The NBA Pickem Challenge, Two Weeks In

Prior to the start of the NBA season, a few of us here at The Waiver Wire, decided to select the winner of every single regular season game in advance. Yes, every one. Each week, we will post updates on our results thus far. With each of these posts, one of the seven participants will also write a reflection of their thoughts. Below, you can check the current standings of the participants and view their final season standings for each team. Enjoy. Also, big props to Jeff Balinski for putting this together.

Updated thru 11/11/12

Vinny Ginardi: As you can see from my final season standings, I had a pretty distinct strategy heading into my selections.
I went to the extremes with my picks, handing out very high win totals to teams I felt were the strongest and very low win totals to those teams I felt were the weakest. For example, I picked the Miami Heat to finish with 77 wins on the season and Charlotte Bobcats to finish with just four.

Why, you ask? Well, selecting every single game is completely different than just picking a win total for a team. Do I think the Heat will finish with as many as 77 wins or that the Bobcats will finish with as few as four? Absolutely not. Let me make this clear: I didn’t make my picks based on what record I think these teams will finish with. Instead, I made my selections based on which teams should win each matchup and what I felt would give me the best chance against my opponents.

Let me explain further.

I picked the Heat to go 41-0 at home this season. Probably not going to happen. In reality, I think the Heat are going to finish somewhere around 35-6 at home this year, maybe even a little bit worse. But what are the chances I am going to select those six losses correctly? Pretty slim, right? So instead, I’ll sacrifice a few games. Say the Heat do go 35-6, that gives me 35/41 correct picks, a win percentage of 85%. I’ll take that.

Now let’s say I picked the the Heat to go 35-6. First of all, it’s very difficult to predict who the Heat would lose to at home. Theoretically, they should win every home game because they are the best team in the league. But it’s seems impossible to me to predict who those losses would be to, and I’d rather not blindly guess. If I picked the Heat to go 35-6, and they did go 35-6, there’s a chance I only predicted two of those losses correctly. That would mean I got four of the losses incorrect AND four of their wins incorrect, for a tally of 33/41, or a percentage of 80%. I’d just rather not take the risk. That’s why with my standings I have very few teams finishing with a win percentage around .500.

As I look at it right now, my biggest regret is how good I projected the Pacers to be. They overachieved last season and even though I made my picks before Danny Granger was ruled out for three months, I absolutely overrated this team. The same can be said for Philadelphia and Andrew Bynum (and because I have an inexplicable love for Jrue Holiday). I also didn’t edit my picks after the James Harden trade, so I have Houston a little bit undervalued. Toronto is also a team I didn’t value as much as I should have.

I was much higher on the Jazz than anyone else in this competition (especially Matt McCarthy, who only gave them five wins). Utah has a strong starting five and great depth in the frontcourt. While they probably won’t get the 57 wins that I projected, they are a playoff team in my mind.

Overall, this was a really fun experiment to try and I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Good luck to all.

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