2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 4

(this covers the events through November 22, 2010)

As the worm turns – here we are again for another batch of power rankings.  What is interesting about how the season has evolved is that early on, it sure felt like a Heat-Lakers oligarchy.  However, the Hornets hot start changed things.  This week the third #1 in four weeks (see here for the methodology):

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Celtics 10 4 103.354 (5) 93.944 (3) 2 2.804 (7) 14.214
2 Heat 8 6 103.69 (4) 95.377 (5) 1.25 3.38 (3) 12.943
3 Spurs 12 1 105.357 (2) 95.998 (6) 1.346 1.551 (20) 12.256
4 Lakers 12 2 108.875 (1) 98.868 (12) 1.5 -0.764 (29) 10.743
5 Hornets 11 2 100.761 (12) 94.026 (4) 1.615 1.812 (17) 10.162
6 Magic 9 4 100.716 (14) 93.552 (2) 1.346 1.558 (19) 10.069
7 Mavericks 8 4 101.559 (10) 96.959 (8) 1.458 3.208 (4) 9.266
8 Bulls 7 4 100.624 (15) 97.05 (9) 1.591 3.032 (6) 8.196
9 Nuggets 7 6 101.936 (9) 100.709 (15) 1.885 3.175 (5) 6.286
10 Bucks 5 8 93.121 (30) 92.447 (1) 1.615 3.987 (2) 6.276
11 Pacers 6 6 98.666 (20) 96.513 (7) 1.458 2.266 (12) 5.877
12 Blazers 8 6 101.296 (11) 99.846 (14) 2 1.688 (18) 5.139
13 Jazz 10 5 99.928 (17) 98.55 (11) 1.867 1.854 (16) 5.099
14 Bobcats 5 8 100.133 (16) 99.086 (13) 1.885 1.861 (15) 4.793
15 Thunder 10 4 102.621 (7) 102.203 (20) 1.5 2.403 (10) 4.32
16 Suns 7 7 104.303 (3) 106.631 (30) 2.25 4.153 (1) 4.076
17 Hawks 8 6 102.752 (6) 101.12 (16) 1.5 0.386 (27) 3.518
18 Sixers 3 10 96.433 (26) 97.677 (10) 1.885 1.938 (14) 2.578
19 Raptors 5 9 99.036 (19) 102.176 (19) 2 2.322 (11) 1.182
20 Rockets 3 10 100.742 (13) 103.996 (28) 2.154 2.123 (13) 1.023
21 Knicks 6 8 102.232 (8) 103.193 (24) 2.25 -0.543 (28) 0.746
22 Grizzlies 5 9 96.649 (25) 101.195 (17) 1.75 2.705 (8) -0.091
23 Warriors 8 7 99.281 (18) 101.796 (18) 1.867 0.504 (26) -0.144
24 Pistons 5 8 98.406 (21) 102.527 (21) 1.885 0.914 (24) -1.322
25 Nets 4 9 98.306 (22) 102.939 (23) 1.885 0.769 (25) -1.979
26 Cavaliers 5 7 96.898 (24) 102.566 (22) 1.75 1.246 (23) -2.672
27 Wizards 4 8 95.655 (28) 103.551 (26) 1.75 1.247 (22) -4.899
28 Timberwolves 4 11 94.591 (29) 103.665 (27) 2.1 1.327 (21) -5.648
29 Kings 4 9 97.193 (23) 103.401 (25) 1.346 -1.232 (30) -6.094
30 Clippers 2 13 95.858 (27) 106.451 (29) 1.633 2.634 (9) -6.326

What to make of things?

  • The Lakers being 4th is a matter probably of undervaluing them.  Per usual, their schedule is frontloaded with patsies and home games, as their strength of schedule seems to indicate.  As such, their tough games are ahead of them.  The eye test puts them higher than 4th, especially when Bynum returns – but right now the chances to score brownie points have not been there.
  • The Celtics came off of a couple of curious losses to the Thunder and the Raptors (though the Raptors to date have actually been fairly not-horrible), but then came the absolute destruction of the Hawks, whose offense is starting to fade a bit.  The Celtics defense remains as stout as ever, 3rd in the league.  What has improved in the early going this season is the offense, off to a sharp 5th after last year’s more pedestrian numbers.  The real key to this is the turnover rate – which has dropped from their usual “among the worst in the league” to a fairly manageable 13th this season.  In spite of them continuing to be one of the worst teams in the league at creating looks at the bucket (offensive rebounding still not good), the reduction in turnovers has given their top ranked true shooting team a chance to actually convert opportunities into points.
  • One of the interesting early season pleasant surprises have been the Indiana Pacers.  Considering their lack of true top shelf talent, that they are 11th, even early in the season, ahead of teams like the Jazz or Thunder, is a pleasant harbinger for the future.  True, their record is only 6-6, but their defense, ranked 7th in the league, has given their team a chance to compete.  This of course was shown most latently in their shocking win in Miami Monday.  How have they done it, despite a pedestrian offense.  Jim O’Brien has his flaws, but he has always been able to coach defense.  To his credit, the team has shown spunk on that end, despite what looks to be a lack of athleticism for the most part.  They have a competitive 9th ranked TS% defense – which is surprising considering they hack quite a bit (26th in the league at fouling) and are a mediocre three point defense.  What has happened is that they – even after trading Troy Murphy – have become a superior shot prevention squad.  They force turnovers at a solid league average level – and have the 4th best defensive rebound rate.  Add those together and they are a strong 8th place in preventing looks per possession – augmenting their strong shooting defense.  If the defense keeps up, one would think some of their offensive flaws most notably their turnovers and their absolute inability to get to the line, could lead to some pleasant surprises in the win column as well.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s