at the end of the season…

Add comment March 7th, 2007

Western Conference: “Redistrict the NBA”


As some Americans argued after the 2002 and 2004 elections, we need some “redistricting” … in the NBA (that’s the National Basketball Association).  (I reserve judgment on the redistricting of other organizations, such as the House of Representatives.)  I believe any Western Conference fan would agree with me — at least in part — based on the following analysis.  Each day, basketball fans check the NBA standings in their local newspapers’ sports section (or on the internet) – few the wiser.  Most ”standings” list each teams’ wins, loses, and home, away, division and conference record.  (Some even offer each team’s current streak.)  But none of these sources give fans each team’s non-conference record.  What could be a better statistic for comparing the conference as a whole to its brother?

You would think that after the Miami Heat won the championship last year, the Eastern Conference would have a claim as the dominant conference.  Not a chance!  Do you recall what happened to the best two teams in the league (at least two of the three best) in the playoffs last year?  If I recall correctly (I do), the San Antonio Spurs (Timmy!) and the Dallas Mavericks (Dirk!) played in the second round of the playoffs (yes, the second round of a four round playoff system) and the Mavericks prevailed (if you can call it that) in an intense seven game series.  So basically, the top two teams in the league were eliminated at that point.  (The Mavs just didn’t seem to have it after that series.)  The quirk in the rules that allowed the Spurs to play the Mavs so prematurely has allegedly been fixed, although, it really will not matter if the Western Conference — especially the Southwest division — continues to play .700 (that’s 7 out of 10) basketball against its dueling conference. 

If this lack of parity continues — and it appears that it will — seven of the legitimate championship contenders could come from the Western Conference.  (Three — Houson, Dallas and San Antonio — from the same division.)  In the west, we could have three first round matchups in the playoffs that result in the elimnination of three of those contenders.  On the other hand, the eastern Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons or even King James’ Cavaliers — depending on the other two — could walk into the NBA finals unscathed.

Since my local papers omit non-conference records in the sports’ section, my analysis is based on the following data, which lists each teams’ total record at the end of the season’s first quarter (games ending December 10, 2006), along with the teams’ non-conference record in the parenthetical:

Eastern Conference
Cavaliers 12-7 (4-1)
Magic 15-7 (7-2)
Bucs 8-12 (5-4)
Pistons 13-7 (4-5)
Pacers 11-11 (3-4)
Hawks 8-11 (2-4)
Knicks 8-14 (3-5)
Heat 8-11 (3-6)
Celtics 6-13 (1-4)
76ers 5-14 (1-4)
Wizards 9-11 (1-4)
Bulls 10-10 (1-7)
Bobcats 5-15 (1-8)
Nets 7-12 (1-8)
Raptors 7-13 (1-8)

Western Conference
Suns 13-6 (6-0)
Clippers 10-9 (3-0)
Rockets 14-6 (9-1)
Spurs 15-6 (6-2)
Jazz 15-5 (5-2)
Mavericks 14-6 (5-2)
Lakers 17-6 (5-2)
Hornets 9-10 (5-2)
Nuggets 11-7 (7-3)
SuperSonics 10-11 (6-4)
Timberwolves 10-9 (3-2)
Kings 9-10 (4-3)
Warriors 10-11 (2-2)
Grizzlies 5-15 (4-6)
Trail Blazers 8-14 (4-7)

In sum, as of tonight (Sunday, December 10th), the Eastern Conference teams are 38-74 (.339) against the Western Conference teams — which, in turn, are playing .661 basketball against the east (they are  basically winning two-thirds the interconference games).  At the division level (there are three divisions in each conference), the Southwest division is 29-13 (.690) against the east.  Conversely, the Atlantic division is a disgusting 7-29 (.194) against the west.  (This “Atlantic” division includes teams from some of the largest markets in the NBA, including New York, Boston and Philadelphia, and also includes a Jason Kidd/Vince Carter Nets team that is 1-8 against the west.)  Even the Pacific (besides Kobe and Nash, who plays at 10:30 p.m. EST?) division is dominating the east (20-7).  And if you follow basketball, you probably know that the Central division, by far the Eastern Conference’s best division  – with the Detroit Pistons, the Jordan Bulls, the Chosen One in Cleveland and the Indiana Pacers (all four with winning records) – still only boasts a 17-21 record against the west.

Honestly, I feel for fans in New Orleans (or is it Oklahoma City?) and Seattle.  Both of their teams have losing records and would be non-playoff teams if it was April, but they combine for an impressive 11-6 record against the east.  Not to mention — if the good-but-not-great Suns moved to Maine, they could probably win an unprecedented 75 games — scoring 100 in every game — in the east’s Atlantic where the first-place Nets are 7-12

Bottom line — the NBA needs to redistrict its conferences (just like the MLB and NFL).

Add comment December 10th, 2006



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