To Natt or Not to Natt Part Deux

From the FanPosts -

Okay, you know my opinion pretty well by now. I don't think we have enough information or reason to fire Westphal yet. We have an extremely young team who is playing like an extremely young team. However, after reading Section 214's great post comparing records of teams that changed coaches in mid-stream, before and after the change,I thought I'd take it a step further.

Knowing that we are one of the worst ten teams in the NBA this year (at least by record) and knowing that we are about 20 games into the season, I thought I'd compare the records of the ten worst teams for the last three years, 20 games into the season and the remaining 62 games.The idea was that by using bad teams who did not change coaches, you would have a control group to compare to teams that did change coaches in mid-season.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, as a whole, teams winning percentage for the first 20 games of the season and the last 62 are nearly identical. However, there is a difference between teams that change coaches and teams that do not.

The lengthy table after the jump.

    Next    Twenty
Win% 1st 20 Win % rest of season
 Coaching     change?  Improved?

       W       L      W         L


Nets 1 19 11 51 5.00% 17.74%   Y Better
T-Wolves 3 17 12 50 15.00% 19.35%   N Better
Kings 9 11 16 46 45.00% 25.81%   N Worse
Wizards 7 13 19 43 35.00% 30.65%   N Worse
Warriors 6 14 20 42 30.00% 32.26%   N Better
Sixers 5 15 22 40 25.00% 35.48%   N Better
Pistons 8 12 19 43 40.00% 30.65%   N Worse
Clippers 9 11 20 42 45.00% 32.26%   Y Worse
Knicks 5 15 24 38 25.00% 38.71%   N Better
Hornets 9 11 28 34 45.00% 45.16%   Y Better

Kings 5 15 12 50 25.00% 19.35%   Y Worse
Wizards 4 16 15 47 20.00% 24.19%   Y Better
Clippers 4 16 15 47 20.00% 24.19%   N Better
Knicks 9 11 23 39 45.00% 37.10%   N Worse
Thunder 2 18 21 41 10.00% 33.87%   Y Better
Raptors 8 12 25 37 40.00% 40.32%   Y Better
Grizzlies 5 15 19 43 25.00% 30.65%   Y Better
Bucks 8 12 26 36 40.00% 41.94%   N Better
T-Wolves 4 16 20 42 20.00% 32.26%   Y Better
Nets 11 9 23 39 55.00% 37.10%   N Worse

Heat 5 15 10 52 25.00% 16.13%   N Worse
Sonics 5 15 15 47 25.00% 24.19%   N Worse
Grizzlies 6 14 16 46 30.00% 25.81%   N Worse
Knicks 6 14 17 45 30.00% 27.42%   N Worse
T-Wolves 3 17 19 43 15.00% 30.65%   N Better
Bucks 8 12 18 44 40.00% 29.03%   N Worse
Clippers 8 12 15 47 40.00% 24.19%   N Worse
Bobcats 8 12 24 38 40.00% 38.71%   N Worse
Bulls 7 13 26 36 35.00% 41.94%   Y Better
Kings 8 12 30 32 40.00% 48.39%   N Better

Average 186 414 580 1280 31.00% 31.18%
10 With Change 54 146 197 423 27.00% 31.77%
20 w/o Change 132 268 383 857 33.00% 30.89%


As you can see, teams that experienced a coaching change mid-season averaged a 4% improvement over the last 62 games of the season. Teams that did not change coaches averaged about a 1% decrease in winning %. Over the course of 60 games, that averages out to about a three game difference. Of the ten teams that changed coaches, eight of them won more games and two lost more. Of the twenty that did not change coaches, eight won more games and twelve lost more games.

The Kings were worse one year with a change, worse one year without a change, and better one year without a change. 

Does this prove anything? I guess if you want it to, it does. If you want to fire Westphal, this gives you a little more ammunition. Three wins is three wins. And the numbers seem to bear out that changing coaches does not automatically mean you will lose more games--even with an interim coach. If you want to keep Westphal, you can argue that three more wins is not going to do much, or that we are one of only two teams to buck this trend with Natt.

Ultimately, I think what it says is while Wins and Loses should be a factor, they should not be the deciding factor. The Kings are not going to be a significantly worse or better team this season regardless of whether we change coaches or not. If Westphal is stifling our younger players or creating unnecessary stress, he should go. The most important thing at this point in the year is that we see growth as players and as a team.

If he has a good plan, and the players are the ones struggling to stick to the plan, we should probably keep him. Our record won't be much different, and at least we can tell the next head coach we hire that we gave PW the benefit of the doubt.

Either way, we are looking at a lottery pick again. And if things go as this table seems to indicate, we will be a top five pick . . . again.


I am not comparing records or teams after the coaching change itself, since Section did that so well in his post. Therefore, you have teams that changed coaches a dozen games into the season and late in the season. You also have a few teams with more than two coaches in a season. The question here was simply, if we change coaches mid-season, what can we expect.

This post was not edited by LPA. All mistakes grammatical and otherwise are my own.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)

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