NBA Power Ranking (by Relative Winning %)

I objectively power ranked the National Basketball Association using a comparative technique I call “Relative Winning Percentage”.

What is “Relative Winning Percentage”?

“Relative Winning Percentage” is a pretty simple calculation and its done like this.  First I split each team’s schedule into home and road games.  Then I compare each team’s pythagorean winning percentage at home to the rest of the NBA’s pythagorean winning percentage at home against the very same opponents.  Then I subract the team average from the NBA average to get the team’s comparative difference.  Next I do the exact same thing for the team’s road schedule.  Then I average the two differences and add .500% to that average to get the team’s “Relative Winning Percentage”.

Basically, Relative Winning Percentage tells you how each team’s performance compares to the performance of the rest of the NBA against the same schedule.  Thus it accounts for location and for strength of opponent.  The new twist is the home/road 50/50 split.  I decided to add that twist because I realized that even if you account for homecourt advantage many NBA teams simply perform at different levels at home than they do on the road.  Realizing that, I wanted to give equal weight to both because I think that doing so gives a truer picture of team strength and, more importantly, a team’s likely playoff performance.

(Calculation Example:  The Bucks Pythagorean Home Winning % is .578%.  Playing the same home schedule, the rest of the NBA has a Pythagorean Home Winning % of .580%.  The Bucks Pythagorean Road Winning % is .319%.  Playing the same road schedule, the rest of the NBA has a Pythagorean Road Winning % of .433%.  Thus the Bucks are (-.002) at home and (-.114) on the road, which averages to (-.058).  Add .500 to that and you get the Bucks “Relative Winning Percentage” of  .442% ).

With that explanation, here is the NBA Power Ranking as of January 4, 2010.  In my next two posts I will rank each team separately according to home and road strength.

NBA POWER RANKING (using Relative Winning Percentage)

1. Cleveland Cavaliers__________(.676%)

2. Atlanta Hawks_______________(.673%)

3. Boston Celtics_______________(.666%)

4. LA Lakers___________________(.663%)

5. Orlando Magic_______________(.653%)

6. San Antonio Spurs____________(.649%)

7. Denver Nuggets______________(.642%)

8. Dallas Mavericks______________(.619%)

9. Phoenix Suns_________________(.613%)

10. Oklahoma City Thunder_______(.584%)

11. Houston Rockets______________(.571%)

12. Portland Trailblazers__________(.567%)

13. Utah Jazz_____________________(.552%)

14. Miami Heat___________________(.513%)

15. Memphis Grizzlies_____________(.491%)

16. Charlotte Bobcats_____________(.483%)

17. Toronto Raptors______________(.450%)

18. Sacramento Kings_____________(.446%)

19. Milwaukee Bucks______________(.442%)

20. New Orleans Hornets__________(.417%)

21. New York Knicks______________(.401%)

22. LA Clippers___________________(.399%)

23. Detroit Pistons________________(.392%)

24. Golden State Warriors__________(.389%)

25. Washington Wizards___________(.383%)

26. Philadelphia Sixers____________(.380%)

27. Chicago Bulls_________________(.359%)

28. Indiana Pacers________________(.346%)

29. Minnesota Timberwolves_______(.230%)

30. New Jersey Nets_______________(.208%)

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2 Responses to “NBA Power Ranking (by Relative Winning %)”

  1. Serhat Says:

    Nice analysis but lacks. You should take rest days into account. Your assumption is what if every team would be playing same road/home schedules but as you know each team plays in different frequency over the course of regular season. Keep up the good work!

    • tywill33 Says:

      Oh, you’re completely correct. This is by no means a be-all, end-all analysis.

      There are other factors I haven’t taken into account like injuries, etc.

      I guess at some point, though, it kind of becomes a balancing test between reliability and complexity.

      I think its pretty reliable as far as it goes. But it certainly could be tweaked to improve the analysis, you’re very right.

      Thanks for the comment!

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