Why are playoff projections so high on the Pelicans?

The Pelicans are in pole position in the playoff race out West despite being 2 games back of Memphis with 23 to play. Why?

If you have been tracking the heated race for the 8th seed in the Western Conference, you might have noticed something weird.  Projection models such as FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR based predictions are bullish about the Pelicans’ chances of securing that final spot.  As of early February 29, New Orleans is given a 74% chance of making the playoffs by FiveThirtyEight.  This is despite the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies are the team currently in 8th place in the standings, two game up on the the Pelicans with only 23 games left to play.  FiveThirtyEight gives the Grizzlies only a 4% chance of making the playoffs.  What is going on here?  Why are we so confident that New Orleans will jump Memphis, and hold off at least three other plausible challengers for that last playoff spot?

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Will Trump’s low net approval rating sink his re-election bid?

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?

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Five Statistics To Help Answer The Questions Of The Offseason

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

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A Look Back At The Most Interesting Teams of The 2010’s: The 2012-13 New York Knicks

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.

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Did the James Harden And Chris Paul Experiment Work in Houston?

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 .

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