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Archive for the 'What If…' Category

How Many Titles Should the Cleveland Cavaliers Have Won During the LeBron Era?

15th July 2010

One common media refrain when criticizing LeBron James' decision to "take his talents to South Beach" has been the idea that he left behind unfinished business in Cleveland. He and the Cavs posted consecutive 60+ win seasons in 2009 & 2010, each time securing the #1 record (and top playoff seed) in the Eastern Conference, but in both years Cleveland flamed out early. Many have used this as supposed "proof" of some character flaw on the part of James and his teammates, but what was the probability that this could have simply happened due to random chance alone?

To answer this question, I set up a very basic Monte Carlo simulation using the regular-season winning percentages of all playoff teams since the Cavs' first playoff appearance of the James era (2006). 10,000 times, I simulated the playoffs for each season, taking into account the postseason bracket & home-court advantage effects, and I recorded the team that won the Finals in each simulation. Here's how it broke down for each season:

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Posted in Analysis, Playoffs, Statgeekery, What If... | 117 Comments »

What If… Grant Hill

3rd March 2009

If you were an Orlando Magic fan in the early 2000s, odds are you uttered this particular wistful phrase more times than you care to remember.

You see, back in the summer of 2000, the Magic managed to acquire not one, but two coveted free agents in Grant Hill (2nd-team All-NBA, 11.0 WS in 2000) and Tracy McGrady (#9 pick in '97 draft, 8.0 WS/3K in 2000) -- signing both to long-term contracts -- and if that wasn't enough, they also drafted eventual 2001 Rookie of the Year Mike Miller, seemingly solidifying themselves as major contenders in the East for the foreseeable future.

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Posted in Analysis, History, What If... | 8 Comments »