Ranking the Offseason Moves of All 30 NBA Teams Using Advanced Analytics
The NBA Offseason is now roughly two months old, and a lot has happened in that short time. The NBA Draft went down shortly after the Golden State Warriors were crowned champions. A flurry of trades and free agent acquisitions followed. Things done changed.
We aren't all NBA-obsessed geeks who hang on every Sasha Vujacic signing, and I can't blame you for that. In fact, I envy those of you who aren't losing sleep trying to find out what Glen Davis is going to end up doing. I honestly do.
Since refreshing NBA.com's transaction page and creating spreadsheets of the latest iterations of all 30 teams isn't everyone's bag, I figured I could make use of the hours I put into doing those things by creating a one-stop spot for numberFire readers to catch up on all the player movement that has gone down so far this summer. Below is a set of links to a six-part numberFire series that catches you up on the player movement for every NBA team, grouped by division:
Every one of those articles covers all five teams in each respective division, examining players in and out by way of trades, free agency, or bolting for Europe or elsewhere. In order to analyze and crown an offseason winner (of sorts) in each division, I calculated each team's Net nERD (nERD in versus nERD out).
Woah, woah, woah. What's nERD, you say? If you're not familiar with our in-house metric, nERD, it combines several offensive, defensive, and usage factors to produce one number that is meant to project a player's overall value to his team. That final number is an estimate of how many games above or below .500 a league-average team would win over an 82-game season with the player in question as one of its starters. It's comparable to Win Shares, but is meant to be predictive (projecting an 82-game season) as opposed to descriptive (how many wins the player has contributed to his team in the past). For the sake of these articles, we been used last season's nERD scores and left out rookies entirely (since they're so impossible to predict).
Here are the offseasons of all 30 NBA teams, ranked by Net nERD. For further details on the moves that each team made, including analysis on which teams seem to have gotten better or worse, click on the links above. For now, here's how the offseasons stacked up.
|Team||nERD In||nERD Out||Net nERD|
|1||Los Angeles Lakers||7.9||-14.6||22.5|
|2||New York Knicks||-3.4||-16.8||13.4|
|14||Oklahoma City Thunder||0.0||-1.6||1.6|
|20||New Orleans Pelicans||-4.5||-1.8||-2.7|
|22||Portland Trail Blazers||3.3||8.5||-5.2|
|25||Golden State Warriors||-3.1||2.5||-5.6|
|27||San Antonio Spurs||1.9||10.4||-8.5|
|30||Los Angeles Clippers||-15.7||-3.5||-12.2|
Some stray observations:
- 6 of the 16 playoff teams from 2015 got better (had a positive Net nERD) this offseason: the Rockets, Grizzlies, Raptors, Mavericks, Cavaliers, and Celtics.
- 9 of the 16 playoff teams from 2015 got worse (had a negative Net nERD): the Clippers, Bucks, Spurs, Hawks, Warriors, Wizards, Nets, Trail Blazers, and Pelicans.
- The Bulls stayed as exactly the same as you possibly could. No one in and no one out.
- The Raptors had the highest nERD intake (13.6), while the Clippers had the worst incoming package of players (-15.7).
- The Spurs had the highest outgoing nERD (10.4), while the Knicks shed the most dead weight (-16.8).
- Many pundits are commending the Clippers (bolstered depth), the Bucks (Greg Monroe), and Spurs (LaMarcus Aldridge) for their successful offseasons, but our metric says to examine what's coming in and going out a bit more closely. Those teams represent three of the four worst Net nERD scores this summer.
- No one really knows what to make of Charlotte's big shuffle up. Our numbers say it was for the better, as their 12.0 Net nERD was the third-best mark in the league.
- Sacramento has made some head scratching moves these last few years, but our metric says what they brought in this summer (nERD of -7.1) isn't exactly as bad as what they let go (-12.3).
- Los Angeles has belonged more to the Clippers than the Lakers these last few years, but our metric likes the offseason the Lakers had approximately a billion times better than the one the Clippers did. Reminder, Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Wesley Johnson were all in the bottom 12 in nERD last season. Meanwhile, the Lakers had some pretty bad players going out (-14.6 cumulative nERD) and some pretty decent ones coming in (7.9).
- This might be the first article in about three years from any site on the web to rank both the Lakers and Knicks at the top of a list regarding something positive. Progress.