President Trump is, at the moment, not a very popular president. According to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval rating tracker, he currently has a -11.7% net approval rating, which means that the percentage of people who disapprove of his performance is 11.7 percentage points higher than the percentage of people who approve of his performance. Moreover, Mr. Trump has had a poor net approval rating for almost his entire presidency. The fact that Americans are currently not enthused with the president’s job performance seems to be an ominous omen for his re-election prospects. But to what extent is this true?
Two and a half months ago, we were pining for NBA basketball. Now it’s snowy December and we’ve had plenty of it. It is time to check in on some of the statistics that have defined this regular season. In particular, I focus on numbers which answer (however incompletely at this point) some of the lingering questions from the turbocharged 2019 offseason. A big thanks to basketball-reference for most of the statistics cited here. Enjoy!
Stat: Luka Doncic True Shooting Percentage
Believe it or not, the Knicks once won 54 games.
With the decade nearing it’s end, I think it is a good time to look back on some of the teams that we should remember from this era. This is part 1 of a longer series of posts where I will dive into, from a statistical perspective, some of the teams of the 2010’s that I find most fascinating. Though I became a more devoted NBA fan in the last few years, I will still try to give the entire decade its due.
I should note that I tended to choose teams who were at least moderately successful, although not all were champions or finalists. For some reason, good-but-not-great squads and awesome regular season teams which faltered in the playoffs seem to dominate this list. Still, some NBA champs will make the list; it is hard to talk about the 2010’s without some mention of LeBron James or the Golden State Warriors.
When the Rockets unexpectedly acquired Chris Paul via trade in the summer of 2017, the NBA world was abuzz. How could the ball-dominant Paul coexist with usage king James Harden?
I was actually already thinking of writing about this, but now, with the Paul era in Houston coming to a premature end (hello Russell Westbrook!), I think its worthwhile to look back and evaluate the Harden-Paul pairing .
This NBA offseason has been, for lack of a better adjective, crazy. Anthony Davis was finally traded to the Lakers for a boatload of picks and young players (I had some thoughts after it happened). Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with a team which, just a few years ago, was described as one of the bleakest destinations in the NBA. The Warriors, firmly ensconced as NBA royalty for so long, were suddenly in shambles. Kawhi Leonard, the reigning finals MVP, was seriously considering joining the Lakers’ super team. Except then he was actually 99% likely to stay in Toronto. But wait, actually he was going to the Clippers all along and taking fellow star Paul George with him!
All this turbulence and meteoric shifting of the NBA landscape got me thinking: who is actually going to win the whole thing? This NBA season appears to feature the most wide open title chase that we have seen in years, and that’s the way Vegas sees it too.
The NBA offseason lurched into high gear on Saturday night. There it was, plastered prominently across the bar’s TV screen: Breaking News; Anthony Davis traded to Lakers.
I immediately went to Twitter, eagerly searching for the details of how much Los Angeles had to give up. A day or so later we finally got the full story: the Lakers were sending Ball, Ingram, Hart, this year’s 4th overall pick, a top-8 reverse protected 2021 1st rounder (which becomes unprotected in 2022), a 2023 pick swap, and a 2024 1st rounder (with the right to defer to 2025) to the Pelicans for the one contract year of Anthony Davis’s services.
The NBA Finals are almost here and we are finally, mercifully, treated to a matchup which is not Warriors vs. Cavaliers. The Raptors, in their first NBA Finals appearance, will get a chance to dethrone the champs and I, like most fans, am really excited to see how this turns out.
To get a feel for how a series might shake out, I like to start by looking at the regular season point differentials of both competitors. By this measure, this Finals looks pretty even. The Warriors and the Raptors were 2nd and 3rd in the NBA, respectively, at +6.5 and +6.1. My simple point differential only model pegs the Raptors as slight favorites (55% chance to win the series) by virtue of having home-court advantage. Plus, the Warriors look to be without Kevin Durant for at least the first few games in the series, which hurts their odds.