Feb. 10: NERD Rankings (Player)
Kevin Love at No. 2, Dwight cracks the Top 10 and four Nuggets drop hard.
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.
Harvard grad Jeremy Lin has been killing it for the Knicks over his first few games. His NERD jumped 6.9 points—higher than any other player this week. Lin is shooting 52.9% from the field and has an elite 1.17 points per possession while using over 28% of the Knicks possessions. Therein lies the problem, however. When Melo returns, the Knicks will already have two players who use more than 25% of the Knicks possessions. If Lin can scale back his usage rate by taking fewer (but better) shots and act more as a complement and facilitator to Amar’e and Melo, the Knicks could actually have a winning combination.
Dwight Howard jumps into the Top 10 after a great week, increasing his NERD from 8.8 to 13.0. Howard is No. 2 in the League in minutes played, behind only Kobe, and leads the League with 15.4 rebounds per game. Howard continues to be efficient despite his worst offensive season to date. He scores a mundane 1.06 points per possession, mostly thanks to his career-worst 49.0% free throw percentage and just a 56.6% field goal percentage—which may not seem bad, but it his his lowest since 2005-06.
The Nuggets have been struggling without the help of Danilo Gallinari. In fact, each of the four players who decreased the most in NERD since last week are Nuggets: Ty Lawson (-3.8), Nene (-3.4), Al Harrington (-3.2) and Rudy Fernandez (-3.1). Gallinari was by far the most efficient scorer on the team, scoring 1.18 points per possession. What the Nuggets are missing most is Gallinari’s ability to get to the line: he shot 89.0% on 145 free throw attempts. That’s the best free throw percentage of any player with at least 110 free throw attempts this season.
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.