Thursday, April 17, 2008


The New Orleans Hornets almost set an NBA record this season. The 1998 San Antonio Spurs won 36 more games than the 1997 version. It was an exceptional circumstance, as the 1997 Spurs were a good team playing without their best player, and then ending up with the best player in the draft, a college senior who was ready to play in the NBA. Well, the Hornets won 38 more games this year than last, beating the Spurs NBA record for biggest one year turnaround. So why do I say that they "almost set" an NBA record?

Because the 2008 Celtics won 42 more than the 2007 Celtics. And that's going to be a very hard record to break. The 2007 Celtics won 24 games. Since the NBA went to an 82 game schedule in 1968, there have been 984 team-seasons. 109 have resulted in teams winning fewer than 25 games (and 11 of those came during the strike-truncated 50 game 1999 season.) The following season, those teams averaged 29 wins. It's hard to go from bad to good quickly in the NBA, because teams are so dependent on impact players, and impact players are hard to come by. And only about 10% of teams win fewer than 25 games. On the top end, the 2008 Celtics are only the 10th team in that period to win more than 65 games in a season, which is very hard to do. To break that record, a team that wins 24 games or fewer one year will have to win 67 or more the next year. That's unlikely to happen again any time soon...

UPDATE: OK, the New Orleans stuff is wrong. They weren't listed as New Orleans in 2007, and I missed it, so the spreadsheet was wrong. They didn't improve by 38 games this year...

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