How many games will the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors Win?

As of March 9, the Golden State Warriors have a 56-6 record – the best through 62 games of any NBA team in history.  It’s really time to discuss whether or not they’ll break the record held by the 95-96 Chicago Bulls of 72 wins. That basically means they can only lose four more games out of the twenty left. I thought it’d be fun to build a data table within Excel to determine the likelihood of breaking the record.

Quick thanks for FiveThirtyEight.com for publishing the winning percentages for the rest of the Dub’s schedule.  With that data, I was able to put together a quick model in excel to determine how many games they are likely to win the rest of this year.

Let’s break down how I did the analysis.

Warriors Remaining Schedule_2016

The first thing I did was build a quick table that showed each of the twenty remaining games, and included the following variables.

Game: The count of each of the remaining Golden State Warriors games.
TM: We’ll focus on the Golden State Warriors which we’ll abbreviate as GSW.
OPP: Opponent
TM%: The GSW team winning percentage in the form of a whole number. (via FiveThirtyEight.com)
OPP% The Opponent team winning percentage. (via FiveThirtyEight.com)
RAND: A random number generated between 1 and 100.
WINNER: A formula that calculates if GSW are the favorites and if the result (RAND) larger than the underdog winning percentage.

Let’s dive deeper into this and look at our first game: GSW vs UTA. Let’s assume that we have 100 marbles in a bucket. 91 of those are labeled GSW, while 9 are labeled 9. At random, I select one of the balls and declare that as my winner.  In order to offset the fact that GSW could be underdogs in a game, I wrote a formula that returns the team that would win based on the random number. Test it out – I think it works pretty well.

After this table was completed, I wanted to replicate this process 5,000 times. This is where the data table function in Excel is so useful. The iteration table below is what I calculated within Excel to offset some of the variance I would get from just doing the simulation once.

Warriors Iterations_2016

After all of that, I calculated a quick histogram based on how many total wins the Dub’s would get between 56 and 82.  Here are the results below.

Warriors Predicted Schedule_2015-16

Based on all of this analysis, the Golden State Warriors have a 62% chance to either tie or beat the record for most wins in a season. Specifically, they have a 25% chance of exactly tying – the highest likelihood of any full season record.

There is the second highest chance that they will get 73 wins – or one more than the 1995-96 Bulls to break the record. We’ll have to see how the season plays out, but you know that I’ll be watching intently.

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Photo by Keith Allison

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