Thursday, February 20, 2014

Most Entertaining NBA Teams

In a previous post I highlighted the Thunder keeping more of their games closer (within 3 points) than anyone else in the NBA.  As the season has progressed, this has changed.  The Thunder are still in the top five of most close games as of 2/19/2014, but the Mavericks, Warriors, and Hawks have more.  If a game is close, by itself that doesn't say necessarily much about either team that was in the match-up or that their match-up is particularly good.  This isn't necessarily indicative of the ability of teams (more close games=better team or vice versa), but I think it does indicate entertainment value of the games or stress incurred by fans.  Below is a bar graph showing each team and how many games they have had that ended with each team being within 3 or less points.

The network below shows who the match-ups were with.  Again, the Pacers having only 3 games within 3 points isn't indicative of their current No. 2 rank at 41-13.

Here I'll propose a metric that attempts to capture the entertainment value of the games a team plays, with a few assumptions:  we are more entertained the more teams win and close games are fun to watch.  Below shows a graph with close games against total wins of a team.  The points are sized according to a "team entertainment" metric or (No. Close Games/Season Losses).  This communicates a team's ability to win as well as to provide entertaining games along the way (close games being entertaining).

The Thunder rank the highest on this metric with the Trail Blazers, Heat, Warriors, and Mavericks also ranking high.  Arguably, this makes the Thunder the most entertaining team to least this far in the season.