Count this one among the oddest statistical anomalies we have discovered recently.
Over the course of franchise history, in its various incarnations, the Nets have a total record of just 1509-1869, good (bad?) for a winning percentage of just .447. They have made the playoffs in just 23 of their 41 years, not counting this current one. We know all this; we’re Nets fans. We suffer.
But there is one circumstance in which the Nets have been consistently good: The season held after a U.S. President is elected and sworn into office.
But that doesn’t tell the entire story. The success of the Nets is actually tied to whether a U.S. President ultimately serves one or two terms. Historically, if the Nets play well the season after a president is elected and inaugurated, he is likely to be reelected. His reelection chances if the Nets play poorly? Fuhgettaboutit. And hey, just for good measure, the Nets tend to be pretty dominant the season after a U.S. President is reelected, for those fortunate enough to do so. I know; right now you’re thinking that I’m making this up. Let’s look at the numbers.
Since coming into existence, the Nets have witnessed four two-term presidents: Richard Nixon (inaugurated in 1969 and 1973); Ronald Reagan (inaugurated in 1981 and 1985); Bill Clinton (inaugurated in 1993 and 1997); and George W. Bush, inaugurated in 2001 and 2005. In the season following each of those eight events (i.e., 1969-70, 1973-74, 1981-82, 1985-86, 1993-94, 1997-98, 2001-02, and 2005-06), the Nets have had a combined record of 366-294, a winning percentage of 55.5%. That’s an average mark of approximately 46-36. They have made the playoffs each of those eight years. How’s t hat for consistency?
Now for the other side of the presidential seal. During their existence, they have witnessed the election of two one-term presidents: George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. In the two seasons following their inaugurations, the Nets were a combined 41-123—a pathetic mark under any standard. Perhaps President Obama should become a Nets fan!
So how will the Nets perform in 2009-2010? The world will be watching. . . . and we suspect that political operatives will be phoning Coach Frank about his rotation.
[Just don’t ask me to explain Gerald Ford. Ford's ascent to the presidency occurred smack in the middle of the Nets' most successful three-year period in their history, during which they won two ABA titles, sandwiched around the season in which they achieved their highest win total.]