2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 5

Another week, and the league gets a little more defined.  The methodology is here.  The Hornets are still upsetting the apple cart, though it seems they have pleateaued a touch.  But the Southwest Division HAS produced some legitimate surprising excitement.  I’d mention the Heat, but then I’d have to kill myself.

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Celtics 13 4 102.799 (7) 93.746 (1) 1.853 1.672 (18) 12.577
2 Mavericks 13 4 102.324 (9) 95.986 (7) 1.441 3.548 (1) 11.326
3 Spurs 15 2 105.108 (3) 97.091 (9) 1.647 1.587 (20) 11.251
4 Heat 10 8 102.791 (8) 96.793 (8) 1.361 3.483 (2) 10.842
5 Magic 13 4 101.937 (11) 94.575 (2) 1.235 1.192 (25) 9.79
6 Lakers 13 5 106.273 (1) 98.599 (12) 1.556 -0.182 (28) 9.048
7 Hornets 12 5 99.525 (15) 94.748 (4) 1.853 2.274 (11) 8.904
8 Bulls 9 6 99.304 (16) 95.941 (6) 2.1 2.658 (7) 8.121
9 Jazz 14 5 101.96 (10) 97.748 (10) 1.658 1.769 (16) 7.638
10 Nuggets 10 6 103.251 (4) 100.875 (17) 1.75 2.97 (4) 7.097
11 Pacers 9 7 98.362 (21) 95.567 (5) 1.531 1.807 (15) 6.133
12 Hawks 11 7 103.018 (5) 99.396 (13) 1.75 0.261 (27) 5.634
13 Thunder 12 6 101.824 (12) 101.596 (19) 1.556 2.78 (6) 4.563
14 Bobcats 6 11 99.989 (14) 99.436 (14) 1.853 1.606 (19) 4.012
15 Bucks 6 11 93.501 (30) 94.581 (3) 1.853 2.58 (8) 3.353
16 Suns 8 9 105.405 (2) 107.865 (30) 2.059 3.417 (3) 3.015
17 Sixers 5 13 97.257 (24) 97.829 (11) 1.944 1.193 (24) 2.566
18 Knicks 10 9 103.01 (6) 102.346 (21) 2.026 -0.342 (29) 2.348
19 Blazers 8 9 99.268 (17) 100.494 (16) 2.059 1.49 (22) 2.324
20 Grizzlies 8 10 97.785 (22) 99.994 (15) 1.556 1.92 (14) 1.267
21 Raptors 6 11 98.481 (20) 101.912 (20) 1.853 2.786 (5) 1.208
22 Rockets 5 12 100.26 (13) 103.367 (26) 2.059 1.969 (13) 0.92
23 Nets 6 12 98.832 (19) 103.026 (24) 1.944 1.578 (21) -0.671
24 Warriors 8 10 99.155 (18) 103.123 (25) 1.944 0.783 (26) -1.241
25 Pistons 6 12 97.648 (23) 102.61 (23) 1.944 1.363 (23) -1.654
26 Cavaliers 7 10 94.791 (28) 101.166 (18) 1.647 2.404 (10) -2.323
27 Wizards 5 11 96.102 (26) 103.395 (27) 1.75 2.567 (9) -2.976
28 Timberwolves 4 13 94.653 (29) 103.452 (28) 1.853 1.691 (17) -5.255
29 Kings 4 12 95.775 (27) 102.42 (22) 1.313 -0.803 (30) -6.136
30 Clippers 3 15 96.854 (25) 106.808 (29) 1.556 2.047 (12) -6.35

What to make of this?

  • The Mavericks surge to #2, mostly due to the strength of schedule.  As we have said before, this is fairly unsustainable.  Indeed if you look at the final 2009 numbers, the Rockets had the toughest schedule at 2.144 points, while the Knicks brought up the rear at 1.420.  A 0.7 point spread is microscopic.  This makes sense given that all the teams have 58 of their 82 games in common.  That said, Tyson Chandler’s inclusion in the lineup has been a godsend to their defense, boosting it from 12th a year ago to 7th now.  The improvement in defense is almost entirely attributable to a rise from 10th to 2nd in True Shooting defense – a product of a great defensive center being healthy again.
  • The interesting dropoff team so far has been the Oklahoma City Thunder.  Despite a strong 12-7 record, they are 13th here, down from last year’s 6th.  The offense, despite Kevin Durant, has never been a strength – 11th a year ago, 12th now.  But what has slipped is the defense, down to a paltry 19th from last year’s very strong 7th.  What has gone wrong?  Well, a year ago, the Thunder were 6th in true shooting defense and 7th in forcing turnovers.  The true shooting defense was both because of good field goal defense and being one of the best teams in the league at not sending their opponents to the line.  This year, the defense has been a disaster across the board.  22nd in FG%, 3rd worst at committing fouls, 21st in forcing turnovers.  All of that has contributed.  Considering how little personnel turnover there has been – this has to be laid at the feet of the players.  Scott Brooks’ schemes have not changed, but the attention to detail has.  The players might be thinking they are being clutch (with their wins) but they have done well in close games (6-1 with margins less than 5 pts), so well as to be unsustainable.  They have to fix the leaks in their defense, or else the “it boy” dreams of the preseason mags will just be a case of prognosticators getting it wrong again.
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2 thoughts on “2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 5

  1. Given that strength of schedule pretty much evens out over the course of the season, query why it’s used in your formula? Not a criticism, believe me I find your rankings much more interesting than some moron at espn/yahoo coming up with some arbitrary weekly rankings, just wondering.

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