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This week’s mailbag features your questions on Robin Lopez balling against teams without mascots, home-court advantage in the playoffs, and more.
@ZachLowe_NBA Seems like this demands a statistical analysis on whether Lopez does better against teams without costumed mascots.
— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) April 19, 2017
During Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls‘ series with the Boston Celtics, mascot enthusiast and ESPN writer Zach Lowe attributed Robin Lopez‘s successful play in this series (he’s got 32 points on 14-of-20 shooting and 18 rebounds through two games) to the Celtics’ lack of a traditional mascot. (Boston is the only NBA team that instead uses a human mascot, Lucky the Leprechaun.)
Chad Ford updates his NBA mock draft with the latest changes to the draft order and top prospects declaring for 2017.
How big an advantage do stars give their teams, as in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto and Jimmy Butler’s Chicago Bulls vs. Boston? Kevin Pelton looks at the real impact.
Naturally, this got me thinking about a study. Including the Celtics, there are five teams without a traditional mascot: the Brooklyn Nets (who retired the BrooklyKnight in 2014 after just two seasons), the Golden State Warriors (who retired their mascot, Thunder, after Oklahoma City adopted the nickname), the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks.
Lo and behold, Lopez has dominated those teams this season. His best game score per 36 minutes, using John Hollinger’s measure of single-game play, came against the Celtics and the Lakers, with the Nets and Warriors also in the top six. Even after we account for these teams have tended to play worse against centers (based on