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.
The Lin-sanity has been great for the Knicks, who have won 8 of their last 10. Only one game below .500, the Knicks increased their chances of making the playoffs by 21.3% since last week. Lin and company currently sit tied for No. 7 in the East with the Celtics, and the Knicks do a great job flustering opponents, forcing turnovers on 16.4% of all possessions (No. 2 in the League). If Melo and Amar’e can pick up their shooting percentages and begin to take better shots, they could be a force to be reckoned with come playoff time.
The Bucks have lost 5 of their last 6 and now find themselves on the outside looking in, 12 games back of Miami. Last week, there was over a 50% chance of the Bucks grabbing a playoff spot, but after the losses, they have dropped to just 31.3%. Milwaukee needs to do a better job on the boards—they currently corral only 70.3% of all available rebounds, grouping them in with the likes of the Kings, Nets and Wizards.
After a slow start, the defending Champions continue to improve. Now sitting at 21-12, the Mavericks increased their chances of repeating as NBA Champions by 1.3% since last week. Dallas has done a phenomenal job with their No. 3 defense, allowing only 97.9 points per 100 possessions, but need to improve their offensive game. Dirk is still shooting just 45.7%, down significantly from a career-best 51.7% last year. Similarly, Lamar Odom is at a career low 35.7% shooting from the field, down from 53.0% last year. In fact, Odom’s effective field goal percentage, which takes into account the added value of three-pointers, is 40%—down from a career average of 50%.
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.