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.
Corey Maggette—formerly dead last in the NERD rankings—has had himself a great week since the All-Star break. Not only did the Bobcats win a game over the Orlando Magic, but Maggette is averaging 21.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game over his last five contests. The biggest contributing factor has been his ability to get to the line and make free throws. Over his last four games, he has only missed four free throws out of 47 attempts. In fact, Maggette has a streak of 3 consecutive games with 20+ points and 10+ free throws attempted.
After scoring in double figures in four of his last five games, Nuggets rookie Kenneth Faried has moved up 3.4 points in his NERD rating. In those five games, Faried has missed only 11 shots out of 37 attempts. Faried actually leads the Nuggets in both scoring efficiency (1.27 points per possession) and rebounding rate (20.5%), and has been a large contributor in his first season.
Speaking of rookies, the Pistons’ Brandon Knight has a lot to learn about efficiency. While he has played significant minutes while both starting and coming off the bench, Knight is scoring just 0.97 points per possession on 40.4% shooting. As a point guard, he also has a surprisingly low 19.4% assist rate (see Chris Paul above for comparison) and high turnover rate (16.4%). Knight needs to be taking higher percentage shots and taking care of the ball.
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.