Feb. 7: NERD Rankings (Team)
Four Eastern Conference teams top the latest updated team efficiency ratings.
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 Denver Nuggets took the biggest hit efficiency-wise this week, dropping -7.9 in NERD. The Nuggets have lost three straight and what’s more, they lost their most efficient and productive player in Danilo Gallinari. Scoring is down, as they dropped from best in the League to No. 4 , and Denver must continue to get to the line, where they rank third in free throws per field goal attempt. Look for Arron Afflalo to step up as a scorer in place of Gallinari; Afflalo is currently having his least efficient season to date, scoring just 1.03 points per possession (down from 1.23 last season).
The Dallas Mavericks have also lost three straight, including one to Cleveland most recently. As a result (and thanks to the currently ridiculous playoff race in the West), the defending champs’ playoff odds dropped from 85% to 70% in one week. Dallas will need to improve offensively, where they are slightly below average, to make it in the playoff hunt. The primary culprit may be Dirk Nowitzki, who is having his least efficient offensive season since his rookie year. He scores 1.06 points per possession, down from his career average of 1.17.
The Boston Celtics increased their playoff odds by over 10% this past week and are currently on a four-game winning streak. It gets better: they play both the Bobcats and Raptors this week, in addition to the Lakers. The Celtics have stuck to their identity, ranking as the No. 2 defense in the League. Boston holds opponents to a measly 41.6% from the field, and with that defense, should find themselves in contention come May.
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.