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Brew Hoop NBA W-Index: December Update!

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* frantic bell ringing *

It’s that time of year. The weather is colder, the holidays are looming, and most importantly, the Brew Hoop W-Index markets are open!

For those who may not recall, we came up with a mock stock market for the NBA. Our full introduction can be found here, but here’s a refresher of the overview for you:

Wouldn’t it be fun to pit Brew Hoop staffers against each other in an oversimplified version of the stock market, where we would buy and sell “shares” in teams based on their winning percentage, and use it to predict how we think teams will end up? And with a resounding “maybe,” the Brew Hoop W-Index (BHWI) was born.

Without too much over-explanation, the premise of the game is this: each player was given $1,000 to invest in NBA teams. The price for each team was equal to their 2016-17 win total, and now that we’ve seen nearly 30 games, the new price is equal to each team’s extrapolated winning percentage.

For you visual learners out there, here is the updated price summary, with the Cycle 1 prices included, as well as Kevin Pelton’s original RPM Win Projections. This is all to show how much things have changed between then and Cycle 2, which started on Tuesday, December 19:

As you can see, there have been a fair amount of changes thus far. The majority of the league’s bottom rung teams have improved their value by a fair margin, led by the Minnesota Timberwolves (+$17), the New York Knicks (+$13), and the Philadelphia 76ers (+$12).

A quartet of top-end teams also significantly grew in share price: the Houston Rockets lead the way at +$16, followed by the Boston Celtics (+$12), the Cleveland Cavaliers (+$10), and the Toronto Raptors (+$9).

Not everybody is a winner, though. The Los Angeles Clippers fell off a cliff (-$20) due to injury, and the dreadful Atlanta Hawks (-$23), Memphis Grizzlies (-$18), and Chicago Bulls (-$16) are a far sight from where they were last season.

Bucks fans will be unimpressed by the Milwaukee Bucks’ performance on the BHWI; in a season where 50 wins was expected (both externally and internally), the team was on pace for only 44 victories, which is a mere +$2 change from August 2017.


Moving from the league at large to our group of brave volunteers, here is where the BHWI Leaderboard sat as of Tuesday afternoon, when we concluded Cycle 1:

Congratulations, everybody’s a winner! Nobody in the game dipped below their starting budget of $1,000, even after “penalizing” players by the amount of any money left over. Some of us won more than others, though, with Eric K. leading the way by a strong margin and Adam lagging behind the pack. But don’t take my word for it; let them tell you how they feel about their portfolio.

Eric K: Despite being on top of the leader board, I still feel like there is room for my portfolio to improve. I am happy with Brooklyn, Minnesota and Philadelphia all significantly increasing their share values and I cannot complain with the Lakers at least making me some profit. Charlotte was my only loss of Cycle One but I am still confident they can bounce back. They open up with a tough schedule (Milwaukee twice, Boston and Golden State) but after that the level of competition drops dramatically. That combined with a weak division make me feel good about them at least making my investment back.

Mitchell: Like literally everybody else, I believed that Minnesota was going to make a big jump. Boston also outperformed expectations early, but I feel like they may have plateaued a bit. Phoenix and Brooklyn are predictably better than they were last year (though not by much), and the Sixers have been extremely good with Joel Embiid on the court. I feel bullish heading into Cycle 2.

Kyle: Overall, I am content with how I did. Minnesota seemed like the obvious so that wasn’t too difficult. Betting on Brooklyn and Philly were my two biggest risk so those going my way helped. I’m hoping Milwaukee can turn things around and play up to the level they themselves had set before the season. It’s my own fault that I believed in a team that had Dwight Howard on the roster so the investment in Charlotte isn’t looking too good. I like my odds going into Cycle 2.

Rachael: Well, I’m not in last place. Therefore, I am happy. Mitchell and I were the only ones to pick six different teams, and I’m still not sure how he managed to grab the Celtics. I have to admit, I only picked up the Nets because they were cheap. Their 11-19 record is actually better than I predicted. I think I’m sitting pretty good at the moment, especially considering how small the margin of points is between Mitchell, Kyle, and me.

Greg: I should have followed Eric’s lead and taken more than five shares of multiple teams. If my memory serves right I originally had 10 T-Wolves shares and zero Hornets shares, but I foolishly wanted to spread the wealth. Luckily, I was the only one that believed in the Detroit Pistons, so a big thank you goes out to Stan Van Gundy and Co. for keeping me out of the leaderboard cellar. That being said, I have to make aggressive moves in Cycle 2 if I even want to be a W-Index contender instead of a pretender.

Adam: Look, I should’ve known better than to bet big on fart-joke king Dwight Howard and a Mavericks team that’s bottomed out yet toppled Milwaukee the last two seasons. The Minnesota bet was a safe one across the board, but I’m feeling bullish on investing big into Denver. Sure they haven’t exceeded expectations drastically, but they’re due to gel now that Millsap’s had more time to integrate. Brooklyn was due for improvement based on their (admittedly flawed) talent influx. I’m feeling all right even though I’m trudging through water I’ve taken on in the basement if only because both Charlotte and Dallas both rank in the top-five toughest schedules so far this year.


This is where everything stood at the end of Cycle 1. Join us soon for the beginning of Cycle 2, where we talk about stocks that we sold, held, or bought, and why. You can play along in the comments, as well as let us know who made good (or bad) decisions!