Measuring March: How strong are the March schedules for the worst teams in the NBA?

Is Rajon Rondo's presence enough for the Celtics to win games in March? - Jared Wickerham

How does the Boston Celtics' schedule in March measure up next to the other worst teams in the NBA?

Do you still think the Boston Celtics have a legitimate chance at making the playoffs? I hope not, because if you do you're in for some serious disappointment after the month of March. Out of the 8 worst teams in the NBA, the Celtics have the most challenging schedule this month.

For the forward-thinking fans, this is good news. Boston's young players will get valuable experience facing difficult opponents, but the team will likely rack up losses like Rajon Rondo does assists.

But losses don't help the Celtics "rise" up the standings if the other bottom-feeders keep losing too. So, how does their schedule in March compare to the rest of the worst teams in NBA? Before we hop into that, take a quick look at their schedule.

From just a quick glance, their opponents are very strong in March. There are 2 games versus Indiana, Toronto, and Chicago, and then other tough games against Golden State, Phoenix, Dallas, and Miami.

There are a few "winnable" games versus Brooklyn, Detroit, New York, and New Orleans, but all 4 of those teams are more talented than Boston, and 2 of them are still in serious playoff contention.

Now, how do the rest of the "Egregious Eight" stack up?

Team Wins Losses Total Games in March Games vs. Worst 8 Opponents Win % Opponents vs. teams below .500
Milwaukee Bucks 11 46 15 5 0.467 0.601
Philadelphia 76ers 15 43 17 4 0.526 0.626
Orlando Magic 18 42 16 4 0.509 0.634
Boston Celtics 20 39 14 1 0.559 0.686
Los Angeles Lakers 20 39 14 3 0.542 0.673
Sacramento Kings 20 38 16 4 0.460 0.593
New York Knicks 21 38 16 9 0.416 0.539
Utah Jazz 21 37 17 5 0.502 0.609

The Celtics' 14 opponents this month have a 55.9 win percentage, which means, on paper, they'll have the most difficult schedule. Their archrival Lakers also have a hard lineup of games, with an opponent win percentage of 54.2.

Carmelo Anthony and the Knickerbockers have lost 11 of their last 13 games, but have an incredibly easy schedule this month, with an opponent win percentage of 41.6.

When you think about it though, it doesn't matter what a team's record is against someone like Indiana or Oklahoma City. How have they done against similar opponents? That's why the final column was added, since it gives a more accurate idea of each schedule.

Even then, the Celtics and Lakers will be challenged the most this month, with 68.6 and 67.3 opponent win percentages, respectively. And the same goes for the Knicks, at 53.9 percent. Every other team is pretty much in the same boat when it comes to their strength of schedule.

But the Celtics also have something else going for them since they only face a single common opponent this month, the Knicks. Every other team has at least 3 games versus other deadbeats.

Think about it this way: the Knicks have 9 games against the other 7 teams on that list; someone has to win! Sorry Knicks, Lakers, and '6ers tankers, "crying won't help ya, praying won't do you no good," because one of those teams has to win those games.

This is wonderful news for the Celtics, since it's a guarantee that teams surrounding them in the standings will at least pick up a few wins. Of course, there are no promises for star draft picks or blockbuster trades, but history says they'll at least have a better chance of that happening.

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