Wednesday, October 10, 2012

league pass

for those of you wondering how league pass works, this was my experience.  i don't know if things have changed since last year, so keep that in mind.

when i was living in new jersey, it was difficult to catch any jazz games at all, so league pass seemed like a logical choice.  i still had a blackberry, so i didn't get the mobile option, but i think it was free if you were paying for the cable (TV) and broadband (computer) services.  i was able to watch multiple broadcasts of games not in the greater NYC market--in other words, as long as i wasn't trying to watch the knicks or nets, i could get the home and away broadcasts of other games.  there were many (if not most) nights where i could choose between the FOX/ROOT broadcast being called by boler and harpring, or the opposing team's play-callers.

the only time i couldn't watch the jazz on league pass in newark was when a local or national station was airing the games.  if the jazz were playing the knicks (in NY or in UT) and the game was televised on YES or ESPN, there was no jazz game on league pass on my TV or my computer.  similarly, if the jazz were playing miami and the game was on TNT, there was no league pass broadcast.

unquestionably, the biggest drawback of league pass is the local blackout.  if i was visiting family in utah, jazz games were unavailable on league pass, period.  while you could suffer through missing the 7-12 nationally televised jazz games (likely via streaming the games illegally or going to the bar) and watch the rest of the season on league pass, there would be no reason to have cable at all for some of us.

Monday, October 8, 2012

mass nerder 2

it took a little longer than i anticipated (partly due to the fact that i spent the weekend being a total sot winning the second quinquennial ultimate raingutter regatta), but i finally got around to fleshing out last week's schedule comparison for the rest of the teams in the bottom of ESPN's predicted western conference playoff seeds.  the images i'm uploading are huge, so it will likely be challenging to read this on a mobile device.  but, as you'll see from the amount of data in each image, i couldn't really go much smaller without losing the ability to read what's happening.

here's the jazz schedule.  light green blocks are short homestands (3 games in a row at home), kelly green blocks are longer homestands (4+ games in a row at home).  conversely, pink blocks are short road trips (3 consecutive away games) while red blocks are long road trips (4+ road games in a row).  back-to-backs are noted via outline boxes.

for the sake of including a modicrum of organization, here are the "existing" (as far as is concerned) rankings for teams 5th through 8th in the west (the jazz were ranked 16th overall, 9th in the west).

it's difficult to compare these five sets of data against each other in such a large format, so here is just the conclusory goodies from the bottom of each squad's chart:

as i explained last time, the "trends" listed are based on divvying up the season into 73 ten-game blocks (starting with games 1-10 and concluding with games 73-82).  a "home trend (6+)" means six or more games out of ten consecutive games are played at home; "home trend (7+)" is the heavier extension, with seven or more home games played in a set of 10.  "away trends" are the same for away games.

if this still isn't make sense (and i'm not surprised if it doesn't), look at the jazz's info:
  • back-to-backs: the number of back-to-back series the jazz will play.  for 2012-13, the jazz have 17 B2B sets (34 games).  the percentage refers to the number of regular season games that are in back-to-back sets.  34/82 = 41.46%
  • home blocks (3+): this refers to the number of home stands (three or more consecutive games at ESA) the jazz will play.  this year, it's a total of six.
  • home blocks (4+): refers to the number of long home stands (four or more consecutive games at ESA) the jazz will play.  this year, there's only two long stretches in salt lake city.
  • home trends (6+): the number of 10-consecutive-game groups that feature more than six home games.  the jazz have 25 total.  25 of the 73 season blocks is 34.25% of the 10-game blocks.
  • home trends (7+): the number of 10-consecutive game groups that feature seven or more home games (nobody in this group has more than 8 out of 10 games at home or away in any 10-game stretch).  the jazz have 14 of these almost-always-at-home blocks, which equates to 19.18% of the blocks.
  • home trend runs:  the jazz start block 36 (games 36-45) with at least six out of ten at home; block 37 also features at least 6 home games, as does block 38, all the way through block 51.  in all, from game 36 to game 60, the jazz play 16 of 25 at home.  similarly, from game 66 to game 82, the jazz play 10 of 17 at ESA.
the opposite side of things holds true for the away numbers. as you can tell, super annoying and possibly not very informative.  take a moment to ponder everything and head back when things start to click.

back to backs

good?  then let's get started.  the easiest numbers to compare are the number of back to back games, being fairly straightforward and without any 10-game run bullshit involved.  when i started compiling this info last week, i thought playing 41.46% of your games as part of B2Bs was an astronomical number.  at least from this extremely limited sample, playing twice in two nights seems to be about the median value.  the t-wolves are the worst-off team of the bunch, with 22 B2Bs over the course of the season.  that's a lot--over 50% of their games will be twice in two nighters.  brutal.

minny doesn't get much rest anywhere either, with 11 B2Bs coming in each half of their season.  on the plus side, 3 of the doubles are being played in minnesota, so ricky rubio will get to sleep in his own bed between games.  but that still leaves 19 nights where the timberwolves have to play a game, get on an airplane, sleep for a few hours in a hotel, and repeat the next night.

memphis has the most favorable number of one home/one away B2Bs (13 of 18), with the bulk of their B2Bs coming with one game in front of their home crowd, where everybody else is evenly or nearly evenly split.  but the grizzlies are also the only team that has to play the bulk (10 of 18) of their B2Bs in the second half of the season, when injuries are sapping players and energy is running low.  minny has to play more in the second half, though, so again a rough draw for Kevin Lovetown.

my conclusion on the back-to-back numbers is that these teams battling for 5th-8th in the west aren't going to be able to use this part of their schedules as an excuse.  everybody is facing almost the same demons, with MIN carrying a moderately heavier load to DAL's barely-easier assignment.  if, somehow, the number of two-in-twos ends up being the sole differential between these teams, jazz fans should feel content knowing that the #8 spot would wind up ours.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

mass nerder

today's entry brought to you by the title-track from the descendents classic, mass nerder.

with the free scrimmage days away, the pre-season in under a week, and regular NBA season games resuming before the end of the calendar month (anticiperections, anyone?), it's time to dust off my attempts at breaking down numbers for the Utah Jazz.  to make things easy, i figured i'd just start off with THE ENTIRE SEASON.

this is, hopefully, going to be an ongoing project.  according to the september 28, 2012 power rankings, the jazz are in the top 16 teams in the league, but aren't making the playoffs.  the teams to beat, according to marc stein, to land a post-season spot are presumably the t-wolves or memphis.  dallas and denver round out the postulated 5-8 seeds in the west; getting a first-round home court advantage means playing up with the clippers or the spurs (no funny images for them because, well, they're both going to be tough to beat).  so, my goal is to post this same breakdown for at least MIN, MEM, DAL, and DEN in the next few days.

what am i rambling about, you ask?  the teams individual schedules themselves.  since this isn't last last/lockout year, everybody is effectively on the same playing field in terms of the number of home/away games and opponents faced.  but that doesn't mean every team has to deal with the same balance of home and away games.  that balance involves stretches played at home where the players (hopefully) have a fan base, they sleep in their own beds, eat where they know is good, see their families, and generally have more time to rest, as compared to the opposite side of the spectrum where teams might go two weeks living out of a suitcase and sleeping on a chartered jet.  it's arguable that, for a team like the jazz which likely sits on the playoff bubble, having a rough schedule full of away trips could be the deciding factor for the season.  alternately, having a relatively cushy road last january landed the jazz in the west's number 3 spot 5 weeks into the shortened season.

so how does 2012-2013 shape up for coach ty's squad?  besides featuring 17 back-to-back sets (34 games, a whopping 41.5% of of the season's matchups), the jazz can expect 6 home stretches (3 or more games played at home consecutively) versus 7 road trips.  of those stretches, 2 of the stay-at-homes are 4 game runs, while 3 of the away kicks feature 4 consecutive contests.  fortune does not seem to be smiling on the beehive state just yet.

to make things particularly insipid to calculate (and unnecessarily difficult to interpret), i also looked at the season in 10-game blocks (i.e. games 1-10, games 2-11, games 3-12, etc.).  there are 73 of these slices,starting with 1-10 and concluding with 73-82.  looking at the season this way, things remain slightly gloomy:

  • home game trends (6+/10 at home): 25
  • home game heavy trends (7+/10 at home): 14
  • home trend runs
    • games 36-60 (16 of 25 at home)
    • games 66-82 (10 of 17 at home)
  • away game trends (6+/10 at home): 29
  • away game heavy trends (7+/10 away): 8
  • away trend runs
    • games 1-19 (12 of 19 away)
    • games 28-41 (8 of 14 away)
    • games 59-71 (8 of 13 away)
the season begins rough for the jazz, with 12 of the first 19 games on the road (game blocks 1-10 through 10-19).  a brief reprieve of splitting time evenly ends on december 22, when the jazz play 8 of 14 on the road (blocks 28-37 through 32-41).

but the second half of the season sees much more action at energy solutions arena.  in particular, beginning with game 36 (january 7 vs. the mavs), utah plays 16 of 25 on its home court.  games 59-71 see the jazz playing 8 of 13 away, but the season closes with the jazz playing 10 of their last 17 at home (10 of 15 if you discount the season's final two games).

if these ten-game blocks can be used to analyze anything (and i'm not sure that they can), it's a little frustrating to see that only 34.25% (25 of 73) of the blocks are home-heavy, compared to 39.73% (29 of 73) of the blocks featuring 6 or more road games.  however, note the "heavy" trends:  only about 11% (8 of 73) of the blocks feature seven or more away games, versus 19.2% (14 of 73) of the blocks featuring 7 or more out of ten at home.  in fact, only one 10-block of games features eight road contests (games 2-11), while five blocks have eight of ten at home, including three consecutive blocks from 1/14 - 2/8!

another factor making the early season even tougher for the jazz is the number of games played in calendar periods.  i'm not going to get too crazy about this, but the jazz play seven games in the first eleven days of the season, nine games in sixteen days starting 11/16, and six games in ten nights (including five games on the road, four of them in a row) starting 12/14.

it's difficult to make much of a conclusion about this data so far.  once we can compare it to the other teams in the middle of the west, things will be more interesting.  but, for now, it looks like we can expect a pretty haggard team through the first week of 2013.