Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Bulls’

NBA Power Rankings by “Ty Rating”: the rising Heat and the sinking Celts

February 17, 2012

Using the same formula, and the same gambling website (Statfox Sports), that I used to power rank the likely NCAA tournament field, I power ranked the National Basketball Association.

My NBA chart is set up a bit differently because I condensed three steps.  Instead of posting each team’s Win Score and Defensive Win Score, followed by the expected winning percentage and then the winning percentage the rest of the league is posting against the same schedule, and then the “Ty Rating” based upon that, instead I post below the “Comparative Win Score” the “Comparative Defensive Win Score” and the Ty Rating based upon the same.  Let me provide a quick example.

Example using the #20 Milwaukee Bucks

Below on the chart, the 20th ranked team is the Milwaukee Bucks.  Under “WS” the Bucks post a “-1.1”.  That means the Bucks Team Win Score is 1.1 points below the Win Score the rest of the NBA is posting against the same schedule.  Under “DWS” it says “-2.1”.  That means that the Bucks are allowing their Opponents to post Win Scores that are 2.1 points higher than the same teams have been able to post against the rest of the NBA.  (Defensive Win Scores that are indicated as negative mean a below average performance).  If you add the two numbers together, you arrive at “-3.2”.  You then divide that by 10 to arrive at “-0.32”.  This is the Bucks “absolute” Marginal Win Score, from which I can calculate their absolute winning percentage, which is their “Ty Rating”.  Essentially, it is the difference between the winning percentage the team has achieved versus the winning percentage the rest of the NBA has achieved against the same schedule plus 0.500.  So, while the Bucks expected winning percentage is 0.404% (11.7 wins and 17.3 losses — the team is actually 12-17), because the rest of the NBA is only playing 0.455% basketball against the same schedule the Bucks have played, the Bucks “absolute” winning percentage, or their “Ty Rating” is 0.449%, so its a little better.

Here is the chart:

NBA WS DWS Ty Rating
1 Miami 7.6 6.1 0.733
2 Chic 7.1 6.4 0.731
3 OKC 5.5 5.1 0.682
4 LA Lakers 3.4 5.5 0.653
5 Denv 6.8 1.1 0.636
6 LA Clip 4.9 2.7 0.631
7 Orlando 2.6 3.7 0.609
8 Dallas 3.1 2.9 0.606
9 Phila 0.4 4.8 0.591
10 Atl 3.4 1.1 0.579
11 San An 3.1 0.8 0.569
12 Port 0.8 2.6 0.557
13 Memp -1.5 2.8 0.524
14 Hous -1.3 1.7 0.509
15 Ind -1.8 1.9 0.504
16 Minn -1.1 1.1 0.501
17 Bost -4.9 4.8 0.499
18 Utah -0.6 -0.7 0.479
19 NOH  -4.9 1.9 0.451
20 Milw -1.1 -2.1 0.449
21 NY Knicks -4.6 1.1 0.441
22 Phoenix -0.8 -2.8 0.441
23 Clev -1.6 -2.2 0.438
24 Gold St 1.8 -6.1 0.429
25 Sacra -3.5 -5.9 0.343
26 Tor -7.1 -3.1 0.329
27 NJ Nets -5.7 -6.6 0.294
28 Detroit -8.7 -4.2 0.283
29 Wash -6.6 -7.4 0.265
30 Char -9.9 -9.2 0.181

NBA Ty Ratings

Heat and Bulls clearly the NBA elite

Its neck-and-neck between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls for best team in the NBA.  The two teams also rank #1 and #2 in overall offensive efficiency (by which I mean relative Win Score), and they invert that order for #1 and #2 in overall defensive teams in the NBA as well (by which I mean relative Defensive Win Score).

Three teams surprised me with their placement.  The Lakers are a lot higher than I anticipated.  They may have some fight left in the Purple and Gold.  And on the other side, the Boston Celtics placed much lower than I expected at #17.  The Celtics still play top 10 defense, but without Kendrick Perkins, the team is really struggling on the boards, and that is costing them games.  The other team who placed much lower than I anticipated was the New York Knickerbockers.  However, as I discussed two posts ago, the addition of world famous PG Jeremy Lin, the Knicks have shored up a major weakness and may begin to ascend the rankings.

Another surprise was the Minnesota Timberwolves.  I knew they were playing much better this season, but it is actually their defense that is propelling them more so than their offense.  That is surprising.  The aforementioned Bucks seem to have been stuck in the #18-#21 power ranking range throughout the entire Scott Skiles/John Hammond administration.  That is disappointing, to say the least.

Finally, we have the putrid Charlotte Bobcats and almost-as-putrid Washington Wizards.  What is the thread that runs between each organization?  Michael Jeffrey Jordan was in a management position for each.  Bucks fans, we cannot be thankful for much, but we can be thankful for this:  Herb Kohl prevented Michael Jordan from bringing his eye for talent to Milwaukee.  Jordan makes Isiah Thomas look like Branch Rickey.

Finally, has anyone heard from PG John Wall?  I thought he was supposed to be such a game changer for the Wizards when they selected him number one overall last season.  He certainly has not been.  His career is heading toward oblivion, just as many of us predicted when he was drafted.

Ranking NBA teams by “Effective Height”

January 15, 2010

Last night the Chicago Bulls pulled off what looked like a stunning upset over the Boston Celtics.  First, I might dispute that.

Any team that starts Brian Scalbrine and gives significant minutes to Baby Davis is in a huge hole to begin with.  Why Doc Rivers is loath to use the more productive Shelden Williams is probably the same reason my friend Richard Hendrix is languishing in Spain (and he is my friend!  I’m going to post the nice note he sent me.  Remember on Bucks Diary when I was promoting his cause so vigorously people started making fun of me?  Apparently he read those posts!).

Anyway, the reason I think Chicago won is they dominated the Celtics with their superior “height”.  On any night the Bulls are amongest the most “effective height” blessed teams in the NBA.  When you match them against a Celtic lineup with Garnett and Wallace replaced by the two clowns mentioned above, the Bulls were dominant.

Ever since Naismith told the janitor to mount the peach baskets up on the railing instead of placing them on the ground, he set in train the natural selection for height, or more specifically “length”, and jumping ability in the sport of basketball (I would argue he also relegated it to niche sport as well.  I’ll get into it another day but my theory is that basketball would be the national pastime going away if it weren’t for the “freakish” nature of its participants.  The broad public will simply never relate to a sport dominated by athletes on the basis of one specific characteristic.  That’s why steroids is such an emotional issue in baseball and ignored in other sports.  People, rightly or wrongly, view baseball as a sport that can be played by anyone and thus divining advantage through chemical strengh is anathema.)

But sometimes its hard to accurately guage how “tall” a team is because head height can be deceptive and can be overcome in some instances by leaping ability.  So what we want to know is a team’s “effective height”.

Ken Pomeroy, the college basketball analyst, has determined that three statistics explain “effective height” the best, here listed in order of importance:  Block percentage, 2 point defense, and effective field goal percentage.

Based on those three criteria, weighted by me with block percentage being given the most weight, I “measured” each NBA team to see which had the most effective height.  Here are my results ranked from teams that play the “tallest” to teams that play the “smallest””:

NBA teams ranked by “Effective Height”

1. Cleveland Cavaliers (.642)

2. Chicago Bulls (.650)

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (.656)

4. Indiana Pacers (.670)

5. LA Clippers (.670)

6. Miami Heat (.670)

7. Dallas Mavericks (.670)

8. Boston Celtics (.685)

9. Orlando Magic (.688)

10. Atlanta Hawks (.700)

11. Philadelphia Sixers (.704)

12. Charlotte Bobcats (.706)

13. LA Lakers (.712)

14. Toronto Raptors (.721)

15. Washington Wizards (.722)

16. Denver Nuggets (.726)

17. San Antonio Spurs (.731)

18. Utah Jazz (.736)

19. New Jersey Nets (.747)

20. Portland Blazers (.748)

21. Sacramento Kings (.759)

23. Phoenix Suns (.765)

24. Milwaukee Bucks (.768)

25. Memphis Grizzlies (.780)

26. New York Knicks (.788)

27. Houston Rockets (.808)

28. New Orleans Hornets (.810)

29. Golden State Warriors (.813)

3o. Minnesota Timberwolves (.832)


I guess the only real surprise is the Los Angeles Lakers, who feature Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom.  They were hurt by the fact that they don’t block shots.  But as HoopData pointed out recently, that may simply be by choice.  The Lakers still do the best job of defending the rim, and it may be that they have been ordered not to swat at shots.  That’s actually an incredibly intelligent strategy (the risk of fouling usually far outweighs the potential benefit gained by shot blocking — basically because free throws are costly and not every blocked shot was going through the net).

The Bucks ranking points up the task before Scott Skiles.  He’s done an absolutely fabulous job molding his undertalented, undersized, underathletic, underskilled team in to something that doesn’t resemble absolute garbage.  Whatever the Bucks accomplish this season is due entirely to him and I’ll give the numbers to back that up in a subsequent post.

Footnote:  The note from PF Richard Hendrix:

“Thanks Man, I have read several of your blogs and I really appreciate your support. I’m playing this season in the Spanish ACB League and off to a pretty good start as far as my production is concerned. Hopefully NBA execs with read your Blog and give ya boy a chance! Again, thank you for the kind words and take care!”

Why the Chicago Bulls have declined

December 20, 2009

About three days before the season started, I was trying to guess how many wins the Chicago Bulls would end up with based upon the Marginal Win Score per 48 averages of their roster over the last two seasons.  I think I came up with around 38 wins.  Not even close.

But what’s gone wrong?  Who is underperforming?  I did a Win Chart of this season’s team to find out who was creating the team’s wins and losses.  The results were somewhat surprising.  You can see the 2009-10 Chicago Bulls Win Chart if you click here.

Derrick Rose playing brutal basketball

I would say the most surprising result I came up with concerned sophomore point guard Derrick Rose.  If you go to the above Win Chart and then click on the link in that Chart to last season’s Bulls Win Chart you will see that last season Rose was basically a .500 player.  Not bad at all for a rookie.  And since players normally progress substantially in their second seasons, I expected Rose to step up to the near elite level this season.  So far this season he has actually gone the other way, and he’s done so in dramatic fashion.  He is playing awful basketball.

But why?  Where has his game declined?  If you look at his “Production Page” on and compare it to the same from last season, its obvious.  Everything about Rose’s marginal production is basically the same except his marginal scoring efficiency.  That has really declined.

Last season Rose outscored his opponents by +3.0 points per 48, and he only needed 3.0 more scoring possessions per 48 to do so.  So his “scoring impact” was basically a wash for the Bulls.  This season, though, he is outscoring his opponent point guards by +4.4, but he now he requires 7.4 more scoring possessions per 48 to do so.  In Marginal Win Score terms that’s -3.0 divided by two which comes out to -1.50 per 48.  That’s damaging.  Unless he’s making up for it in other areas, which he isn’t, those kind of numbers from a significant minutes guy will lead to a lot of losses.

There are plenty of others who share some of the blame.  Noah’s production is down, Brad Miller’s production is down, and so is Kirk Hinrich’s.  Hinrich’s decline has been the steepest and the most surprising.  He’s usually pretty reliable.  Then you throw in the two rookies, and there you have a recipe for a bad team.

Luol Deng not at fault

The one player who cannot be blamed is Luol Deng.  He’s “progressed to the mean” if that’s a valid phrase.  Meaning, after a down season or two, he’s producing wins for the Bulls this season at almost exactly his career Player Win Average.

If you remember last summer I did a “Win Resume” for Deng and found that his career Player Win Average was .684%.  The last two seasons it had declined a bit to around the .500% level, but this season he’s got it back at .695%, and since he’s been able to stay healthy, he’s making one of his better Win Contributions (+0.181).

Update on the NBA “luck factor” and the unlucky Bucks

December 19, 2009

My Running “Luck” Experiment

A couple of days ago on “Bucks Diary” I did a post in which I used dirty, filthy math and a bit of logical reasoning to try to pinpoint the exact “luck factor” in  NBA games.  Basically by “luck” I meant the number of games that are won by the weaker team.  At the time I wrote the post I estimated that luck factor to be between 67% and 71% (for the decade my dirty math suggested around 71%, for the last five years, around 67%).

In order to kind of test that hypothesis a little further, I’ve been doing a little non-scientific experiment.  I’ve been tracking the daily “win probabilities” posted on and comparing them to NBA game results to see how often the supposed “stronger” team prevailed.

So far, in the 43 games where has declared one team to have a higher win probability than another (I think the Phoenix-Portland game was 50%-50% so I threw that game out), the “stronger” team has prevailed only 30 times.

That comes out to 69.7%.  This is not, obviously, the “best evidence”, nor is it anything near conclusive proof, but it certainly doesn’t hurt my theory.

I will keep the tally running and keep you posted on the results.

Is the Bucks “unluckiness” really “luckiness”??

I know unluckiness is not a recognized English word, but either the Milwaukee Bucks are a very “unlucky” team or a very “lucky” team.  Here’s what I mean.

If you watched the game last night on ESPN rather than the Bucks Television Network you may have noticed a graphic they showed that illustrated the number of close games the Bucks have lost this season (I watched ESPN because I like listening to the way Hubie Brown talks.  He starts every single point he makes with either “Look, ___” or “Okay,___”.).  The Bucks seem to be very unlucky.  Those kind of close game outcomes are supposed to even out.

But they don’t for the Bucks.  And last season, according to “Pythagorean Wins” (basically the number of wins you should have had based on point differential) the Bucks were 4 or so games “unlucky” as well.

But were they unlucky to lose, or lucky to be so close?  Pythagorean,  as  I  pointed out, would say “unlucky to lose”.  But “Marginal Win Score”, the metric I use in most of my basketball analysis (see the page I posted for an explanation of it), has in both seasons predicted the Bucks wins much more closely.  So it would say “lucky to be close”.

Why?  And what is going on here?  That’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Upcoming Posts

I will have a Win Chart analysis of the Chicago Bulls struggles (Point Guard Derrick Rose… among many other Bulls… is playing really horribly) along with a fresh NBA power ranking later today.