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 team in the NBA using offensive and defensive efficiency numbers. The nerdier, the better, according to these guys. The NERD rating for teams shows complete production on both sides of the ball. The team ranking is on a scale from 0-100, with 50 as the League average. This ranking is predictive of the team’s ultimate winning percentage. For example, in the 2010-11 season, the Bulls ended with a 75.1 NERD rating—and a 75.6 win percentage. To calculate the NERD rankings we use the Four Factors, which are the factors most predictive in winning games: shooting, turnovers, rebounding, and fouls. Visit numberFire to check out a detailed explanation of the NERD stat for team efficiency and basketball efficiency stats in general.
Below are numberFire’s NBA team power rankings to this point in the year. “Playoffs” and “Champs” refer to each team’s odds of making the playoffs and winning the NBA Finals. “Off.” and “Def.” refer to the teams’ offensive and defensive ratings; these represent the points scored and allowed per 100 possessions.
Thanks to the Lin-sanity, the New York Knicks have improved their chances of making the playoffs from 21.1% to 41.2% in just one week. The Knicks have won five straight games and head into Toronto for a very winnable game tonight. Even though they increased their offensive efficiency dramatically, they still score a mundane 101 points per 100 possessions. One upside is the fact that they force more turnovers than any other team in the League except the Grizzlies.
In the mix-up that is the playoff hunt in the West, the defending-champion Mavericks have been slowly climbing. This past week, the Mavs increased their chances of making the playoffs by almost 20%, giving them a 90.2% chance of making the playoffs with their 18-11 record and remaining strength of schedule. Dallas has stayed strong on defense despite a struggling Dirk Nowitzki, holding opponents to just 41.9% shooting from the field.
On the flip side, the Utah Jazz have been struggling and are one of the primary teams hurt by the improving Mavs. The Jazz, who had over a 40% chance of making the playoffs heading into last week, now own an average 14-13 record which puts their playoff odds at a mere 28.8%. The Jazz need to limit their fouling, as they rank No. 27 in the League in opponent free throw attempts per field goal attempt.
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.