December 25, 2009

NBA Power Rankings and Why the Lakers Will Repeat

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 11:40 am

After adjusting for strength of opponent here is how well each NBA team has played so far. For example, so far the Hawks have been the NBA’s best team playing 7.3 points better than average while the Nets have been the league’s worst team playing 13 points worse than average.

Eastern Conference

Team

Rating

ATL

7.3

BOS

7.1

ORL

6.9

CLE

3.7

MIA

0.4

MIL

-0.4

CHA

-1.2

TOR

-1.5

DET

-2.2

NYK

-2.7

PHI

-3.3

WAS

-3.6

CHI

-5.3

IND

-5.7

NJN

-13

 

Western Conference

Team

Rating

POR

5.8

DEN

5.7

LAL

4

DAL

3.9

SAS

3.9

HOU

3.8

PHO

3.7

UTA

3.1

OKC

1.9

MEM

-1.3

NOH

-2

SAC

-2.3

LAC

-4

GSW

-4.8

MIN

-8.5

 

            In the East it looks like anyone but the Bulls, Pacers and Nets have a shot at the playoffs. In the West the first 8 appear set unless the Thunder improves even more.

     You probably say how can the Lakers be only 4 points better than average? Remember Gasol missed a lot of games, and the Lakers played poorly with him out. To win the NBA title a team must play around 15 points better than average.  Since teams can shorten their rotation in the playoffs, usually a team can play at this elite level. Based on their track record so far (and barring injuries), I believe the Lakers can easily ascend to this elite level of performance. Here’s how.

Keep at least 3 of Gasol, Odom, Bryant and Artest  (or just Artest and Bryant on the court). During these minutes the Lakers play 16 points better than average. The rest of the time the Lakers play 21 points worse than average.

Assuming that Gasol, Bryant, Artest and Odom log 36 minutes, it should be easy to keep these combinations on the court at almost all times. No other team seems to have the potential to play at this high a level.

5 Comments »

  1. Ever run your Adjusted +/- against a database of just games against playoff level opponents or the top 10? I’d think that would be additional help in assessing playoff strength.

    Comment by Crow — December 29, 2009 @ 12:45 am

  2. It is early but the Lakers only have the 6th best record against the top 10.

    Cavs and Hawks have the lead on that at the moment.

    Comment by Crow — December 29, 2009 @ 12:49 am

  3. Of the 12 lineups rates on Adjusted +/- at basketballvalue the 8 positive lineups all had 3+ of the 4 guys you mentioned while the 4 negative lineups had 3 of them twice and just 2 twice. It is a pretty good rule of thumb.

    Comment by Crow — December 29, 2009 @ 12:57 am

  4. All but one of the positive Cav lineups have Varejao-James and the one made it with just Varejao.

    Only 4 positive lineups on Adjusted for Atlanta and they all have 2 of Bibby, Smith, Horford. They all have Johnson too but player level Adjusted suggests he isn’t as pivotal. Right or wrong.

    Only 3 positive lineups on Adjusted for Boston. 2 of the 3 have Rondo-Allen as the leading Adjusted +/- force. 2 of the 3 had Garnett, while Pieerce was in just one.

    Only 2 of the 10 positive lineups on Adjusted for Orlando had 3+ of Carter, Williams, Barnes and Howard. They might be able to do better with greater concentration of Adjusted power.

    In Dallas basketvalue’s Adjusted is claiming it is all about Notwitski-Marion. With the top 6 positives lineups all having that.

    In Denver Adjusted would lead to believe Hilario, Martin, Andersen are the motors. 11 of 12 positive on Adjusted lineups have 2 of those guys.

    Comment by Crow — December 29, 2009 @ 1:14 am

  5. Great comments! Thanks

    Comment by wwinston — December 29, 2009 @ 9:54 am

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