The Final Power Rankings and First Round Picks

Process here. Rankings there:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Magic 59 23 104.631 (2) 96.214 (1) 1.75 3.166 (30) 13.333
2 Cavaliers 61 21 104.39 (3) 97.272 (8) 1.75 3.173 (29) 12.041
3 Suns 54 28 107.908 (1) 102.168 (19) 1.75 3.276 (25) 10.766
4 Spurs 50 32 102.717 (9) 97.59 (9) 1.75 3.532 (17) 10.41
5 Jazz 53 29 103.122 (8) 98.527 (10) 1.75 3.586 (13) 9.93
6 Thunder 50 32 101.459 (11) 97.188 (7) 1.75 3.584 (14) 9.604
7 Lakers 57 25 101.152 (13) 97.091 (5) 1.75 3.658 (10) 9.47
8 Hawks 53 29 104.132 (4) 100.085 (15) 1.75 3.381 (23) 9.178
9 Nuggets 53 29 103.777 (6) 100.105 (16) 1.75 3.63 (12) 9.051
10 Celtics 50 32 101.165 (12) 97.178 (6) 1.75 3.258 (27) 8.995
11 Blazers 50 32 103.569 (7) 99.894 (13) 1.75 3.415 (21) 8.84
12 Mavericks 55 27 102.457 (10) 98.973 (12) 1.75 3.472 (20) 8.706
13 Heat 47 35 100.305 (18) 96.849 (4) 1.75 3.219 (28) 8.426
14 Bobcats 44 38 97.408 (24) 96.389 (2) 1.75 3.411 (22) 6.18
15 Bucks 46 36 97.553 (23) 96.462 (3) 1.75 3.258 (26) 6.098
16 Rockets 42 40 100.13 (19) 100.907 (17) 1.75 3.928 (2) 4.901
17 Raptors 40 42 103.869 (5) 104.906 (30) 1.75 3.499 (18) 4.211
18 Bulls 41 41 96.563 (28) 98.573 (11) 1.75 3.568 (15) 3.308
19 Hornets 37 45 100.59 (16) 102.895 (22) 1.75 3.741 (7) 3.187
20 Grizzlies 40 42 100.398 (17) 102.932 (23) 1.75 3.739 (8) 2.955
21 Pacers 32 50 97.062 (26) 99.996 (14) 1.75 3.473 (19) 2.288
22 Warriors 26 56 100.65 (14) 104.321 (28) 1.75 3.897 (3) 1.977
23 Kings 25 57 98.103 (22) 102.032 (18) 1.75 3.868 (4) 1.689
24 Knicks 29 53 100.646 (15) 104.386 (29) 1.75 3.346 (24) 1.355
25 Sixers 27 55 99.066 (20) 103.097 (24) 1.75 3.546 (16) 1.265
26 Wizards 26 56 97.101 (25) 102.302 (20) 1.75 3.633 (11) 0.183
27 Clippers 29 53 96.693 (27) 102.357 (21) 1.75 3.866 (5) -0.048
28 Pistons 27 55 98.198 (21) 104.067 (26) 1.75 3.68 (9) -0.439
29 Timberwolves 15 67 94.652 (29) 104.233 (27) 1.75 4.111 (1) -3.719
30 Nets 12 70 94.115 (30) 103.745 (25) 1.75 3.786 (6) -4.094

A key caveat: With the last month being tanking/amateur hour and good teams being judicious with managing players – I suspect the Lakers and Cavaliers are undervalued. That said, still revealing as we get to the end:

  • The Magic have been the best team the second half of the year.  Took the season for Vince Carter to get integrated, and their defense was lazy earlier in the season.  However, back at #1, just like last year.  Their #2 offense is hard to say has dropped off at all.
  • The Cavaliers got off slow too, but rolled down the stretch save for preserving LeBron a bit.
  • Lakers really staggered to the finish.  They seemed to be shoo-ins for the best record for a while.  They can still right the ship, but with a scant 9 games separating the #1 and $#8 seed in the West who knows?

Now for some quick picks for the first round (power ranking in parens) …

EAST:

Cavaliers (2) vs Bulls (18): Bulls played hard down the stretch, Rose is a terrific PG.  But Cavs defend the position well, and there is LeBron.  Cavs in 5

Celtics (10) vs Heat (13): Celtics after a 27-5 start, are a 23-27 team.  This is not a good team right now, though they have played in stretches.  Wade the best player on the floor.  Heat playing better D than Boston, but it’s a toss up.  Celtics in 7

Magic (1) vs Bobcats (14): Top 2 defenses in the league.  Alas the Magic have offensive skill.  Magic in 5.

Hawks (8) vs Bucks (15):  Hawks have been metsa metsa since a fast start.  However, their efficient size-based offense has been there all year.  Bucks are scrappy, tough defensively, but without Bogut the size match is too problematic.  Hawks in 6

WEST:

Lakers (7) vs Thunder (6): You read that right.  Thunder have the better body of work in terms of indicators even with 9 less wins.  Durant is a prime time scorer.  They are a good defensive club (7th).  The Lakers were the top defensive team when healthy though, and the wins and home court count for something.  If Kobe is ready and effective, they should advance.  But the Thunder will not be pushovers.  Lakers in 6

Nuggets (9) vs Jazz (5): Another upside down series.  Jazz hurt themselves badly slipping out of the home court position by getting whomped by Phoenix.  They have played better basketball than Denver all season, but Denver is still better against good teams (5th, Utah 11th).  And with home court, and Utah with an iffy Boozer, they get the edge despite their own myriad of issues.  Nuggets in 7

Mavericks (12) vs Spurs (4): Mavericks have been close game kings all season.  The Spurs have outpaced them in fundamentals most of the season.  Does this mean they will win?  Not sure.  Dallas won in 5 last year and the matchups favor them in a lot of places.  That said Manu is healthy, and we have not had that for a while.  Spurs in 6

Suns (3) vs Blazers (11):  Love this series.  Lots of matchups up front (Amare vs Aldridge), at the point (Nash vs Miller), subplots (Suns vs the slowest paced team in the game … will Roy be effective).  Suns have been the big overachievers in the league this season – their last two wins have been special.  They are as good offensively as ever.  Can they defend the paint though.  This could go any direction, but I just don’t think the Blazers have the offense without Roy at 90%.  Suns in 7

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