2011 NBA Power Rankings – Week 13

As Miami is fighting through injuries and the Spurs have sort of kept the pace, the buried lead of the season as we turn past the halfway point is that the Hornets ain’t goin anywhere.  After an initial swoon, Chris Paul’s team is suddenly 30-16 and in a really good position in the West playoff race.  The free for all in the East is what has my attention though.  The rankings methodology is here:

Rank Team W L Off Def Road SOS Rating
1 Heat 31 13 103.732 (4) 95.441 (5) 1.83 1.356 (26) 11.477
2 Spurs 38 7 104.029 (3) 96.17 (7) 1.478 2.013 (11) 11.349
3 Celtics 33 10 101.607 (10) 94.001 (2) 1.547 1.406 (25) 10.559
4 Lakers 32 13 104.235 (2) 97.072 (8) 1.789 0.719 (30) 9.67
5 Magic 29 16 101.957 (9) 96.057 (6) 1.711 1.472 (24) 9.082
6 Bulls 31 14 98.146 (19) 92.132 (1) 1.556 1.13 (27) 8.7
7 Hornets 30 16 98.298 (18) 94.286 (3) 1.674 2.527 (3) 8.213
8 Mavericks 28 15 100.147 (13) 97.533 (10) 1.628 2.68 (2) 6.921
9 Nuggets 25 18 104.263 (1) 101.67 (23) 1.465 2.349 (5) 6.407
10 Thunder 28 16 102.386 (7) 100.641 (18) 1.75 2.392 (4) 5.887
11 Hawks 29 16 99.756 (14) 97.435 (9) 1.867 0.785 (29) 4.974
12 Knicks 23 21 102.486 (6) 101.058 (21) 1.909 1.583 (19) 4.92
13 Jazz 27 17 101.342 (11) 100.242 (16) 1.75 1.515 (21) 4.365
14 Rockets 21 25 102.256 (8) 101.817 (24) 1.826 1.851 (13) 4.116
15 Blazers 25 21 99.28 (15) 98.756 (15) 1.826 1.5 (22) 3.85
16 Sixers 19 25 98.026 (20) 97.663 (11) 1.83 1.519 (20) 3.712
17 Grizzlies 22 23 97.684 (21) 98.285 (14) 1.944 1.815 (14) 3.159
18 Bucks 16 26 93.359 (29) 95.293 (4) 1.917 2.93 (1) 2.913
19 Suns 20 23 102.812 (5) 104.293 (29) 1.872 1.746 (17) 2.138
20 Pacers 16 25 95.454 (24) 97.738 (12) 1.793 2.038 (9) 1.546
21 Warriors 19 25 100.474 (12) 103.23 (27) 1.83 2.008 (12) 1.081
22 Clippers 17 26 98.358 (17) 101.508 (22) 1.302 2.125 (7) 0.277
23 Bobcats 17 25 95 (26) 97.903 (13) 1.583 1.478 (23) 0.158
24 Pistons 17 28 97.33 (23) 102.214 (25) 1.867 2.024 (10) -0.994
25 Raptors 13 32 98.8 (16) 104.36 (30) 1.867 2.215 (6) -1.479
26 Timberwolves 10 34 97.563 (22) 103.096 (26) 1.83 2.121 (8) -1.582
27 Kings 10 32 95.185 (25) 100.355 (17) 1.667 0.899 (28) -2.604
28 Nets 13 32 94.741 (28) 100.93 (19) 1.867 1.714 (18) -2.609
29 Wizards 13 30 94.835 (27) 101.053 (20) 1.709 1.81 (15) -2.698
30 Cavaliers 8 36 92.699 (30) 104.125 (28) 1.989 1.794 (16) -7.644

As of this pressing, the East is in terms of rankings a few distinct levels:

  • The Heat are of course #1, the Celtics #3 and Magic #5, Bulls #6.  The ratings spread is 2.7 points – basically right within the home court margin of 3.5 points.  Put simply, they are pretty close.
  • The Hawks are #11 with a pedestrian rating of 4.974.  Relative to East teams, the Knicks, Sixers, Bucks and Pacers are all within home court range.  That said, the Hawks are 29-16, so while they are lucky, that is a huge lead over anyone else in the flotsam.  This makes them a sort of one team tier.
  • So 3 playoff positions with the Knicks, Sixers, Bucks, Pacers all rating kinda similarly, with the #23 Bobcats and #24 Pistons being peers recordwise.  Earlier in the year it seemed like the Knicks were safe, and as the only above .500 team in this bunch – their position is probably safe.  However, there is little room to move, and 23-21 does not inspire much confidence.
  • The Bucks continue to amaze – and I have no idea if they will ever match the preseason promise.  Despite the presence of Corey Maggette and Drew Gooden, brought in specifically to augment their offense, they remain a 29th in the league – only held up by the shocking awfulness of the Cavaliers.  Their badness on offense is marked by a general total inability to shoot the ball.  Their shot generation is actually not bad.  They grab a fair number of misses, only 12th in turnover rate – 5th in the league in shot generation, but just dead last in true shooting percentage.  This involves last place FG% combined with both low frequency and low percentage of three pointers – offsetting reasonable foul shooting.  However, the Bucks have played the league’s toughest slate to date – but their inability to just put the ball in the basket has been vexing.  The reason they are in any sort of playoff conversation is 1) it’s the east and 2) their defense (4th overall) is still very stern.
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