Saturday, April 26, 2014

NBA 2013-14: Fourth Quarter Power Rankings (3/4 – 4/16)

What’s up with this year’s NBA Playoffs? With today’s Dallas Maverick home victory over San Antonio, seven of the eight underdogs, including both No. 8 seeds, have held a lead in their opening-round series—not in points, but rather in games won! Only Miami has progressed thus far unscathed, due perhaps to Big Al Jefferson’s unpronounceable foot injury.

For fun, let’s suppose for a minute that the NBA’s playoff participants and pairings were determined by the results of the season’s final six weeks of play. The Western Conference would offer the same eight teams, but matched as follows: San Antonio (1) vs. Portland (8); LA Clippers (2) vs. Houston (7); Memphis (3) vs. Dallas (6); and Golden State (4) vs. Oklahoma City (5). The East would give us two series actually occurring, Toronto (4) vs. Brooklyn (5) and Chicago (3) vs. Washington (6). As a second seed, Charlotte would face Atlanta (7), while the eighth-seeded Miami Heat would have begun defense of their title in Madison Square Garden. Indiana might have become historically infamous for tanking, huh?

Of course, ignoring 75 percent of the playing schedule is ludicrous.

But investing some comparative analysis in the last leg of the long journey can provide some predictive insight.

Power Rankings --The Measurement Instrument

Our team-ranking tool utilizes four elements. Two scales are based solely on team wins and losses; the others are measures of the efficiency of team performance in comparison with the competition. First, we’ll simply use win-loss record irrespective of conference or division.

The second criterion will be the difference between a team’s road wins and its home losses. Since this cute little metric is said to be a personal favorite of long-time NBA coach and current ESPN voice George Karl, let’s call this the Karl Kount (KK).

Criterion No. 3, Conversion Quotient (CQ), involves the rate at which a team converts its possessions into successful field goals or free throw attempts. Like the KK, the computation is simple subtraction—a team’s rate of offensive efficiency minus that of the other guys.

Lastly, please allow Horatio N. Proportion to introduce his “SPOR-t” score. SPOR-t stands for “Shooting Plus Offensive Rebounds minus turnovers.” Add a team’s FG percentage and its offensive rebounding percentage (o. boards divided by missed FG’s). Then subtract the percentage of a team’s possessions lost to turnovers. For example, a team shoots field goals at a .488 clip, its offensive rebounds account for .199 of its missed field goals, and .143 of its possessions result in a turnover. So its SPOR-t is (488+199-143) or 544. Once again, our measurement will be the difference between the SPOR-t scores of a team and its opposition.

We’ll rank the teams from 1 to 30 in all criteria and simply add up the rankings. Low score wins, naturally.

Teams in BOLD are 2014 Playoff Participants

No. 1 San Antonio Spurs (8)
19-4, .826; 1st in Western Conference / 1st overall
KK:  +7; (8 Road Wins – 1 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +37; (.516 [8th] - .479 [3rd]) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +71; (573 [6th] – 502 [1st]) / No. 2 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 17

No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies (10)
16-7, .696; 3rd in Western Conference / 5th overall
KK:  +7; (7 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +41; (.519 [5th] - .478 [2nd]) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +89; (606 [1st] – 517 [5th]) / No. 1 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 1

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers (13)
16-5, .762; 2nd in Western Conference / 2nd overall (tied)
KK:  +5; (7 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  +42; (.532 [1st] - .490 [8th]) / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +45; (587 [4th] – 542 [14th]) / No.  5 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 5

No. 4 Charlotte Bobcats (17.5)
16-6, .727; 2nd in Eastern Conference / 4th overall
KK:  +4; (6 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)
CQ:  +31; (.511 [13th] - .480 [4th]) / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +59; (566 [10th] – 5107 [2nd]) / No. 3 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 13

No. 5 New York Knicks (23.5)
16-5, .762; 1st in Eastern Conference / 2nd overall (tied)
KK:  +7; (9 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +20; (.519 [6th] - .499 [12th]) / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  +7; (569 [8th] – 562 [19th]) / No. 13 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 23

No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder (31.5)
14-8, .636; 5th in Western Conference / 9th overall
KK:  +5; (6 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 4 overall (tied)
CQ:  +18; (.512 [11th] - .494 [10th]) / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  +23; (546 [21st] – 523 [7th]) / No. 11 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 4

No. 7 Golden State Warriors (32)
15-7, .682; 4th in Western Conference / 6th overall (tied)
KK:  +12; (6 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +17; (.506 [18th] - .489 [7th]) / No. 8 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +48; (559 [15th] – 511 [4th]) / No. 4 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 12

No. 8 Houston Rockets (35.5)
14-9, .609; 7th in Western Conference / 12th overall
KK:  +3; (4 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 8 overall (tied**)
CQ:  +23; (.524 [3rd] - .501 [14th]) / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +28; (570 [7th] – 542 [14th]) / No. 9 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 2  

No. 9 Chicago Bulls (36.5)
15-7, .682; 3rd in Eastern Conference / 6th overall (tied)
KK:  +3; (6 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied**)
CQ:  +17; (.491 [24th] - .474 [1st]) / No. 8 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +15; (525 [23rd] – 510 [3rd]) / No. 12 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 7

No. 10 Phoenix Suns (45.5)
13-10, .565; 5th in Western Conference / 15th overall
KK:  +4; (8 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)
CQ:  +9; (.512 [12th] - .503 [15th]) / No. 14 overall
SPOR-t:  +24; (563 [12th] – 539 [12th]) / No. 10 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 14  

No. 11 Washington Wizards (46)
13-9, .591; 6th in Eastern Conference / 13th overall (tied)
KK:  +2; (6 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +14; (.502 [19th] - .488 [6th]) / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +33; (560 [13th] – 527 [9th]) / No. 7 overall (tied)
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 9

No. 12 Toronto Raptors (51.5)
15-8, .652; 4th in Eastern Conference / 8th overall
KK:  +3; (6 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -6; (.509 [14th] - .515 [23rd]) / No. 20 overall
SPOR-t:  +4; (548 [14th] – 544 [16th]) / No. 14 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 9  

No. 13 Dallas Mavericks (55.5)
13-8, .619; 6th in Western Conference / 11th overall
KK:  +1; (6 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 15 overall (tied)
CQ:  +10; (.516 [10th] - .506 [18th]) / No. 13 overall
SPOR-t:  -2; 580 [5th] – 582 [25th]) / No. 16 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 8  

No. 14 Cleveland Cavaliers (59.5)
9-12, .429; 10th in Eastern Conference / 22nd overall
KK:  -2; (5 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 19 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +16; (.507 [16th] - .491 [9th]) / No. 10 overall
SPOR-t:  +33; (554 [17th] – 521 [6th]) / No. 7 overall (tied)
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 15  

No. 15 Portland Trail Blazers (60.5)
13-9, .591; 8th in Western Conference / 13th overall (tied)
KK:  +3; (5 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 8 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -3; (.501 [21st] - .504 [16th]) / No. 18 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -13; (556 [16th] – 569 [21st]) / No. 19 overall

Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 19

No.16 Sacramento Kings (65.5)
7-15, .318; 13th in Western Conference / 23rd overall
KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 19 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +2; (.508 [15th] - .506 [17th]) / No. 16 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +34; (560 [13th] – 526 [8th]) / No. 6 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 21  

No. 17 Miami Heat (68)
11-14, .440; 8th in Eastern Conference / 19th overall
KK:  -2; (3 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 19 overall (tied*)
CQ:  +15; (.501 [20th] - .486 [5th]) / No. 11 overall
SPOR-t:  -8 (524 [25th] – 532 [10th]) / No. 18 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 3  

No. 18 Brooklyn Nets (68.5)
15-9, .625; 5th in Eastern Conference / 10th overall
KK:  +2; (4 Road Wins – 2 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall (tied*)
CQ:  -3; (.507 [17th] - .510 [20th]) / No. 18 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -51; (525 [23rd] – 576 [23rd]) / No. 27 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 16  

No. 19 New Orleans Pelicans (69)
11-11, .500; 12th in Western Conference / 16th overall (tied)
KK:  -3; (2 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 22 overall (tied)
CQ:  +8; (.523 [4th] - .515 [22nd]) / No. 15 overall
SPOR-t:  +2; (565 [16th] – 563 [20th]) / No. 15 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 22  

No. 20 Denver Nuggets (73)
11-12, .478; 11th in Western Conference / 18th overall
KK:  0; (3 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 17 overall
CQ:  -10; (.501 [22nd] - .511 [21st]) / No. 21 overall
SPOR-t:  -6; (548 [19th] – 554 [18th]) / No. 17 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 27

No. 21 Indiana Pacers (84)
10-13, .435; 9th in Eastern Conference / 20th overall (tied)
KK:  +1; (4 Road Wins – 3 Home Losses) / No. 15 overall (tied)
CQ:  -21; (.474 [30th] - .495 [11th]) / No. 23 overall
SPOR-t:  -44; (495 [29th] – 539 [12th]) / No. 25 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 5

No. 21 Minnesota Timberwolves (84)
10-13, .435; 12th in Western Conference / 20th overall (tied)
KK:  -4; (2 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 24 overall
CQ:  +2; (.518 [7th] - .516 [24th]) / No. 16 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  -26; (569 [8th] – 595 [27th]) / No. 23 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 11

No. 23 Atlanta Hawks (87.5)
12-12, .500; 7th in Eastern Conference / 16th overall (tied)
KK:  -1; (5 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 18 overall
CQ:  -23; (.477 [29th] - .500 [13th]) / No. 25 overall
SPOR-t:  -60; (478 [30th] – 538 [11th]) / No. 28 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 26

No. 24 Detroit Pistons (92)
5-17, .227; 11th in Eastern Conference / 25th overall (tied)
KK:  -3; (2 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 22 overall (tied)
CQ:  -22; (.516 [9th] - .538 [29th]) / No. 24 overall
SPOR-t:  -14; (605 [25th] – 619 [30th]) / No. 20 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 18  

No. 25 Milwaukee Bucks (99.5)
3-20, .130; 15th in Eastern Conference / 30th overall
KK:  -6; (0 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 25 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -14; (.526 [2nd] - .540 [30th]) / No. 22 overall
SPOR-t:  -16; (597 [3rd] – 613 [28th]) / No. 21 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 28

No. 26 Orlando Magic (106.5)
4-16, .200; 13th in Eastern Conference / 27th overall
KK:  -8; (0 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 29 overall (tied)
CQ:  -30; (.480 [26th] - .510 [19th]) / No. 26 overall
SPOR-t:  -32; 521 [26th] – 553 [17th]) / No. 24 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 20

No. 27 Utah Jazz (107)
4-18, .182; 11th in Western Conference / 28th overall (tied)
KK:  -8; (1 Road Win – 9 Home Losses) / No. 29 overall (tied)
CQ:  -37; (.495 [23rd] - .532 [26th]) / No. 27 overall
SPOR-t:  -21; (550 [18th] – 571 [22nd]) / No. 22 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 25

No. 28 Boston Celtics (108)
5-17, .227; 11th in Eastern Conference / 25th overall (tied)
KK:  -6; (1 Road Win – 7 Home Losses) / No. 25 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -53; (.479 [28th] - .532 [27th]) / No. 30 overall
SPOR-t:  -47; (541 [22nd] – 588 [26th]) / No. 26 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 24  

No. 29 Los Angeles Lakers (108.5)
6-16, .273; 14th in Western Conference / 24th overall
KK:  -6; (3 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 25 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -48; (.488 [25th] - .536 [28th]) / No. 28 overall
SPOR-t:  -114; (499 [28th] – 613 [28th]) / No. 30 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 29

No. 30 Philadelphia 76ers (113)
4-18, .182; 15th in Eastern Conference / 28th overall (tied)
KK:  -6; (2 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 25 overall (tied**)
CQ:  -49; (.480 [27th] - .529 – [28th]) / No. 29 overall
SPOR-t:  -68; (512 [27th] – 580 [24th]) / No. 29 overall
Third Quarter (1/21 – 3/3) Rating: No. 30