2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 8

Interestingly, little has happened at the top with all the streaking going on.  Sure the Heat lost their streak to the Mavericks last night, but Dallas is clearly no slouch.  So, anyway, the list:  you can always get the basis for calculations here:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Celtics 22 4 103.158 (7) 92.605 (1) 1.75 1.961 (16) 14.263
2 Heat 21 9 104.089 (4) 94.117 (2) 1.633 1.504 (20) 13.109
3 Spurs 24 3 105.997 (1) 97.017 (11) 1.296 1.214 (24) 11.49
4 Mavericks 22 5 102.75 (8) 95.993 (8) 1.296 2.68 (4) 10.733
5 Lakers 21 7 105.044 (2) 97.009 (10) 2 -0.445 (30) 9.59
6 Bulls 16 9 98.758 (17) 94.388 (3) 1.68 2.592 (5) 8.642
7 Magic 16 11 99.714 (14) 95.559 (5) 1.815 1.086 (26) 7.057
8 Hornets 16 12 97.349 (20) 94.799 (4) 1.75 2.486 (6) 6.786
9 Jazz 20 9 101.178 (11) 98.557 (13) 1.569 2.249 (10) 6.439
10 Nuggets 16 10 103.675 (6) 102.067 (22) 1.615 2.682 (3) 5.906
11 Sixers 11 16 98.213 (18) 95.795 (6) 1.685 1.425 (22) 5.528
12 Thunder 19 9 102.338 (10) 100.401 (18) 1.625 1.794 (18) 5.355
13 Hawks 18 12 100.029 (13) 97.893 (12) 1.75 1.324 (23) 5.209
14 Blazers 15 14 99.259 (15) 98.721 (14) 1.931 1.852 (17) 4.321
15 Knicks 16 12 103.704 (5) 102.025 (21) 1.875 0.038 (29) 3.592
16 Suns 13 14 104.96 (3) 106.256 (30) 1.944 2.766 (2) 3.415
17 Rockets 13 15 102.372 (9) 101.896 (19) 2 0.822 (27) 3.298
18 Pacers 13 14 96.168 (24) 96.696 (9) 1.685 2.045 (14) 3.202
19 Grizzlies 12 16 97.805 (19) 99.256 (16) 1.875 2.141 (12) 2.565
20 Bucks 10 16 93.069 (30) 95.828 (7) 1.75 2.826 (1) 1.817
21 Raptors 10 18 100.645 (12) 104.161 (29) 1.625 2.178 (11) 0.286
22 Warriors 9 18 98.856 (16) 103.814 (27) 1.944 2.485 (7) -0.529
23 Bobcats 9 18 94.34 (28) 98.793 (15) 1.944 1.475 (21) -1.034
24 Clippers 8 21 96.677 (22) 101.929 (20) 1.569 2.119 (13) -1.564
25 Nets 8 20 94.803 (26) 100.137 (17) 1.75 2.016 (15) -1.569
26 Wizards 7 19 95.721 (25) 103.192 (24) 1.75 2.422 (8) -3.299
27 Timberwolves 6 23 96.672 (23) 103.964 (28) 2.172 1.704 (19) -3.416
28 Pistons 9 19 97.12 (21) 103.535 (26) 1.75 1.205 (25) -3.459
29 Kings 5 20 94.788 (27) 102.563 (23) 1.54 0.692 (28) -5.543
30 Cavaliers 8 20 93.586 (29) 103.444 (25) 1.875 2.29 (9) -5.693

You already heard my quick take on the Magic-Suns-Wizards trade-o-rama yesterday.  But today, we can dive a bit further metrically into the Suns and Magic to see if the trade made sense basketballwise relative to what is actually causing issues. (for the Wizards, the issue was pretty clear – moolah)

The Suns issues are easily hinted at above.  As was expected, their offense is still very good – 3rd best in the league.  However, with the loss of Amare Stoudemire and Louis Amundsen, one expected their defense to get even softer.  And in dead last place there, they have not disappointed.  Really they have been bad on both quality and quantity dimensions.  They are 30th in TS% defense, and 28th in shots per possession.  To peel back the TS%, they are the league’s worst shooting defense, below average at 3P% defense, and 25th in the league at allowing three point looks.  They are a decent 8th in the league at not fouling, but the lack of physicality is clearly not buying anything.  Consider that they are 28th in defensive rebounding rate and 12th in forcing turnovers.  Really this is the profile of a very very soft interior without the perimeter defense to cover for it.  So, enter Vince Carter, Mikael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat.  Gortat as the league’s premiere backup center HAS to help the rebound rate and shooting defense.  Mikael Pietrus, if they use him, has a solid defensive rep.  Carter is another story, but the Magic were the league’s best defense with him a year ago – so we know he can be held accountable.  For Phoenix’s particular woes, this is sensible – and Carter should be able to score enough to limit the pain of Jason Richardson’s absence.

For the Magic, last year’s #1 team, this year has been a slip on defense, from 1st to 5th, but the bigger slip has been offensively – where they sit a very very pedestrian 14th.  Their offense looks clunky, but in year’s past has been very efficient.  First of all, they shoot a ton of high value shots (all those threes).  Second Dwight Howard took very efficient shots (dunks).   The problem of course was that the offense lacked a plan B if Howard could be single covered.  Those standstill shooters need to be able to create.  Anyway, so far the Magic are 11th in true shooting but a poor 27th in the league at generating looks.  Now, being low at generation is not necessarily a problem – the Celtics are last, but it is because they do not crash the boards and are concentrating on making the looks they DO get (and their top rated TS% shows to that) – but when they are not shooting that great anyway, it’s a problem. Howard certainly crashes the glass, but aside from him they are not a great rebounding team, and they are 24th in the league in turnover rate, lower than

The Magic are shooting the ball as frequently as ever from way downtown (only D’Antoni’s Knicks and the suddenly trigger happy Spurs shoot it more often), but this year they are only 19th in percentage.  Take that with their fairly pedestrian 14th ranked overall FG%, and it’s pretty clear that they just aren’t running offense as well as they have in years past.  Turkoglu, with his familiarity with the offense MIGHT help, but he has been a rotten player the last couple of years.  Does he have magic pick and roll skills, seriously?  Arenas and Richardson make a bit more sense, and Richardson will elevate that piss poor three point percentage. (last year 37.5% as a team, this year 34.9%)  However, their turnover rate will not get better adding Arenas (Richardson will help since he shoots it so much).  The Magic last year rode their high value shooting to their high mark of a year ago – this year that shooting is where the problem is.  Do these acquisitions fix the ability to make shots?  I see no guarantee here.

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