Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NBA GMs: Making the best decisions given limited information

Andres over at Nerdnumbers has his weekly podcast up - go check it out.
Done yet (and don't say no)? Good.

In the podcast, Arturo comes right out and says that NBA GMs are stupid. Then Andres reminds him that if he wants to do stat work in the NBA, he should be more friendly to GMs, and so Arturo amends his statement: "NBA GMs make the best decisions given their limited information." What led to this discussion? The annual NBA GM Survey. My favourite one - when it comes to the Raptors, because there's a lot of crazy stuff in there - is the following prediction:

Which team will be most improved in 2010-11?
  1. Miami - 39.3%
  2. New York - 14.3%
  3. Washington - 14.3%
  4. Clippers - 10.7%
  5. New Jersey - 10.7%
  6. Philadelphia - 7.1%
  7. Toronto - 3.6%

That means that at least one out of the 30 NBA GMs (and the percentage actually works out to 1/28, so two GMs didn't vote, or something weird happened) thinks that the Raptors are going to improve on last year's 40-42 record to such a degree that they improve more than any team in the league. Now, at the start of the summer (before free agency) things looked much more optimistic than they do now; when Matt Barnes was going to sign with the team, things looked a lot better; before Ed Davis injured himself playing pickup ball in Mississauga, things looked better. But right now, things don't look good for the Raptors. And you, Mr. Anonymous NBA GM, are telling me that not only are the Raptors going improve on last year's record, but that the Raptors will actually improve more than any other team in the league? More than Miami? How did you get your job again?

Previously, my prediction for the Raptors was around 35 wins, but I was being optimistic and it was done using a rather simplistic method. Pretty soon I will post my more complicated win predictions for all teams, predict all the award winners, and take a pre-season stab at who will win the Championship. But for right now, I will leave you with the following number:


(Gold star if you can guess its significance)

 - Devin.


  1. New York, Washington, LA, Philly and Toronto all traded away or lost one of their top three player(s) from last season. Although NY isn't that outrageous (as Arturo has shown). Still that means 50% of GMs think rookies or offseason acquisitions will overcome the loss of a good player on mediocre teams!

    It could be a mean GM just rubbing it in to the Raptors, or heck even Colangelo believing his own hype that Bosh wasn't living up to expectations.

    Your 28 seems pretty accurate, but if they trade Bargnani for NOTHING they'd improve :) Good luck

  2. At least they got Miami and New Jersey, eh? But Colangelo couldn't have voted on his own team, so it was someone else. There needs to be some kind of inquisition about this.

    I'm still waiting for a major Raptor trade...but, knowing the Raptors, it will make them worse. Colangelo really needs to trade Bargnani now, while his stock is...what it is now.