SCHOENE, King of the Season Win Over/Unders
In order to give myself some accountability, let's quickly review my preseason predictions for NBA season win over/unders. Altogether, I had a fairly pedestrian year. Here were my five preferred picks:
Milwaukee OVER 25.5 - W (46)
Minnesota OVER 25.5 - L (15)
Golden State UNDER 35.5 - W (26)
Portland OVER 52.5 - L (50)
Orlando OVER 57.5 - W (59)
So, out of the league's predicted bottom-feeders, I had a big hit (Milwaukee) and a big miss (Minnesota). I also ended up predicting the two teams which were most injury-riddled; in one case, it worked in my favor (Golden State), and in the other, it cost me a W (Portland).
The pivotal team for me was Orlando. When they were at 26-15 and 39-20 at different points in the season, it looked like I was destined to go sub-.500. The Magic needed to go 32-9 and 19-4 from those respective points in the season, and they went one better, finishing the season 33-8/20-3 (note to self: damn). Thankfully, Stan Van Gundy understood the value of pushing to gain home-court advantage in a potential matchup vs. the Lakers.
Thanks to Stan & co., I ended up with a respectable 3-2 (.600) mark on the season, bringing my record to 17-9 (.654) in the four years that I've been posting my favorite predictions.
But enough about me. Let's recall that I also surveyed the predicted W-L records offered by the best NBA writers - John Hollinger, Kelly Dwyer and Kevin Pelton - and specifically noted the predictions which fell furthest from the preseason O/U line.
Hollinger and Dwyer were, like me, in the vicinity of .500, but check the five biggest outliers from Pelton, whose predicted records were based on his SCHOENE system of player projections:
Toronto UNDER 41.5 - W (Predicted: 32-50 / Actual: 40-42)
Detroit UNDER 41.5 - W (Predicted: 33-49 / Actual: 27-55)
Milwaukee OVER 25.5 - W (Predicted: 34-48 / Actual: 46-36)
Memphis OVER 27.5 - W (Predicted: 45-37 / Actual: 40-42)
LA Lakers UNDER 62.5 - W (Predicted: 54-28 / Actual: 57-25)
Not only did Pelton sweep his way to 5-0, but SCHOENE found some big winners. Other than the Raptors, these weren't even close - the other four won by at least 5 games, and three of them were double-digit winners. I think that KP2 earned himself a free lunch at Samurai Sam's based on SCHOENE's impressive work.
I'd also like to note what I think was the single most impressive NBA preseason prediction of 2009-10, Pelton/SCHOENE's projection of the Grizzlies at 45-37 (which was published in early October, and then adjusted down to 43-39 when the projections were recalculated just prior to the season).
The Grizzlies had won 24 games in 2008-09. Their O/U line was set at 27.5 wins, and this was the vicinity in which most observers expected them to fall. Hollinger and Dwyer both projected Memphis at 27-55, and that's about where I assumed they'd finish, as well.
In fact, the 45-37/43-49 projections seemed so outlandish that it represented a flaw in the SCHOENE system. But they were essentially on the money, and Grizzlies brass Michael Heisley, Chris Wallace and Lionel Hollins are the ones having the last laugh after a surprising 16-game improvement left the Grizz at 40-42.