Mar. 27: NERD Rankings (Team)
Utah’s Playoff odds are looking up, the Pacers stay hot and Chicago holds down the top spot.
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 Utah Jazz continue their yo-yo ride up and down the NERD standings. After having won seven of their last eight games, the Jazz now sit tied for the No. 7 seed in the West. The Jazz are the No. 2 offensive rebounding team in the League, gathering 29.9% of all available offensive boards, but they need to be more disciplined on the defensive end. The Jazz allow opponents to get to the line more frequently than any team in the League except for the Clippers, with an average of .253 free throws per field goal attempt. Since last week, Utah’s NERD has increased more than any team (+2.8) and their playoff odds have jumped to 63.5% (+32.2%!).
On the other side of the surging Jazz in the West are the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have lost five of their last seven and sit just one spot ahead of the Jazz. Thanks to their extremely high defensive turnover rate, the Grizzlies are still in prime position to make the playoffs with an 80.4% chance. Memphis forces opponents to turn the ball over on 16.6% of all possessions, the best in the League. Unfortunately, thanks to poor losses to Washington and Toronto, their playoff odds have dropped by almost 11% since last week.
Nobody seems to be talking about the Pacers, who are now just on the edge of our NERD Top 5. The Pacers took down Miami last night and increased their chances of winning the NBA Title from 0.5% to 1.4% in just one week. Indiana’s best offensive weapon is their ability to get to the line, where they rank No. 2 in the League (behind only the Thunder) at .253 free throws 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.