numberFire is a sports analytics platform that uses algorithmic modeling to better understand sports—and they’ve developed the numberFire Efficiency Rating Derivative (NERD) to better evaluate every player in the NBA using offensive and defensive efficiency numbers. The nerdier, the better, according to these guys. A player’s NERD rating represents how many games above or below .500 an average team would be if they added him to its roster (based on an 82-game season). For example, LeBron James posted an 18.3 rating in the 2010-11 season, which means that if he played on a team with four league-average players, you would expect that team to finish 18 games over .500 (50-32). An average player has a NERD rating of 0, and to qualify, a player must play at least five minutes per game, based on the team’s total games. Visit numberFire to check out a detailed explanation of the NERD stat for player efficiency and see the full list of NERD rankings.


numberFire says:

JR Smith is the biggest mover this week, increasing his NERD by 2.5 points. Smith is averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals over his last four games. In that time, he’s shot 29-62, but more impressively, he is 18 for his last 36 from long range. The Knicks will need that kind of bench production if they have any hope of going deep in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Carmelo Anthony also had a dominant week and is just behind his teammate Smith for the most improvement. While Melo is still shooting a career worst 43% from the field on the year, he has the highest assist rate of his career at 21%. It doesn’t hurt that he’s averaging close to 37 points per game over his last three. Melo has also shot over 50% in nine of his last 12 games.

Antawn Jamison had his least efficient week of the season, mostly thanks to an 0-10 performance in Detroit on Tuesday. He made just 3 free throws and it was the fourth time all year Jamison has scored three points or less in a game.

The NERD power rankings are powered by numberFire, a sports analytics platform that uses algorithmic modeling to better understand sports. Follow Nik Bonaddio at @numberfire, and Keith Goldner at @drivebyfootball. Check out numberFire on Facebook.