55 TO STAY ALIVE?

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How Three Kings Bloggers Breakdown The LA Kings Playoff Points Threshold And How They Could All Be Wrong.

Team Lineup

Will the Kings make the playoffs? – Photo: Mark Mauno

By Paul Armbruster • KingsNewsDaily.com •

The consensus among 3 Kings bloggers is that the Kings will need 55 points to make the playoffs, give or take a point. But is that really true? Or could the playoff point threshold be considerably lower?

Quisp, doing his best Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys impersonation said:

“In the several million simulations run every day by Sportsclubstats, 55 points is enough to make it into the playoffs in over 90% of simulations.”

Well ok then. Based on a site that gave the Kings almost no shot to make the playoffs last year, let alone win the whole shebang, he filters the rest of his game-block projections through a faulty probability matrix. He finishes with this, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that every game is a playoff game now. And it’s a fact that a losing streak at any point is almost certain to be the kiss of death.”

But it is an exaggeration. It’s not the playoffs. Yet.

Neisy, who appears to get the magic number 55 from Quisp, says:

“an unusually high number of 3-point games in the West, though, it could take even more.”

Well yes, but so could an unusually low number of 3-point games make it even less. Again, a faulty probability matrix spits out a number that may or may not be a true benchmark.

Player-X, on the other hand, broke it down this way:

“The West has averaged a requirement of 93.8 points over the last 5 years, being 95, 97, 95, 91 and 91. 93.8 out of a possible 164 equals getting 54.91 points from a possible 96. So, we round to 55, and our range is likely to be 54-56 points for the lowest team to get in with.”

I imagine Sportsclubstats takes all these numbers into account as well, but maybe not. Regardless, it certainly makes sense given the averages cited that the playoff threshold could end up being in that range.

However, it appears that no one has considered the only other 48 game season (in the modern era) as a means of calculating the possbile outcome of this season. At the end of the shortened 1994-95 season only 3 teams in the West had point totals 55 or above to make the playoffs and only 4 in the East. The Sharks and Stars made it in with only 42 points!

Yes, yes, I know. 3 point games weren’t invented by Bettman yet. But does that mean these numbers are irrelevant? Maybe. Maybe not.

A cursory examination of the final standings that year reveal that even with 3-point games added in, many teams would have made the playoffs with less than 54 points.

Take San Jose, for example, who finished in 7th place with 42 points. They had 4 ties. Let’s be generous and give them 4 more wins and points. That’s only 46 points, good for 7th place and a playoff berth. Or take Vancouver who had 12 ties and finished in 6th place with 48 points. Giving them a reasonable 6 more points lands them at 54… and that’s good enough for 6th place.

Perhaps a math whiz can explain why the only other lockout-shortened season means absolutely nothing from a statistical standpoint. Or maybe there’s something to it and Kings fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their team is far from out of it, even with a losing streak built in.


Editor’s note: The clip above of Quisp, er, I mean Brad Pitt got me thinking about another aspect of the 1994-95 season. What if the entire approach to a 48 game season, with all the truncated game decision permutations and incalculable human emotions has an effect on the outcome that is vastly different than an 82 game season? Strategy, preparation, mindset, focus, travel, etc. All these things are not equal to a simple slicing of game numbers from a full season through a suspect Artificial Intelligence algorithm that does not calculate critically important factors.

  • http://www.golffor99cents.com Greg O’Kane

    I think 55 is a high number. Definitely not for the top 3 seeds, but after that 55 will probably get you 4,5 or 6. Chicago nor Anaheim won’t be able to maintain their paces, and it’s pity we’re not in the Northwest.

    • Paul Armbruster

      Depending on how one defines the cutoff point, I think it could be as low as 50 points in the West. Last season, the consensus was 95 points when 91 would have done it.

  • Robyn

    As we saw last spring/summer, probabilities mean nothing. No one predicted that the Kings would even make it into the playoffs and once they did, people were acting like it’s some kind of unusual phenomena and they didn’t want to believe the Kings could do it because it was such a statistical probability. I won’t put any stock into the numbers of what it *could* take for any team to get into the playoffs. It’s way too early to tell. When there’s a few games left in the season, then the numbers start to mean something. Even then, they can be skewed (as once again proven by the Kingd)

    • Paul Armbruster

      In the end, it’s a guessing game that even sites like sportsclubstats basically admits. I don’t care how many simulations are run, if the parameters are limited, which the are, then there’s no way to know with any amount of reasonable certainty what the outcome will be.

  • Kingsfanone

    Has anyone taken into consideration corsi, coloumbs, or whatever those things are?

    Maybe someone should ask Dominick, who seems to be one of the few who understands that stuff, besides Lombardi.

    I don’t even have a guess…..

    :-)

    • http://HoldThePoint.com PlayerXatHoldThePoint

      I am pretty sure corsi is a type of pasta.

      • Kingsfanone

        Speaking of which, my GF made basghetti last nite and there is leftover in fridge……..

        Yummmmm!

  • http://HoldThePoint.com PlayerXatHoldThePoint

    Near as I can figure (that’s a math joke, get it?) I say it will be 55, give or take 1 but basically 55, Quisp says it will be 55 unless it is a different number close to 55 but 55 is the leading contender by far, and Niesy says it will be 55 or slightly higher but it should be 55.

    What this means is that if we turn out to be correct and the number is 55, then every one of our methods was absolutely perfect. If it turns out to not be 55, then every method is pure junk.

    However, if we are all wrong, I will then declare victory for having spent the least amount of effort in being incorrect. Hey, same if we are right… See how I did that? It’s a no-lose situation for me now, this is great!

    This subject always brings me amusement when it comes up, year after year. It is an obligatory exercise for gamblers, pundits, commentators and bloggers to figure out, so people do articles on it. So, too is an article about the record required from point X in order for the team to make the previously assigned playoff threshold. The amusement comes from the degree of certainty expressed in trying to predict the future in not only the general (points threshold) but in the specific (record required).

    For me, the subject is a good way to begin a conversation, not a way to define reality. My article was intended to acquaint the reader with the very different impact of points against a total of 96 possible compared to a total of 164 points possible.