Reranking NBA contenders using Team Win Score
I've done another ranking of the NBA playoff contenders, this time using Team "Win Score" averages. Win Score, as you will know, is a statistical formula developed by the economists who wrote The Wages of Wins. It weights and measures each of the traditional basketball statistics according to each statistics' relative impact on wins.
The authors developed the handy metric to provide a "Moneyball" method of evaluating NBA players.
I found that you can also use it on the "macro" level to evaluate an entire team's competitive strength... both offensive and defensive.
Today I tweaked that macro formula a bit more to make the result useful as an evaluation tool for the postseason. Instead of simply giving each team straight Offensive and Defensive Win Score averages, I took those averages and compared them to their opponents season Defensive and Offensive Win Score averages. That way each team's performance is placed on even ground (because a postseason 53.0 Offensive Win Score average against Denver is not as impressive as the same average score against the much stingier Houston Rockets, for example).
1. The Denver Nuggets are embarrassing themselves. Remember, their -10.6 collective Win Score is a comparative measurement of their performance against the entire Association's average performance vs. the Lakers. Thus, the Nuggets are not playing like a team that deserved to be in the postseason.
2. My pick of the Boston Celtics looks shaky. The Atlanta Hawks were the worst team in the postseason, and yet the Celtics comparative offensive Win Score in the first three games is barely above the Association average vs. Atlanta. And lets hope what happened to them in Game Three was just a hiccup. Their vaunted defense was absolutely thrashed by the less-than-stellar Hawk offense.
3. The Phoenix Suns are going to be blown up, and by my numbers they have actually outperformed the Spurs in the series. Of course the numbers are somewhat skewed by the Spurs lay down performance in Game Four, but nevertheless, the Spurs were extremely lucky to win Game One and this Series should be no worse than 2-2.
4. The Nuggets and Mavericks may suck, but the Lakers and Hornets both appear to be legitimate title contenders. The Lakers are doing it on both ends of the court, and the Hornets offense is certainly for real.
5. Could the Cavaliers actually give the Celtics problems? I don't think so. The Celtics would have their best individual defender -- Paul Pierce -- available for LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen should numerous field days against any potential Cavalier counterparts. On the other hand, I didn't think there was any way Atlanta could win a game against them, so...