Week 19 NBA Power Rankings

As the playoffs get closer and closer, the tanking gets harder and harder.  Fortunately the power rankings will not tank – and with nearly full season data to be had – some real peelback opportunities are available, in addition to the anecdotal evidence.  That said, before we get to the rankings, two hat tips, first to Will Bynum (Georgia Tech hello!) and his stunning 20 assist game last Friday, and then the most shocking result of the season, the inexplicable Knicks breaking of Dallas’ winning streak … and the 84 point turnaround that it represented.  First, the usual standings:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Cavaliers 52 15 104.836 (2) 96.856 (7) 1.776 3.061 (28) 12.817
2 Magic 47 21 103.346 (7) 95.893 (1) 1.75 3.08 (27) 12.283
3 Lakers 49 18 101.523 (11) 96.227 (5) 1.672 3.753 (9) 10.721
4 Jazz 43 24 103.2 (8) 98.627 (10) 1.724 3.838 (8) 10.135
5 Nuggets 45 22 104.718 (3) 99.836 (13) 1.776 3.402 (22) 10.06
6 Spurs 39 25 102.634 (9) 97.515 (8) 1.641 3.184 (25) 9.944
7 Thunder 41 24 100.399 (14) 96.186 (4) 1.723 3.479 (19) 9.415
8 Celtics 42 24 100.75 (13) 96.16 (3) 1.803 2.909 (30) 9.302
9 Suns 41 26 107.001 (1) 103.108 (26) 1.724 3.645 (15) 9.261
10 Hawks 42 23 104.227 (4) 100.237 (15) 1.723 3.301 (24) 9.014
11 Blazers 41 28 103.99 (5) 100.298 (16) 1.725 3.405 (21) 8.823
12 Mavericks 45 22 102.21 (10) 99.281 (12) 1.776 3.481 (18) 8.186
13 Heat 35 32 100.001 (17) 97.554 (9) 1.724 3.735 (11) 7.907
14 Bucks 36 29 97.317 (23) 96.027 (2) 1.777 3.09 (26) 6.156
15 Bobcats 34 31 97.115 (25) 96.667 (6) 1.777 3.845 (7) 6.07
16 Rockets 34 31 99.97 (19) 99.877 (14) 1.723 4.014 (2) 5.829
17 Raptors 32 33 103.865 (6) 104.957 (30) 1.777 3.493 (16) 4.178
18 Grizzlies 35 32 101.269 (12) 102.914 (24) 1.672 3.671 (12) 3.697
19 Hornets 33 35 100.192 (15) 102.129 (19) 1.801 3.742 (10) 3.607
20 Kings 23 44 98.725 (20) 102.166 (20) 1.776 3.979 (4) 2.314
21 Bulls 31 34 96.044 (27) 99.252 (11) 1.777 3.648 (14) 2.218
22 Warriors 18 48 99.982 (18) 103.739 (28) 1.697 4.132 (1) 2.073
23 Knicks 24 43 100.038 (16) 102.917 (25) 1.672 3.001 (29) 1.794
24 Sixers 23 44 98.519 (21) 102.453 (22) 1.828 3.384 (23) 1.278
25 Clippers 25 43 96.734 (26) 102.01 (18) 1.801 3.925 (5) 0.451
26 Pacers 21 45 95.523 (28) 100.482 (17) 1.909 3.44 (20) 0.391
27 Wizards 21 44 97.387 (22) 102.363 (21) 1.669 3.488 (17) 0.182
28 Pistons 23 44 97.214 (24) 102.655 (23) 1.724 3.652 (13) -0.065
29 Timberwolves 14 53 94.383 (29) 103.209 (27) 1.724 3.865 (6) -3.237
30 Nets 7 59 93.103 (30) 103.888 (29) 1.856 3.991 (3) -4.938

And now, for the first time: The Rankings against the Top 10

Rank Team W L Off Def Margin
1 Cavaliers 14 5 103.386 (2) 97.514 (2) 5.872
2 Magic 11 8 100.428 (5) 97.654 (3) 2.774
3 Nuggets 15 7 102.388 (4) 99.849 (5) 2.539
4 Lakers 13 9 98.297 (14) 97.189 (1) 1.107
5 Spurs 6 11 99.614 (10) 100.314 (8) -0.7
6 Mavericks 14 10 99.304 (11) 100.555 (10) -1.251
7 Suns 9 12 103.442 (1) 104.916 (20) -1.474
8 Thunder 9 12 98.319 (13) 100.222 (7) -1.903
9 Bobcats 10 14 97.595 (19) 100.145 (6) -2.55
10 Jazz 10 13 100.259 (6) 103.246 (14) -2.987
11 Heat 9 15 98.149 (16) 101.139 (11) -2.99
12 Rockets 9 15 98.237 (15) 101.524 (12) -3.288
13 Blazers 9 15 99.838 (9) 103.508 (16) -3.67
14 Celtics 6 13 95.862 (23) 100.412 (9) -4.551
15 Kings 5 20 99.248 (12) 104.477 (18) -5.229
16 Grizzlies 10 15 100.004 (7) 105.485 (22) -5.48
17 Hawks 8 11 97.989 (17) 103.665 (17) -5.677
18 Bucks 5 14 92.57 (29) 99.449 (4) -6.879
19 Knicks 4 16 99.915 (8) 106.875 (25) -6.96
20 Hornets 7 18 97.591 (20) 104.936 (21) -7.345
21 Pacers 3 17 95.418 (25) 103.302 (15) -7.884
22 Pistons 5 17 97.232 (22) 105.845 (23) -8.614
23 Raptors 4 17 102.682 (3) 111.732 (30) -9.05
24 Timberwolves 3 19 95.064 (26) 104.489 (19) -9.424
25 Sixers 3 19 97.642 (18) 107.987 (28) -10.344
26 Wizards 4 17 95.547 (24) 105.912 (24) -10.366
27 Bulls 8 15 92.593 (28) 103.102 (13) -10.509
28 Warriors 3 22 97.437 (21) 108.107 (29) -10.671
29 Clippers 5 23 94.318 (27) 106.876 (26) -12.559
30 Nets 1 22 91.309 (30) 107.554 (27) -16.245

As one can imagine, the averages drop a ton here. Note that we do not adjust for schedule or home court or whatnot here.  However, the Celtics being over 10 points worse than Cleveland against the iron is telling – and how far behind they are against much of that cohort … not even the 3rd best team in the East.

Now the record against the middle 10:

Rank Team W L Off Def Margin
1 Jazz 17 8 103.675 (6) 95.972 (4) 7.702
2 Celtics 15 4 102.194 (11) 94.916 (2) 7.278
3 Magic 16 8 103.244 (8) 97.062 (5) 6.182
4 Cavaliers 15 8 102.803 (9) 97.403 (6) 5.401
5 Blazers 16 7 104.685 (3) 99.524 (9) 5.162
6 Thunder 13 10 99.76 (16) 95.227 (3) 4.533
7 Hawks 15 6 104.415 (4) 100.121 (16) 4.294
8 Mavericks 15 7 103.721 (5) 99.796 (11) 3.924
9 Nuggets 13 10 105.685 (2) 101.989 (21) 3.695
10 Spurs 16 10 103.62 (7) 100.118 (15) 3.502
11 Bobcats 10 8 97.073 (26) 93.596 (1) 3.477
12 Lakers 16 8 101.146 (13) 97.803 (7) 3.342
13 Suns 17 10 106.721 (1) 103.395 (26) 3.326
14 Bucks 10 9 100.865 (14) 98.261 (8) 2.604
15 Rockets 11 12 99.513 (18) 99.565 (10) -0.052
16 Heat 8 13 99.547 (17) 100.579 (18) -1.033
17 Sixers 10 11 98.576 (19) 99.985 (13) -1.409
18 Grizzlies 8 12 98.307 (21) 99.894 (12) -1.588
19 Hornets 11 10 99.916 (15) 101.986 (20) -2.071
20 Warriors 6 19 102.223 (10) 104.911 (29) -2.688
21 Wizards 7 15 97.233 (24) 100.063 (14) -2.83
22 Bulls 8 11 97.114 (25) 100.143 (17) -3.03
23 Pistons 7 15 96.823 (27) 100.639 (19) -3.816
24 Knicks 6 16 97.967 (23) 102.212 (22) -4.245
25 Raptors 9 11 101.735 (12) 106.059 (30) -4.324
26 Clippers 6 15 98.085 (22) 103.025 (25) -4.94
27 Kings 6 15 98.566 (20) 103.545 (27) -4.979
28 Pacers 4 19 93.158 (29) 102.855 (24) -9.697
29 Timberwolves 4 22 92.609 (30) 102.751 (23) -10.142
30 Nets 2 19 93.893 (28) 104.358 (28) -10.465

One of the interesting quirks here is the Lakers relatively mediocre performance against mediocre teams.  There is evidence they rise to the occasion – but let down in the dog days, or that they have.  Now, who are the big cupcake eaters?

Vs the Bottom 10

Rank Team W L Off Def Margin
1 Magic 20 5 105.627 (8) 93.472 (6) 12.155
2 Cavaliers 23 2 107.846 (3) 95.844 (13) 12.002
3 Spurs 17 4 103.878 (11) 92.108 (3) 11.769
4 Lakers 20 1 105.228 (10) 93.464 (5) 11.764
5 Heat 18 4 102.446 (17) 90.746 (1) 11.7
6 Hawks 19 6 108.756 (2) 97.81 (18) 10.947
7 Suns 15 4 111.184 (1) 100.769 (26) 10.414
8 Blazers 16 6 107.821 (4) 97.618 (16) 10.203
9 Thunder 19 2 103.134 (14) 93.235 (4) 9.899
10 Jazz 16 3 106.132 (6) 96.464 (14) 9.669
11 Celtics 21 7 103.026 (15) 94.198 (8) 8.828
12 Raptors 19 5 106.668 (5) 98.195 (20) 8.473
13 Nuggets 17 5 106.037 (7) 97.638 (17) 8.399
14 Mavericks 16 5 103.869 (12) 97.342 (15) 6.526
15 Bucks 21 6 98.182 (25) 91.982 (2) 6.199
16 Warriors 9 7 100.556 (19) 95.19 (10) 5.366
17 Clippers 14 5 98.823 (22) 93.821 (7) 5.002
18 Rockets 14 4 102.825 (16) 98.09 (19) 4.736
19 Hornets 15 7 103.347 (13) 99.178 (22) 4.17
20 Bulls 15 8 98.47 (23) 94.838 (9) 3.631
21 Grizzlies 17 5 105.429 (9) 102.765 (30) 2.664
22 Pacers 14 9 97.955 (26) 95.691 (12) 2.265
23 Knicks 14 11 101.967 (18) 100.358 (25) 1.609
24 Bobcats 14 9 96.662 (28) 95.471 (11) 1.191
25 Kings 12 9 98.274 (24) 98.199 (21) 0.075
26 Sixers 10 14 99.253 (21) 99.667 (23) -0.414
27 Wizards 10 12 99.268 (20) 101.294 (27) -2.026
28 Pistons 11 12 97.561 (27) 101.462 (28) -3.901
29 Nets 4 18 94.219 (30) 99.671 (24) -5.451
30 Timberwolves 7 12 95.999 (29) 102.371 (29) -6.371

The Spurs and Hawks in particular have feasted on the crap.  The Cavaliers have done a good job taking care of business across all of the layers.  The Celtics, alas have lost some games they shouldn’t have, and that has hurt them as much as their issues against good teams.

Looking at the splits, one can start maybe characterizing how the teams have behaved over the season – their ability to get bored, how they rise to the occasion.  Looking at the Top 10:

Cavaliers: 1st overall, 1st vs good, 4th vs middle, 2nd vs bad … really LeBron brings it every night, as his player of the month trophies show – and this indicates such consistency

Magic: 2nd overall, 2nd v good, 3rd v middle, 1st vs bottom … another rock solid team

Lakers: 3rd overall, 4th vs good, 12th vs middle, 4th vs bad … seems average opponents have had more success than one would expect – perhaps it’s boredom

Jazz: 4th overall, 10th vs good, 1st vs middle, 10th vs bad … Jazz have separated themselves from the middle of the pack by beating a lot of their cohorts, especially considering a lot of the middle 10 now are fringe to non playoff West teams

Nuggets: 5th overall, 3rd vs good, 9th vs middle, 13th vs bad … announcers have said all along the team plays to their competition – here is proof

Spurs: 6th overall, 5th vs good, 10th vs middle, 3rd vs bad … the Spurs have been a little underrated against good teams because of the 6-11 record, but their wins have been authoritative.  But the fear of them as bottom feeders is legitimate.

Thunder: 7th overall, 8th vs good, 6th vs middle, 9th vs bad … pretty consistent, the Thunder just are growing up on all fronts

Celtics: 8th overall, 14th vs good, 2nd vs middle, 11th vs bad … the reports on the Celtics issues against good teams are well known.  What is also a surprise is their issues against BAD teams.  It has been a combination of the worst traits of the Jazz and Nuggets

Suns: 9th overall, 7th vs good, 13th vs middle, 7th vs bad … the splits show a team that is a good squad, but perhaps not a playoff threat yet, though they have not been as bad against the iron as one might suggest, in fact their defense is the best it is vs any layer

Hawks: 10th overall, 17th vs good, 7th vs middle, 6th vs bad … Hawks are the cupcake devourers of the group, even more than the Celtics.  Will they be ready for the next step?  It’s an open question.

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