The Lakers' Season in a Pretty Picture

I was poking around in my Laker spreadsheets earlier today (nerrrrrd!!) and bemoaning the sorry state of our most favorite basketball club when it occurred to me I should create a little chart showing how this season has unfolded so far. In part, this is because pictures are more fun to look at than words and numbers. Also, I only recently figured out how to do charts in Excel and haven't had a chance to show off my new skills yet. (Me = FOREVER ALONE)

The fruit of my nerdly ruminations is this tasty mofo:

Lakers Chart

What it depicts are the season-to-date trends in the Lakers' offense and defense and the corresponding decline in winning percentage. The blue curve shows game-by-game changes in offensive performance, expressed in terms of points per possession (PPP). The red line does the same for defensive performance, in terms of PPP allowed. (In other words, we want the blue curve to be as high as possible and the red curve to be as low as possible.) The thin black horizontal line represents league-average PPP, currently 1.063. And the purple curve is the team's winning percentage. Further badass musings after the cut.

I should note that these are best-find trendlines. They don't literally connect the game-by-game dots (which I've removed from the chart for a cleaner presentation), but instead describe season-long trends in general terms. (For the hardcore math-heads out there, these are sixth-order polynomial curves.)

Anyhow, this gives us a broad sense of where things have been heading. The defense, as you can see because of my awesome chart, has been coming and going. All season it's oscillated around the league average. The offense began the season kicking ass, then went into a slow decline that's now become a rapid decline. Lately the O and the D have started sucking at the same time, which as you might imagine is a bit of a problem.

I should also note that the data underlying the table isn't schedule-adjusted. I'll generate a version of it that takes into account the quality of the opposition, but that'll probably have to wait until this Friday night after your stepmom leaves.

Follow Dex on Twitter @dexterfishmore.

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