A Bunch Of Math Attempting To Convince Me That The Current Warriors Are Better Than The 90’s Bulls

The Complete History Of The NBA

How do you rate an NBA team across decades of play? One method is Elo, a simple measure of strength based on game-by-game results. We calculated Elo ratings for every NBA (and ABA) franchise after every game in history — over 60,000 ratings in total. Read more: How this works | 2016-17 rankings and picks


Golden State (1971-), San Francisco (1962-71), Philadelphia (1946-62)
Four championships

Elo ratings have a simple formula; the only inputs are the final score of each game, and where and when it was played. Teams always gain Elo points for winning. But they get more credit for upset victories and for winning by larger margins. Elo ratings are zero-sum, however. When the Houston Rockets gained 49 Elo points by winning the final three games of their Western Conference semifinal during this year’s playoffs, that meant the Los Angeles Clippers lost 49 Elo points.

A rating of 1500 is approximately average, although the league average can be slightly higher or lower depending on how recently the league has expanded. (Expansion teams begin with a 1300 rating.) Select a team above, and zoom in to explore its history.

1990s Bulls: Formerly The Best There Ever Was

bulls5It’s no surprise that the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — with 72 regular-season wins — had the best Elo rating ever until they were surpassed by the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals. Chicago picked up its fourth NBA championship at the end of that season, but the Bulls hit their peak Elo (1853) a few games earlier when they stomped the SuperSonics 108-86 in Seattle to take a 3-0 lead in the finals and improve their playoff record to 14-1. Chicago went into a “slump” for the next two games — losing both by double digits — before clinching the title in Game 6.

The Lakers’ 33 Games To Greatness

lakersGoing into the 1971-72 season, the Los Angeles Lakers had a middling 1496 Elo rating, in part because their competition was watered down by the NBA’s rapid expansion (the league had gone from nine to 17 franchises in the span of several years). And anchored by aging veterans Elgin Baylor (37 years old), Wilt Chamberlain (35) and Jerry West (33), the team was supposed to be approaching the end of the era, a perception strengthened by Baylor’s retirement just nine games into the season.

Then: the streak. From Nov. 5 through Jan. 7, the Lakers reeled off 33 consecutive wins, raising their Elo rating over 200 points, from 1544 to 1753. That was the team’s peak rating for the season, although the Lakers did go on to win the 1972 title, the franchise’s sixth and its first since 1954.

The ’60s Celtics Don’t Get Any Respect

celticsThe Boston Celtics won 11 of 13 NBA titles from 1957 through 1969, a dominance unparalleled in modern sports. Elo doesn’t care about rings, though, and knocks the Celtics for their weak opponents and occasionally lackluster regular seasons (at least relative to their playoff achievements). Still, the Celtics’ Elo rating hung around 1700 (really good) for much of the era, and the team maintained an above-average Elo rating for over 13 years. Only the 1980s-era Lakers and the current San Antonio Spurs, a team with which those Celtics have a lot in common, put together similar streaks.

The Knicks Peaked A Long Time Ago

best_knicksThe 1969-70 season was a great one for New York basketball. Led by Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dave DeBusschere, the Knicks were 23-1 through Nov. 28 and hit an Elo rating of 1712 — the highest in franchise history. Things were a little less smooth after that: New York went 37-21 to close out the regular season and was taken to seven games twice in the playoffs. By the time the Knicks won the franchise’s first title in May, their rating had fallen to 1591.

It’s been awhile since Nov. 28, 1969. No other active team has an Elo peak so long ago; the next closest are the Bucks (March 8, 1971) and Nets (Feb. 23, 1975, when they were still in the ABA). Every moment of Knicks daylight since — from Linsanity to Larry Johnson’s 4-point play — has not quite lived up to their former glory.

The NBA Is A Shit-Show Right Now

As we approach the NBA All-Star break (Feb 17-19), it seems that just about everybody in the Eastern conference is ready to take a weekend off of work.  Tensions have been rising in Chicago, New York and even in Cleveland where the King is unhappy upon his thrown, peering down amongst his constituents with a scowl that would make bitch-face uneasy.


The NBA’s drama all started to hit the fan when earlier this week, Chicago’s Dwayne Wade explained how his teammates completely sucked, while talking in a post-game interview that threw a wrench into the Bull’s bicycle spokes:

“I’m 35 years old, man,’’ Wade said. “I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts (teammates). They have to want it.”

–Dwayne Wade

Jimmy Butler chimed in:

“I believe in the guys in this locker room, yeah, but I also believe that we probably have to be coached a lot harder at times,” Jimmy Butler said after scoring just 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting one night after he played 56 minutes against the Pistons. “I know Fred is a laidback guy and I respect him for that, but when guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you gotta get on guys, myself included. You gotta do what you’re supposed to do when you’re out there playing basketball.

“We weren’t doing what were supposed to be doing, what we wrote on that board before the game. Nobody spoke up. I did, but probably not enough times. I think he has to hold everybody accountable, from the No. 1 player, all the way down. Everyone has to do their job.”

And apparently Rajon Rondo chimed in via instagram as well:

“My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work. Even in Boston when we had the best record in the league, if we lost a game, you could hear a pin drop on the bus. They showed us the seriousness of the game. My vets didn’t have an influence on the coaching staff. They couldn’t change the plan because it didn’t work for them. I played under one of the greatest coaches, and he held everyone accountable. It takes 1-15 to win. When you isolate everyone, you can’t win consistently. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a bad teammate. My goal is to pass what I learned along. The young guys work. They show up. They don’t deserve blame. If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”

Chicago sounds like a dumpster fire right now, they’re 23-24 overall and spiraling out of control, Fred Hoiberg is on the hot seat.

****UPDATE: Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade will start the game tonight on the bench as a punishment.

The next big, weird, awkward happening is in the Big, Weird, Awkward Apple.  Carmelo Anthony is on the trading block, the latest rumor is a move to the LA Clippers for some combination of Jamaal Crawford (hasn’t he played for the Knicks like 4 times already?), J.J. Redick, and/or Austin Rivers.  My guess is that there will have to be a draft pick fixed into this move on both sides as well.  A Big-4 in LA could be forming with the likes of Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Carmelo Anthony, a solid core that will fight for that 2nd seed in the Western conference for the foreseeable future.

In addition to the Melo-trade talks, Phil Jackson seems to have lost control of this franchise (assuming he ever had control).  Whatever the hell offense they were trying to put together has now been dismantled by ZERO ball movement (Melo), ZERO outside shooting, ZERO defense, while Head Coach/scapegoat Jeff Hornacek gives ZERO fucks anymore:

“I don’t think our guys aren’t trying. Maybe we’re just not capable of it. I don’t know,” Hornacek said. “That’s what we’re going to have to figure out. Maybe you have to play some of these other guys. We might have to mix the lineup up somehow.”

–Jeff Hornacek

If “playing some of these other guys” includes giving Johkim Noah more floor-tic, Phil should just fire Hornacek now and put him out of his misery.

Derrick Rose pulled a disappearing act a few weeks ago, it’s still relatively unexplained as to what really happened with that.  In addition, D-Rose is shooting way too much.  In the last 5 games – all losses – Rose has taken 21.2 shots a game.  In games where Rose plays and the Knicks win, he averages 13.6 FGA.  In losses he averages 17.7 FGA.

And finally, this week Lebron James aired his grievances in true Costanzian form by taking to the media to complain about his front office NOT going hard after Melo, or any other available superstar.  Despite spending more than any other NBA franchise this season, Lebron isn’t content.  The Cavs (30-14) are currently committed to $127.5 million in salaries and $27 million in luxury taxes for this season.  They’ve spent more than any other NBA team over the three-years since Lebron came back.  The most recent acquisition was sharp-shooter Kyle Korver, who has yet to fully mesh with the Cavs’ offensive flow.

While Lebron spoke about the younger, less experienced players like Kay Felder, DeAndre Liggins and Jordan McRae on the Cavs roster:

“No disrespect to DeAndre and to Kay: You think we can rely on them to help us win a playoff game right now?” James said. “And it’s no disrespect to them. But it’s like, it’s not fair to them.”

–Lebron James

I can understand that Lebron wants to remain competitive, you can see he’s smart enough to realize that they’re chasing the Warriors after the Durant addition.  But going media first is always the wrong way to handle things.  Why does this keep happening?  The NBA is plagued by players who are reporting to the media first before handling issues internally, then they complain about the media being too on top of them.  The past two weeks seem particularly gossipy and complainy, maybe the NBA needs a quick break.  All-Star weekend can’t get here soon enough.


CubWagon Defined


Pronunciation: (cub)(wag)(on)

  1. The official Chicago Cubs bandwagon
  2. Informal The act of outsiders who do not call Chicago “home” choosing to cheer for the Cubs, which results in an outrageous spike in fanship that suspiciously coincides with the team performing better.
  3. Informal The hashtag everyone baseball should be using right now

To be clear, at TheCola we don’t support bandwagon fans.  They’re at the top of our hit list.  We just think they’re the worst.  We want loyalties that run 3 generations deep sitting across the bar from us when we’re slinging mud at them during Game 6 of the World Series.  Not bandwagon fans.  Simply put, they just don’t have enough firepower in those situations.

What we do support is the CUBWAGON…..Why?

Because the Yankees and the Sox are out?

Yes, but also because above all individual loyalties what we love the most is BASEBALL. We love everything about it— the game, the buzz, the history.  It all makes for great stories to tell our future grandkids.

The Cubs have the market cornered on “story” right now.  They are baseball’s darling because we all know they’re overdue.  Plus, we’re following the “Sinatra rule”.

Sinatra called New York home.  He also loved Chicago.  LA.  Vegas.  Really anywhere with women and legs for days.  If that logic isn’t enough for you, here’s the adaptation: fans must have a bulletproof reason for repping an away team.

Here’s our reason: 107 years of being made fun of and beaten up in alleyways.  When it comes down to it, we’re sick of all the bullying.

Party on, Chicago. We’re with you.



And Now We Can Officially Root For The Cubs


Between batters getting tagged with wild pitches, bench-clearing “almost-fights” and the Chicago Cubs raking the ball like a grown man playing t-ball in the NL Wildcard game last night, we now have even MORE of a reason to root on the Back To The Future II: Electric Boogaloo – Chicago Cubs in the MLB playoffs now.

That was the biggest swing of the night, (NOT involving a defenseless Gatorade cooler) belonging to Cubs right fielder Kyle Schwarber, who absolutely CRUSHED Gerrit Cole’s third inning pitch for a two-run homer.  That put the Cubs up 3-0 and they never looked back, even after a bench-clearing skirmish in the top of the 7th inning.

After the teams peacocked there way back to their respective benches, Pirates’ utility player Sean Rodriguez was apparently NOT to happy with his ejection for acting like a roid-raged, neanderthal-idiot on the field, so he continued his tough-guy show in the dugout on an unsuspecting, innocent-bystander Gatorade cooler:

Sean Rodriguez seems to greatly enjoy punching inanimate objects, he broke his hand while in Triple-A ball back in 2012 when he punched a locker, I guess the locker had a stronger jaw than this Gatorade cooler.

The Gatorade cooler was unavailable for comment after the game, but the 2012 locker from the Triple-A Durham Bulls locker room released a statement today:

I was a battered locker, I felt ashamed and embarrassed about saying that I was a battered locker until very recently.  Through therapy I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be a “whole locker” again inside and out.  When it happened I didn’t know what to do, but now I know I was in a very dysfunctional, hostile relationship and a victim of domestic locker room, anit-closet violence.  I hope my story and this new incident bring to light the dangers of abusive locker room or dugout relationships.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 11.41.40 AM

Go Cubs

Scottie Pippen and Shaq keep proving they’re retired

Since it’s a slow time during the sports calender, twitter has become the most interesting outlet for wasting a good amount of time during the work day.

Matt Barnes wants to fight Serge Ibaka:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 4.00.40 PM

Stephen A. Smith can’t keep his mouth shut:

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And Scottie Pippen and Shaq are arguing, and arguing, and arguing:

Shaq started the fight by saying he’d take the LA Lakers all-time starting five over the Chicago Bulls all-time starting five any day of the week.  In fact, he said the Lakers would beat the Bulls by 50.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 4.05.05 PM

Simple math:  5 HOFers (LA) beats 3 HOFers (Bulls).

Even though Shaq is obviously correct (not sure about the 5o point win though), Scottie felt the need to stand up for his squad:

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 4.07.57 PM

Sorry @shaq but I don’t get caught up in hypotheticals. All I know is we won 6 titles, twice the amount you claimed while in LA…

Shaq bounced back:

Sorry @scottiepippen I don't believe in hypotheticals either, but I seen most of those final you did ok , but this guy did most the work . #youwereok steve kerr and Ron harper deserve more credit than you , remember I WAS BATMAN YOU WAS ROBIN , I was PUFFY YOU WAS MASE...

Sorry @scottiepippen I don’t believe in hypotheticals either, but I seen most of those final you did ok , but this guy did most the work .
#youwereok steve kerr and Ron harper deserve more credit than you , remember I WAS BATMAN YOU WAS ROBIN , I was PUFFY YOU WAS MASE…

***sidenote: nice jean-shorts (jorts) Scottie***

Shaq KEPT on going:



Go oust and get them sidekick edition Scottie pippen a exclusively on he's a bum.com

Go oust and get them sidekick edition Scottie pippen a exclusively on he’s a bum.com



Scottie snapped back at Shaq like a rubber-band bouncey ball:

Speaking of being a sidekick... if I recall correctly you know a thing or two about that as well. @shaq

Speaking of being a sidekick… if I recall correctly you know a thing or two about that as well. @shaq

Shaq is RELENTLESS (and bored):

@scottiepippen yes THE GREAT MICHAEL JORDAN GOT YOU SIX RINGS , but you will always be remembered as MR 2nd FIDDLE. SECOND BEHIND HIM AND SECOND BEHIND ME. GAME AINT OVER TIL I SAY SO. stay in yo place. 6 time nba CHUMPION

@scottiepippen yes THE GREAT MICHAEL JORDAN GOT YOU SIX RINGS , but you will always be remembered as MR 2nd FIDDLE. SECOND BEHIND HIM AND SECOND BEHIND ME. GAME AINT OVER TIL I SAY SO. stay in yo place. 6 time nba CHUMPION

Then Scottie dropped the mic (at least for today):

Game over, @shaq. All that's ever mattered to me is winning and we did plenty of that in Chicago...

Game over, @shaq. All that’s ever mattered to me is winning and we did plenty of that in Chicago…

I love when grown-up, former athletes take to twitter and prove how good the retired life is.