NBA Standings, Visualized Over Time

You can now find the latest NBA standings on Vorped.  But big deal right?  You can get the same info on hundreds of sites.

In addition to your basic tabular-and-sorted-by-best-team standings, I tried to put my own spin on it.  So I created an interactive chart plotting each team’s win/loss record or win percentage over the course of the season.  It’s just a run-of-the-mill line graph, or time-series graph, but I hope that the interactive elements make this a little more useful than what’s currently been done.

Some features:

  • Split the line graph into multiple line graphs, broken out by conference or division.  This creates a small multiples graphs, sometimes also known as panel or Trellis graphs, allowing you to compare subsets of teams by their logical conference/divisional affiliations.

  • Change the time component from games played to date played.  Not all teams play the same number of games at each point during the season.  This feature lets you control that, so for example you can find teams with high winning percentages that haven’t played many games (“paper tigers”).
  • Hover over a line to show the associated team.  Or, click on the line to keep the team line highlighted.  Showing all team names on each graph made the visualization too chaotic.  By taking the labels off the lines, I lost some clarity in the graph, but also I found myself exploring the teams that I would normally skim over in a standings table, like the Bucks or the Bobcats, but who have had interesting journeys that I would have not otherwise have seen.  And for your mobile/tablet folks, clicking on lines gives similar functionality to hovering over lines.

The visualization isn’t as clean as I first envisioned, but I still believe it provides some additional insight I had never gotten before.  My favorite feature is the breakout on divisions, where I learned the Warriors are right on the heels of the Clippers for first in the Pacific.  Really?  Who knew?!

My second favorite feature is to toggle the time dimension between date played and games played.  Date played looks like chaos, while changing to games played seemingly creates order out of it.

Please let me know what you think, and if this presentation can be done better, (and oh yes, it definitely can be).

NBA Standings – Table and TIme Series Visualization





1 thought on “NBA Standings, Visualized Over Time”

  1. So whatever happened to these graphs? I thought they were pretty awesome as for some reason there is nothing similar out there on the web. Text doesn’t exactly let you visualize the changes as well as a graph does surprisingly….

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