No Place Like Home: Who Has The Best Homecourt Advantage?

October 16, 2012

By Jonathan Gordon


A study from the Wharton School in University of Pennsylvania shows that home-court advantage has the greatest impact in the NBA with home teams winning roughly 61% of their games.  (This compares to 58% for the NFL, 55% for the NHL, and just 54% for the MLB.)   Within the NBA, which franchises maximize this advantage?  Which team has the best ‘home-court advantage’? 


This study takes a look at the last two seasons (2010-2011, 2011-2012), giving a sample size of 148 games per team (74 home, 74 away). 

The method: The study calculates the difference between the win percentage at home and on the road.  These differences are then compared across the league giving a master ranking of the best home-court advantages. 


Example:  Denver Nuggets
ROAD W-L:  35-39
ROAD %: 47.3%
HOME W-L: 53-21
HOME %: 71.6%


Why not just rank the teams based on best win percentages at home?  If a team wins 75% of their games at home, and 73% of their games on the road, is their home-court advantage that great?  No.  The team is simply very, very good, whether it be at home or on the road.  Rather, a team that wins merely 40% of their games on the road and 70% at home experiences a major advantage when playing on their own court. 


5) Boston Celtics (25.67% difference)
Arena: TD Garden

4) Los Angeles Clippers (29.7%)
Arena: Staples Center

3) Detroit Pistons (31.1%)
Arena: The Palace of Auburn Hills


2) Portland Trailblazers (32.4%)
Arena: Rose Garden Arena


1) Memphis Grizzlies (33.8%)
Arena: FedEx Forum


Complete Rankings:
1) Memphis
2) Portland
3) Detroit
4) Los Angeles Clippers
5) Boston
6) Washington
7) New Jersey
8) Denver
9) San Antonio
10) Utah
11) Golden State
12) Houston
13) Indiana
14) Los Angeles Lakers
15) Philadelphia
16) Toronto
17) New York
18) Chicago
19) Miami
20) Milwaukee
21) Orlando
22) Dallas
23) Phoenix
24) New Orleans
25) Oklahoma City
26) Atlanta
27) Charlotte
28) Sacramento
29) Minnesota
30) Cleveland

There’s no place like Boston/Los Angeles/Detroit/Portland/Memphis.