Saturday, January 2, 2016

NBA 2015-16: 9-week Power Ratings



“Out with the Old, In with the New” applies to participation in the NBA’s annual championship tournament just as much as it does to the advance of our Julian calendar.

Only once in the last decade has the NBA playoff field not seen a turnover of at least 25 percent – the shortened 2011-12 season, perhaps fittingly, the exception.

This season is playing out true to this formula. Oklahoma City is sure to make a re-appearance and Utah has positioned itself nicely on the Western side of things (supplanting Portland and New Orleans). In the rejuvenated East, the Heat and Pacers are sittin’ pretty, while the scrappy Skiles crew in Central Florida loudly proclaims “Why not us!” (passing up the Wiz, Nets and Bucks).

The round of rankings suggests two more things: (a) Don’t sleep on the Pistons, and (b) don’t bet on the Rockets.

[All Data reflects play through Monday, Dec. 28. The criteria is explained below.]

3-week and 6-week ratings are also available.


No. 1 San Antonio Spurs (6)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 2
Abacus 6-week Rating: 1
3-week Abacus rating: 1]

27-6, .818; 1st in Southwest Division / 2nd seed / 2nd overall
KK:  +9; (9 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 2 overall
CQ:  +58; (.508 [4th] - .450 [1st]) / No. 1 overall
SPOR-t:  +107; (572 [3rd] – 465 [1st]) / No. 1 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Popovich Gang is the only team holding their opponents under 90 ppg, 6.5 points better than the next best.

No. 2 Golden State Warriors (7)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 1
Abacus 6-week Rating: 2
3-week Abacus rating: 2]

29-1, .967; 1st in Pacific Division / 1st seed / 1st overall
KK:  +14; (14 Road Wins – 0 Home Losses) / No. 1 overall
CQ:  +46; (.518 [2nd] – .472 [6th]) / No. 2 overall
SPOR-t:  +69; (592 [2nd] – 523 [11th]) / No. 3 overall  

Abacus Revelation: Last season, opponents attempted over 3.5 more FT’s per game – this season one more total in 30 games.

No. 3 Oklahoma City Thunder (16)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 3
Abacus 6-week Rating: 4
3-week Abacus rating: 6]

21-10, .677; 1st in Northwest Division / 3rd seed / 4th overall
KK:  +3; (7 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +41; (.520 [1st] - .479 [12th]) / No. 3 overall
SPOR-t:  +88; (622 [1st] – 534 [16th]) / No. 2 overall

Abacus Revelation: No. 3 in FG shooting and No. 1 in offensive rebounding is a pretty tough combination to match up with.

No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (22.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 4
Abacus 6-week Rating: 5
3-week Abacus rating: 3]

20-9, .690; 1st in Central Division / 1st seed / 3rd overall
KK:  +6; (7 Road Wins – 1 Home Loss) / No. 3 overall
CQ:  +10; (.488 [12th] - .478 [10th]) / No. 10 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +39; (545 [8th] – 506 [4th]) / No. 6 overall  

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 7-9, Cav per-game scoring dipped to 96.4 from 101.5 – despite seven wins in nine tries.

No. 5 Toronto Raptors (24.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 5
Abacus 6-week Rating: 3
3-week Abacus rating: 4]

19-13, .594; 1st in Atlantic Division / 5th seed / 8th overall (tied)
KK:  +5; (10 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 4 overall
CQ:  +24; (.495 [7th] - .471 [2nd]) / No. 5 overall
SPOR-t:  +36; (540 [11th] – 504 [3rd]) / No. 7 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Raptors are this season’s fifth-best defensive rebounders, improving from No. 25 last season.

No. 6 Indiana Pacers (33.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 9
Abacus 6-week Rating: 5
3-week Abacus rating: 16]

18-12, .600; 2nd in Central Division / 3rd seed / 6 overall (tied)
KK:  +3; (7 Road Wins – 4 Home Losses / No. 6 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +13; (.486 [15th] - .473 [8th]) / No. 7 overall
SPOR-t:  +10; (530 [19th] – 520 [9th]) / No. 13 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Week 9, the Pacers’ opposition connected on but 23% (14 of 60) on treys.

No. 7 Orlando Magic (40)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 15
Abacus 6-week Rating: 12
3-week Abacus rating: 19]

18-13, .581; 3rd in Southeast Division / 7th seed / 11th overall (tied)*
KK:  +1; (7 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall (tied)
CQ:  +10; (.487 [13th] - .477 [9th]) / No. 10 overall (tied)
SPOR-t:  +41; (550 [7th] – 509 [5th]) / No. 5 overall

Abacus Revelation: Last season’s third-worst FG defense (.463) currently ranks No.11 (.437).

No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers (40.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 17
Abacus 6-week Rating: 15
3-week Abacus rating: 12]

19-13, .594; 2nd in Pacific Division /4th seed / 8th overall (tied)
KK:  +3; (9 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 6 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +21; (.511 [3rd] - .490 [18th]) / No. 6 overall
SPOR-t:  -12; (533 [13th] – 545 [21st]) / No.  19 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 7-9, the Clippers improved their three-point shooting from .326 to a sizzling .385.

No. 9 Detroit Pistons (41)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 14
Abacus 6-week Rating: 7
3-week Abacus rating: 8]

17-14, .548; 4th in Central Division / 10th seed / 15th overall

KK:  +2; (7 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +9; (.492 [8th] - .483 [13th]) / No. 12 overall
SPOR-t:  +45; (570 [4th] – 525 [12th]) / No. 4 overall

Abacus Revelation: Piston opponents have shot the three-ball at 32% over the last six weeks after shooting 36% in the first 10 games.

No. 10 Miami Heat (41.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 8
Abacus 6-week Rating: 8
3-week Abacus rating: 5]

18-12, .600; 2nd in Southeast Division / 3rd seed / 6th overall (tied)
KK:  -2; (5 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 20 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +31; (.503 [5th] - .472 [4th]) / No. 4 overall
SPOR-t:  +16; (534 [12th] – 518 [8th]) / No. 10 overall  

Abacus Revelation: Though still ranked No. 8, Heat opponents converted three-pointers at 37% during Weeks 7-9.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Masters of the Craft (Part 1)

Which teams are performing the rudimentary skills of the game most proficiently at both ends of the floor? Let’s consider four elements of play: FG shooting, three-point shooting, Offensive Rebounding and the matter of turnovers. These teams hold a Top Ten rank offensively and defensively:

FG%: Golden State, LA Clippers, Miami, OKC, San Antonio
3FG%: Chicago, Golden State, Indiana, San Antonio
OR%: Brooklyn, Cleveland, Detroit, Portland
TO%: Memphis, Orlando


No. 11 Boston Celtics (44)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 7
Abacus 6-week Rating: 10
3-week Abacus rating: 9]

18-13, .581; 2nd in Atlantic Division / 7th seed / 11th overall (tied)*
KK:  +2; (9 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +4; (.476 [28th] - .472 [5th]) / No. 13 overall
SPOR-t:  +22; (532 [15th] – 510 [6th]) / No. 9 overall

Abacus Revelation: During a challenging  (3-4) Weeks 7 & 8, the C’s surrendered almost 105 ppg, about six points above their season average.

No. 12 Atlanta Hawks (46)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 6
Abacus 6-week Rating: 14
3-week Abacus rating: 10]

20-13, .606; 1st in Southeast Division / 2nd seed / 5th overall
KK:  +2; (8 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 9 overall (tied)*
CQ:  +12; (.485 [17th] - .473 [7th]) / No. 8 overall
SPOR-t:  -26; (509 [25th] – 535 [17th]) / No. 23 overall

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 7-9, last season’s second-best three-point shooters posted a paltry 31% (83-267) and currently rank No. 21.

                                                      No. 13 Charlotte Hornets (55)       
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 10
Abacus 6-week Rating: 9
3-week Abacus rating: 14]

17-13, .567; 4th in Southeast Division / 9th seed / 14th overall
KK:  -1; (4 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 16 overall (tied)**
CQ:  +11 (.482 [22nd] - .471 [3rd]) / No. 9 overall
SPOR-t:  +6; (501 [28th] – 495 [2nd]) / No. 14 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: The Hornets rank dead last in offensive boards, but tops in taking care of the ball

No. 14 Dallas Mavericks (56)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 11
Abacus 6-week Rating: 13
3-week Abacus rating: 10]

18-13, .581; 2nd in Southwest Division / 5th seed / 11th overall (tied)*
KK:  +4; (9 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 5 overall
CQ:  -2; (.484 [19th] - .486 [15th]) / No. 17 overall
SPOR-t:  -18; (510 [24th] – 528 [13th]) / No. 22 overall

Abacus Revelation: Through 9 weeks, Dallas has lost 40 possessions through O. boards and gained 38 possession through TO’s – kinda makes a Mavs game a shootin’ match, huh?

No. 15 Memphis Grizzlies (58)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 16
Abacus 6-week Rating: 15
3-week Abacus rating: 20]

17-16, .515; 3rd in Southwest Division / 6th seed / 16th overall
KK:  +1; (7 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 12 overall (tied)
CQ:  0; (.486 [14th] - .486 [14th]) / No. 14 overall (tied)*
SPOR-t:  +6; (521 [23rd] – 515 [7th]) / No. 14 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: Memphis is best in the circuit in forcing opponent miscues, winning the turnover battle by three a game.

No. 16 Utah Jazz (63)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 22
Abacus 6-week Rating: 11
3-week Abacus rating: 7]

13-16, .448; 2nd in Northwest Division / 8th seed / 19th overall
KK:  -2; (5 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 20 overall (tied)*
CQ:  0; (.489 [10th] - .489 [17th]) / No. 14 overall (tied)*
SPOR-t:  +30; (551 [5th] – 521 [10th]) / No. 8 overall

Abacus Revelation: Compared to last season, Utah’s three-point shooting has advanced from mediocre (No. 19) to Top Ten (No. 8).

No. 17 Chicago Bulls (63.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 13
Abacus 6-week Rating: 17
3-week Abacus rating: 13]

17-12, .586; 3rd in Central Division / 6th seed / 10th overall

KK:  0; (5 Road Wins – 5 Home Losses) / No. 14 overall (tied)

CQ:  -3; (.476 [27th] - .479 [11th]) / No. 18 overall
SPOR-t:  -14; (532 [15th] – 546 [22nd]) / No. 21 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Bulls’ FG defense (.418) tops the Association while they struggle to make shots (.429, No. 27).

No. 18 Portland Trail Blazers (70)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 23
Abacus 6-week Rating: 19
3-week Abacus rating: 26]

13-20, .393; 3rd in Northwest Division / 9th seed / 21st overall
KK:  0; (6 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 14 overall (tied)
CQ:  -17; (.485 [18th] - .502 [24th]) / No. 23 overall
SPOR-t:  +12; (551 [10th] – 539 [24th]) / No. 11 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: During Weeks 7-9, the Blazers limited opponents to less than 8 offensive rebounds a game, moving into the league’s Top Ten.

No. 19 Washington Wizards (79.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 18
Abacus 6-week Rating: 20
3-week Abacus rating: 22]

14-15, .483; 5th in Southeast Division / 11th seed / 18th overall
KK:  -1; (7 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 16 overall (tied)**
CQ:  -7; (.481 [24th] - .488 [16th]) / No. 20 overall
SPOR-t:  -33; (503 [26th] – 536 [18th]) / No. 24 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Wizards ranked No. 2 in FG defense (.433) last season … they currently stand No. 29 (.467).

No. 20 Houston Rockets (81.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 12
Abacus 6-week Rating: 27
3-week Abacus rating: 27]

16-16, .500; 4th in Southwest Division / 7th seed / 17th overall
KK:  -1; (6 Road Wins – 7 Home Losses) / No. 16 overall (tied)**
CQ:  -8; (.490 [9th] - .498 [23rd]) / No. 21 overall
SPOR-t:  -39; (526 [21st] – 565 [27th]) / No. 26 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Rockets rank No.7 in forcing TO’s; alas, they commit them at the same rate (.163) and stand No. 28 on that side of the ledger.


ABACUS INFOMERCIAL

Masters (?) of the Craft (Part 2)

Are not the exceptionally inept worthy of some recognition? Here are the teams that hold a Bottom Ten offensive and defensive ranking in our key elements of play: FG shooting, three-point shooting, Offensive Rebounding and the matter of turnovers.

FG%: Denver, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix
3FG%: Atlanta, Brooklyn, Memphis
OR%: Atlanta, LA Clippers, Philadelphia, Phoenix
TO%: Oklahoma City, Portland


No. 21 Denver Nuggets (83.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 25
Abacus 6-week Rating: 23
3-week Abacus rating: 18]

12-19, .387; 4th in Northwest Division / 10th seed / 22nd overall (tied)
KK:  -2; (7 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 20 overall (tied)*
CQ:  -18; (.485 [16th] - .503 [27th]) / No. 24 overall
SPOR-t:  -4; (545 [9th] – 549 [24th]) / No. 16 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Nuggets per-game scoring increased by six points during Weeks 7-9.

No. 22 Minnesota Timberwolves (85)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 27
Abacus 6-week Rating: 18
3-week Abacus rating: 17]

11-20, .355; 5th in Northwest Division / 13th seed / 26th overall
KK:  -5; (7 Road Wins – 12 Home Losses) / No. 26 overall
CQ:  0; (.496 [6th] - .496 [21th]) / No. 14 overall (tied)*
SPOR-t:  -10; (531 [18th] – 541 [20th]) / No. 18 overall

Abacus Revelation: Last year’s worst defensive rebounding squad (.716) has improved to .768.

No. 23 Sacramento Kings (86.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 24
Abacus 6-week Rating: 25
3-week Abacus rating: 23]

12-19, .387; 3rd in Pacific Division / 10th seed / 22nd overall (tied)
KK:  -4; (4 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 25 overall
CQ:  -6; (.488 [11th] - .494 [20th]) / No. 19 overall
SPOR-t:  -13; (533 [13th] – 546 [22nd]) / No. 20 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Kings’ 104.1 points per game rank third in the league.

No. 24 Brooklyn Nets (90.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 28
Abacus 6-week Rating: 22
3-week Abacus rating: 25]

9-22, .290; 4th in Atlantic Division / 14th seed / 28th overall
KK:  -7; (3 Road Wins – 10 Home Losses) / No. 29 overall
CQ:  -11; (.482 [23rd] - .493 [19th]) / No. 22 overall
SPOR-t:  +12; (545 [9th] – 533 [14th]) / No. 11 overall (tied)

Abacus Revelation: The Nets rank No. 26 in both making and defending threes. Beale Street comes to Bensonhurst, Coach Hollins?

No. 25 New York Knicks (90.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 19
Abacus 6-week Rating: 24
3-week Abacus rating: 20]

14-18, .438; 3rd in Atlantic Division / 12th seed / 20th overall
KK:  -1; (7 Road Wins – 8 Home Losses) / No. 16 overall (tied)**
CQ:  -26; (.477 [26th] - .503 [26th]) / No. 28 overall
SPOR-t:  -37; (532 [15th] – 569 [28th]) / No. 25 overall

Abacus Revelation: The Knicks rank second-to-last in forcing turnovers.

No. 26 Phoenix Suns (94.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 26
Abacus 6-week Rating: 21
3-week Abacus rating: 15]

12-21, .364; 4th in Pacific Division / 12th seed / 25th overall
KK:  -6; (4 Road Wins – 10 Home Losses) / No. 27 overall (tied)
CQ:  -19; (.477 [25th] - .496 [22nd]) / No. 25 overall
SPOR-t:  -9; (524 [22nd] – 533 [14th]) / No. 17 overall

Abacus Revelation: During weeks 4-9, Sun opponents shot .476 from the field, dropping Phoenix to the bottom of the heap in FG defense.

No. 27 Milwaukee Bucks (100.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 21
Abacus 6-week Rating: 26
3-week Abacus rating: 24]

12-20, .375; 5th in Central Division / 13th seed / 24th overall
KK:  -3; (3 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 23 overall (tied)
CQ:  -21; (.484 [20th] - .505 [28th]) / No. 26 overall
SPOR-t:  -43; (528 [20th] – 571 [29th]) / No. 27 overall  

Abacus Revelation: The Bucks yield opponent offensive rebounds at the league’s highest rate (.277).
No. 28 New Orleans Pelicans (105.5)

[ESPN 9-week Rating: 20
Abacus 6-week Rating: 28
3-week Abacus rating: 29]

10-21, .323; 5th in Southwest Division / 14th seed / 27th overall
KK:  -3; (3 Road Wins – 6 Home Losses) / No. 23 overall (tied)
CQ:  -25; (.482 [21st] - .507 [29th]) / No. 27 overall
SPOR-t:  -55; (503 [26th] – 558 [26th]) / No. 28 overall  

Abacus Revelation: Currently No. 4, the Pelicans have ranked among the leaders in taking care of the ball.

No. 29 Los Angeles Lakers (116.5)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 29
Abacus 6-week Rating: 29
3-week Abacus rating: 28]

5-27, .156; 5th in Pacific Division / 15th seed / 29th overall
KK:  -6; (3 Road Wins – 9 Home Losses) / No. 27 overall (tied)
CQ:  -60; (.462 [29th] - .522 [30th]) / No. 30 overall
SPOR-t:  -109; (496 [29th] – 605 [30th]) / No. 30 overall

Abacus Revelation: The woeful Lakers get outplayed by 6.5 possessions a game.

No. 30 Philadelphia 76ers (118)
[ESPN 9-week Rating: 30
Abacus 6-week Rating: 30
3-week Abacus rating: 30]

2-31, .061; 5th in Atlantic Division / 15th seed / 30th overall
KK:  -11; (1 Road Win – 12 Home Losses) / No. 30 overall
CQ:  -59; (.443 [30th] - .502 [25th]) / No. 29 overall
SPOR-t:  -104; (449 [30th] – 553 [25th]) / No. 29 overall

Abacus Revelation: Opponents are +5 in per-game free throw makes while being only +3 in attempts.

Power Ratings --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.

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 veteran NBA coach 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 a 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 opponent.

Lastly, please allow Abacus to introduce the “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 the sum of those o. boards and the opposition's d. boards). Then subtract the percentage of a team’s possessions lost to turnovers. For example, a team shoots field goals at a .488 clip, offensive rebounds at a rate of .199, and commits a turnover on .143 of its possessions. 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.