Bucks Diary

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ranking the NBA contenders using four efficiency differentials

Its been proven that victory in the sport of basketball is a function of each team's "efficiency differential" -- points scored per possession versus points allowed per possession. Makes sense.

With that in mind I ranked the playoff teams plus the Golden State Warriors by combining four separate "efficiency differentials"-- (1) Overall differential; (2) Post All-Star Break differential; (3) Home Games differential, and; (4) Away Games differential.

Taken together, I think the four categories provide good evidence of each team's relative strength entering the championship season.

Here's how the teams rank, according to those numbers:

1. Boston Celtics (+45.0)
2. Utah Jazz (+34.0)
3. Detroit Pistons (+29.9)
4. LA Lakers (+28.6)
5. Houston Rockets (+26.0)
6. Orlando Magic (+24.5)
7. New Orleans Hornets (+23.1)
8. Dallas Mavericks (+21.8)
9. San Antonio Spurs (+21.3)
10. Phoenix Suns (+19.6)
11. Denver Nuggets (+15.0)
12. Golden State Warriors (+10.1)
13. Toronto Raptors (+5.4)
14. Philadelphia Sixers (+4.0)
15. Cleveland Cavaliers (+2.1)
16. Washington Bullets (-1.2)
17. Atlanta Hawks (-5.1)


This does not necessarily indicate how I think the playoffs will unfold. Home court has to be weighted, and I have to decide how important momentum should be considered. Specifically, Orlando has played much better than Detroit since the All-Star break. Should Orlando be the pick? They would not have home court advantage, and its entirely possible the veteran Pistons have relaxed, having been unchallenged in the Central. I'll have to think about that. Also, Utah has phenomenal numbers until you get to their road numbers, which are razor thin. Should they stub their toes just once, it would dramatically change the outlook for them.


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