- The Charlotte Hornets are currently the only team in the NBA's Southeast Division with a positive point differential.
- I looked at historical data to see when point differential stabilizes and whether there's value in betting the Hornets' division odds.
The NBA’s Southeast Division features four teams (Hornets, Heat, Magic and Wizards) that are all at or below .500 and within two games of the division race. While we may safely exclude the Atlanta Hawks from consideration, trying to separate the other four Southeast Division teams is far more difficult.
Or is it?
There is one major stat with which these teams differ markedly: point differential (or Net Rating, which is points scored per 100 possessions minus points allowed per 100 possessions).
As you can see, the Hornets boast the eighth-best point differential in the league and the only positive mark among their division mates.
And that’s important because year-over-year, point differential is more predictive of future win percentage than current win percentage is.
This seems to suggest that — barring injuries or otherwise unforeseen circumstances — the Hornets are poised to ascend to the peak of the Southeast Division race.
Interestingly, however, their futures odds to win the division do not universally reflect this.