Week 18 NBA Power Rankings

The dog days of March and April are upon us as the teams head towards the finish line and prepare for the playoffs.  For this week’s feature, we will also examine the conference standings … let’s call it our bracketology – as always the methodology is here:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Cavaliers 50 15 104.814 (2) 96.847 (6) 1.777 3.009 (27) 12.753
2 Magic 44 20 103.038 (7) 96.064 (4) 1.805 3.243 (26) 12.022
3 Lakers 46 18 101.213 (11) 95.914 (2) 1.641 3.755 (9) 10.695
4 Jazz 40 22 102.682 (8) 98.33 (10) 1.637 3.966 (4) 9.955
5 Nuggets 42 21 104.31 (3) 99.658 (13) 1.667 3.54 (16) 9.858
6 Celtics 40 21 100.59 (13) 95.627 (1) 1.836 2.927 (30) 9.726
7 Spurs 36 25 102.384 (10) 98.101 (9) 1.664 3.471 (19) 9.417
8 Thunder 38 24 100.022 (15) 96.022 (3) 1.806 3.57 (15) 9.376
9 Suns 40 25 107.069 (1) 103.091 (25) 1.777 3.597 (13) 9.352
10 Hawks 40 23 104.003 (4) 100.176 (15) 1.722 3.459 (20) 9.009
11 Mavericks 44 21 102.427 (9) 99.005 (12) 1.831 3.64 (11) 8.892
12 Blazers 37 28 103.581 (6) 100.367 (16) 1.723 3.539 (17) 8.476
13 Heat 32 31 99.769 (16) 97.791 (8) 1.778 3.92 (5) 7.676
14 Bucks 33 29 97.406 (23) 96.5 (5) 1.863 2.996 (28) 5.765
15 Rockets 31 31 99.58 (18) 99.76 (14) 1.75 4.181 (1) 5.751
16 Bobcats 30 31 96.965 (24) 96.884 (7) 1.779 3.808 (7) 5.667
17 Raptors 32 29 103.876 (5) 104.427 (30) 1.664 3.428 (21) 4.541
18 Hornets 32 32 100.52 (14) 102.256 (22) 1.75 3.623 (12) 3.637
19 Grizzlies 33 31 100.842 (12) 102.65 (24) 1.695 3.587 (14) 3.475
20 Bulls 31 31 96.203 (27) 98.452 (11) 1.75 3.381 (23) 2.882
21 Kings 21 42 98.831 (21) 102.482 (23) 1.833 4.038 (2) 2.221
22 Sixers 23 39 99.031 (20) 102.142 (21) 1.863 3.334 (24) 2.086
23 Warriors 17 46 99.463 (19) 103.537 (28) 1.778 4.032 (3) 1.736
24 Knicks 22 41 99.642 (17) 103.136 (26) 1.556 2.965 (29) 1.028
25 Clippers 25 38 96.914 (25) 101.384 (18) 1.722 3.717 (10) 0.97
26 Wizards 21 39 97.744 (22) 101.984 (20) 1.692 3.288 (25) 0.739
27 Pacers 20 43 95.487 (28) 100.523 (17) 1.889 3.422 (22) 0.275
28 Pistons 22 41 96.805 (26) 101.964 (19) 1.722 3.523 (18) 0.086
29 Timberwolves 14 50 94.615 (29) 103.239 (27) 1.75 3.792 (8) -3.082
30 Nets 7 56 92.795 (30) 103.938 (29) 1.778 3.887 (6) -5.478

Some quick thoughts:

  • After an authoritative loss to Denver, despite the 3-1 week, the Thunder back to 8th.  Really the key are the margins now – virtually no difference between 4 and 10.  Unlike last year the oligarchy is less obvious.
  • Mavericks of course are the hottest team in the league but it has not shown up here as they are still 11th.  Fact is, scoring margins are better leading indicators and they have not really been authoritative against their competition – quite a bit of which is not good.

As far as what leading indicators say about the playoffs if they began today?

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Cavaliers vs (8) Bulls … (#1 power rankings vs #22)  Rose is a good player, but the Bulls 27th ranked offense is no match for Cleveland, Cavs in 4

(4) Hawks vs (5) Bucks … (#10 vs #14) Closer than it looks.  Bucks have turned a corner (#5 defense) – especially with Salmons in the backcourt.  Jennings is learning – and performance has suffered, but Hawks in 6 makes sense

(2) Magic vs (7) Heat … (#2 vs #13) Heat are very average but Dwayne Wade isn’t.  Enough to steal a game at least.  Magic in 5

(3) Celtics vs (6) Raptors … (#6 vs #17) The resistable force (Celtics quaint 13th ranked offense) against the highly movable object (the Raptors 30th ranked defense).  Fun but Celtics in 5.

Cavaliers over Hawks in 5, Magic over Celtics in 6 … Cavaliers over Magic in 7 – if Shaq is healthy to help the matchups out, but it’s a toss up series

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Lakers vs (8) Blazers … (#3 vs #12) … shows you the differences at the bottom of the conference.  Blazers are dead here, but will show some character – Lakers in 6

(4) Jazz vs (5) Suns … (#4 vs #9) … Jazz just a bad matchup with their size.  Jazz in 5

(2) Mavericks vs (7) Spurs … (#11 vs #7) … metrics to be tested here.  Mavs have the wins, Spurs indicators are better.  If Duncan is healthy as is Parker – the Spurs are STILL better – seriously. Spurs in 6

(3) Nuggets vs (6) Thunder … (#5 vs #8) … best series of the first round, Melo v Durant.  Nuggets stomped them this past week.  But for a whole series the storylines are everywhere.  Nuggets in 7

Lakers over Jazz in 5, Nuggets over Spurs in 6 … Lakers over Nuggets in 7

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