Courtside Analyst “NBA Power Index”

Below is my first “NBA Power Index” rankings for 2010-11.  The rankings are entirely objective and they are based solely upon a calculation I call “point value over average”. 

PVOA rates each team according to their average number of points scored and points allowed compared to the expected number of points scored and points allowed by the rest of the NBA against the same schedule and given the same number of possessions. 

As an example, let’s look at last night’s San Antonio-Charlotte game.  According to Hoopdata, each team had 93 possessions in that game.  In 93 possessions, Charlotte would be expected to score 92.1 points and allow 97.7 points.  In fact, Charlotte scored 91 points and allowed 95 points.  Thus, for that game, San Antonio’s offensive PVOA was (-2.7) and their defensive PVOA was (+1.1).  Note that I use the (+) symbol to indicate “above average” PVOA for both offense and defense.  San Antonio’s overall PVOA for last night’s game was (-1.6).

The one thing PVOA does not adjust for is location (home/away).  I tried it but the benefit did not equal the cost in time.  It just took too long, plus it tended to “overadjust” and produce bad results.  The straight PVOA worked better, and that’s what I use below.

Once again, I apologize for my lack of html skills.  I cannot embed graphs like Arturo and other do, so I have to german engineer my rankings.  The first number is the team’s overall PVOA.  The second number is offensive PVOA, and the third number is defensive PVOA.  Remember also, (+) always means “above the average”.

NBA POWER INDEX
1. LA Lakers…(+12.7)………..(+9.7)………….(+3.0)
2. Miami Heat….(+12.6)………..(+5.1)………..(+7.5)
3. New Orl Hornets…(+8.4)………(+3.8)………(+4.6)
4. Orlando Magic…(+7.9)……….(+1.0)………..(+6.9)
5. Boston Celtics…(+5.7)…………(+1.1)………..(+4.6)
6. Dallas Mavericks…(+4.9)……….(+0.3)………(+4.6)
7. Denver Nuggets…(+4.0)………..(+6.3)………..(-2.3)
8. Atlanta Hawks…(+2.7)………….(+5.7)………….(-2.9)
9. Houston Rockets…(+2.4)……….(+6.1)………….(-3.7)
10. Phoenix Suns…(+1.9)…………(+5.4)…………..(-3.5)
11. New York Knicks…(+1.8)………(+1.0)………..(+0.8)
12. Chicago Bulls…(+1.8)………(+0.3)………….(+1.5)
13. Portland Trailblazers…(+1.6)…….(+2.5)…….(-0.9)
14. San Antonio Spurs…(+1.3)………(+2.2)………(-0.9)
15. Memphis Grizzlies…(+0.6)……..(-2.3)………..(+2.9)
16. Golden St Warriors…(+0.6)……..(+0.6)……..(+0.0)
17. Philadelphia Sixers…(-0.2)……..(+0.3)………(-0.5)
18. Milwaukee Bucks…(-2.3)………(-6.8)………..(+4.5)
19. New Jersey Nets…(-2.3)……….(-1.2)………..(-1.1)
20. Toronto Raptors…(-2.3)……….(-1.0)………..(-1.3)
21. Cleveland Cavaliers…(-2.9)………(+0.1)……….(-3.0)
22. Los Angeles Clippers…(-3.9)…….(-3.1)……..(-0.8)
23. Utah Jazz…(-4.8)…………(-3.5)…………..(-1.3)
24. Detroit Pistons…(-5.3)……….(-1.1)………..(-4.2)
25. Okla City Thunder…(-6.2)………..(-1.4)………..(-4.8)
26. Indiana Pacers…(-6.4)…………(-4.7)………….(-1.7)
27. Sacramento Kings…(-6.5)……….(+0.7)………..(-7.2)
28. Washington Wizards….(-6.8)…….(-4.9)……….(-1.9)
29. Charlotte Bobcats…(-7.7)………(-1.4)……….(-6.3)
30. Minnesota Wolves…(-13.4)……..(-7.4)………(-6.0)       

ANALYSIS

The Lakers and the Heat appear to be separating themselves from the rest of the NBA, but its early.  The Lakers do it with offense, the Heat with defense.  I really think the additions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake have helped shore up some weak spots in the Lakers rotation and it has made them an even better team. 

The most disappointing team so far has been the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They are off to an awful start.  Was last season a fluke?  Another disappointment has been the Portland Trailblazers.  I thought they would be much better.  Of course, they have not had center Greg Oden at all, and they use Marcus Camby like he is a second string bench player.

A personal disappointment has been the Timberwolves.  I really thought the Wolves would be better.  If anything, they look worse.  Much worse.  Its clear that Kurt Rambis needs to be fired immediately.  The Timberwolves are playing a fast paced ragged brand of basketball that is totally anachronistic to the modern game and totally ill-suited to their personnel.  Rambis’ style is getting the Wolves blown out on a nightly basis.

The Bucks have the worst offense in the NBA, but the sixth best defense.  Their defense is keeping them afloat.

One other notable team is the New York Knickerbockers.  They have finally discovered the art of guarding opponents, and it has paid off.  I don’t think I’ve ever ranked them in the top 15 before.

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9 Responses to “Courtside Analyst “NBA Power Index””

  1. Chicago Tim Says:

    NBA Playbook had a great post about how the Timberwolves could be better at running the Triangle Offense.

    http://nbaplaybook.com/2010/10/26/how-can-the-timberwolves-run-the-triangle-effectively/

    My Bulls need to pick it up if they are going to be numbered among the elite teams. I think they are all still getting used to playing each other, and Coach T is still getting to know his team. They could lose quite a few games during their trip out west before Boozer returns.

    It would help if Rose would trust his teammates to score, stay away from the 16-23 foot shot, and stop jumping into the air without knowing where he wants to pass the ball. As Arturo says, he still looks like a talented rookie making rookie mistakes. Will he ever learn?

    Other surprises: so far the Wizards are not the worst team in the NBA, let alone in history. The Kings were supposed to be better than this, right? So was Golden State, right? The Hornets are playing out of their minds. And as you say, the Lakers are even better than advertised while Portland and the Thunder are worse than expected.

    But — small sample size. Thanks for the update, though.

  2. tywill33 Says:

    If past is reliable precedent, the rankings will solidify around December 10th.

    If the Wizards are not the worst team ever, the Timberwolves might be. They’re employing this fast paced reckless style that is the basketball equivalent of the “truck with no driver” fighting style employed by Minnesota farm boy Brock Lesner in his last fight. And they are getting similar results.

    How did the Bucks lose to them?

  3. Chicago Tim Says:

    I’m hoping the Bulls ranking is not solid on Dec 10, as they will just be getting Boozer back and will just be finishing a very tough schedule. If they are a .500 team at that point, I’ll be very happy and confident that they will improve.

  4. EvanZ Says:

    Houston fans should be happy!

  5. Chicago Tim Says:

    Can you explain the difference between this power index and Hollinger’s rankings on ESPN? I’ve always been skeptical about PER, but that doesn’t enter into his rankings.

    • tywill33 Says:

      I don’t know his, I’ll just explain mine. Mine’s kind of simplistic.

      Lets say the Bulls played the Nuggets, and in their game each team had 95 possessions in the game.

      Lets further say that going into the game the Nuggets were scoring on average 1.023 points per possession and they were allowing on average .995 points per possession. Then you would expect the score of an average Nuggets game featuring 95 possessions to be Nuggets 97.18 — Opponent 94.52.

      That’s the basis point for determing the Bulls PVOA. If the score of the game were Bulls 106 — Nuggets 101, then the Bulls defense was below average by (-3.8) but their offense was above average by (+11.5) for an overall PVOA of (+7.7).

  6. Around the WOW week 3 « Arturo's Silly Little Stats Says:

    […] Ty Willihnganz at Courtside Analysist does a Courtside Analyst “NBA Power Index” […]

  7. Courtside Analyst NBA Power Index (11-14-10) « Courtside Analyst Says:

    […] Below is the latest edition of the NBA Power Index, which is an objective ranking of NBA teams based upon a simple formula I call PVOA.  It compares the number of points each team scores and allows on average per game compared to the number of points the rest of the NBA is scoring and allowing against the same schedule in the same number of possessions.  Please refer to this season’s debut index post for a fuller explanation. […]

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