2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 3

The Heat of course, lost a couple of times, the Celtics had a big win, and there are no longer any unbeatens in the Association.  How does this manifest itself in the rankings so far?  The method behind the madness is here:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Hornets 8 1 103.513 (7) 93.816 (3) 1.556 5.516 (1) 16.769
2 Heat 6 4 105.662 (3) 96.329 (6) 1.4 4.296 (4) 15.029
3 Celtics 8 2 102.756 (10) 95.554 (4) 2.1 4.235 (5) 13.536
4 Mavericks 7 2 102.836 (9) 95.662 (5) 1.167 2.441 (10) 10.782
5 Magic 7 3 101.247 (15) 92.73 (2) 1.05 0.448 (25) 10.015
6 Spurs 8 1 105 (5) 97.964 (8) 1.556 0.676 (24) 9.267
7 Lakers 8 2 108.585 (1) 100.93 (13) 1.05 0.252 (26) 8.957
8 Bucks 5 5 94.097 (28) 91.455 (1) 1.75 4.454 (3) 8.846
9 Nuggets 5 5 102.363 (11) 100.984 (14) 2.1 5.138 (2) 8.617
10 Bulls 5 3 102.291 (12) 96.851 (7) 0.875 1.274 (19) 7.59
11 Suns 6 4 105.882 (2) 104.285 (27) 1.75 3.613 (7) 6.96
12 Blazers 6 5 103.789 (6) 101.533 (18) 2.227 1.427 (17) 5.91
13 Jazz 7 4 101.592 (13) 101.433 (15) 2.227 1.992 (13) 4.378
14 Hawks 7 4 105.266 (4) 101.487 (17) 1.591 -1.048 (28) 4.322
15 Pacers 4 4 99.835 (18) 99.41 (9) 1.75 1.905 (15) 4.08
16 Sixers 2 8 98.66 (22) 99.85 (11) 2.1 2.801 (9) 3.712
17 Rockets 3 6 101.486 (14) 102.215 (19) 2.333 1.92 (14) 3.524
18 Bobcats 4 7 100.078 (17) 99.818 (10) 1.909 1.013 (21) 3.182
19 Thunder 6 4 103.223 (8) 105.522 (28) 1.4 2.022 (12) 1.122
20 Warriors 7 4 99.244 (21) 100.012 (12) 1.909 -0.189 (27) 0.952
21 Grizzlies 4 7 97.288 (26) 102.275 (21) 1.909 4.028 (6) 0.95
22 Raptors 2 8 99.536 (19) 104.1 (26) 2.1 2.383 (11) -0.081
23 Knicks 3 7 97.822 (24) 101.461 (16) 1.75 0.74 (22) -1.149
24 Pistons 4 7 98.172 (23) 102.587 (23) 2.227 0.697 (23) -1.491
25 Nets 4 6 99.486 (20) 103.63 (24) 1.4 1.179 (20) -1.566
26 Cavaliers 4 5 97.442 (25) 102.578 (22) 1.556 -1.275 (29) -4.855
27 Wizards 2 6 93.44 (30) 102.227 (20) 1.75 1.65 (16) -5.387
28 Timberwolves 3 9 93.477 (29) 103.721 (25) 2.333 1.406 (18) -6.505
29 Clippers 1 10 94.723 (27) 105.797 (29) 1.591 2.958 (8) -6.525
30 Kings 3 6 100.447 (16) 107.321 (30) 1.556 -3.063 (30) -8.381

Some observations about the third week?

  • After two weeks at the top, the rankings could not deny the New Orleans’ Hornets hot start any longer.  Chris Paul has been the league’s best player so far – until he falls apart, that does not seem to be changing.  But moreover, the Hornets (against a very good schedule to date) have succeeded with a good defensive approach.  They are 3rd in total defense, and strong on both the quality and quantity dimensions.  Their true shooting percentage against is 3rd in the league (so they do a good job preventing scoring chances from becoming baskets) and they allow the 6th fewest shots per possession (so they do a good job preventing scoring chances generally).
  • After showing some early evidence that they might be the worst team in recent history, the Timberwolves put together a couple of wins and have started to move up the charts a little bit.  Obviously a move from 30th to 28th is faint praise, but it’s something.  Their offense is still putrid, and is only saved at all by their league leading ability to generate shots (Kevin Love’s 31 and 31 for instance).
  • SPOTLIGHT TEAM:  This week, we check in on the Cleveland Cavaliers since LeBron, well … you know.  They had a fun emotional opening night victory over a Boston team which was playing a second night of a back to back after a jihad with the Heat.  The Cavaliers looked like they could be interesting.  Alas, they have slipped to 26th in the rankings, despite their 4-5 record (they have had a very favorable early schedule).  Their offense is currently 23rd after being 3rd place a year ago.  This is obviously not shocking.  A bit more surprising is that losing LeBron James, not a good three point shooter, their team three point proficiency has plummeted from 2nd in the league a year ago to a very pedestrian 21st.  Add the loss of free throw generation that LeBron took with him, the Cavs true shooting percentage has slipped from 3rd to 22nd.  This more than offsets the small gain in shot quantity they have added (perhaps by playing JJ Hickson more).  Defensively, their dropoff is also not a huge surprise, but for different reasons.  Bron is a great defensive player, but Mike Brown, their fired coach was a great defensive coach.  They have always been stout on that end – it is part of Brown’s DNA coaching under Larry Brown.  What is interesting this year is that their quantity stats are about the same – they force more turnovers, but defensively rebound less effectively – but across the board, their shooting defense is just a lot worse – down from 3rd to 21st in true shooting defense.  Really, this cannot be attributed to LeBron.
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