NBA Now Rankings for 2010-2011 Take 1 (The 2010-11 Build v 0.1)

Posted on 09/16/2010 by

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I love twitter. It’s a window into the mind  of some very creative/Talented/interesting  people. It’s a constant source of amusement and inspiration. Now yesterday I was looking around for my muse (damn thing had gotten lost again) and I came upon the following tweet:

DannyLeroux @chadfordinsider I would LOVE to see a “strong argument” that Kevin Durant is “the best player in the NBA” right now. Haven’t yet or ever

I proceeded to reply:

@DannyLeroux Durant, best young player, yes.Best value for next ten years, probably. Best player now? Lebron is still #1, but KD can claim 2

And this led to the following exchange:

DannyLeroux@ArturoGalletti No arguments whatsoever with that. Just saying he’s #1 right now is pure insanity.

@DannyLeroux In terms of Physical Gifts Lebron has it for the next Ten. But KD has a drive to improve,win that makes a better centerpiece

DannyLeroux@ArturoGalletti Actually, I think I’d take LBJ over KD for the next 10 years- LeBron is only 25, after all. But it’s a close call.

@DannyLeroux I actually think KD’s intangibles are off the charts. Could you see LBJ leading Team USA like that at any age (let alone 22)?

DannyLeroux@ArturoGallettiHaving met him and seen him in action, KD’s intangibles are great. But LBJ’s passing ability is something that KD can’t get

@DannyLeroux You get the feeling with Lebron vs. Durant, we’re arguing Picasso v. Michelangelo?

The wonderful thing about this exchange was that once it was over inspiration was sitting on my lap. I decided that I was going to rank all the players in the NBA based on their for last year which  led to me wanting to do a preliminary ranking of all the NBA teams going into 2010-2011 which led to me thinking that I might as well do a full preliminary version of the 2010-2011 roster (or as it will come to be known “The Build” ) which led to my wife wondering why I was up so late writing endless run-on sentences. I immediately headed to the excel cave to try and produce something awesome.

The goddamn excel man

The result is the first version of my NBA now rankings. Since I love my readers,  I’ve put the data in a google table which you can download and play with.This table will form the basis of the model that I will be building to project the coming NBA season.

I've said this many times.(Image by http://xkcd.com/)

But before you all go off and do something silly with it, I’m going to walk you through it.

NBA Now Player Rankings take 1

For the Player rankings, I looked at the following:

  • Players who played more than 400 Minutes last year (sorry Yao)
  • Wins Produced (WP)
  • WP48

I then calculated the percentile value (or the percent of players that could be expected to be below the player’s  Wins Produced and WP48 value) for WP and WP48 and multiplied these two numbers to give the player a cumulative score on what for now shall be known as the Lebron Scale (not-so subtle hint, I know). It then used this scale to rank all the players based on their cumulative score. The NBA Now Top 50  looks like this:

Some thoughts:

  • Lebron is obviously number 1 in the Lebron Scale (I’m working on getting off the list can you tell?).
  • Howard is a close number two at almost full Lebron bio-equivalency and coming very close to turning this into the Superman Index.
  • Some old favorites round out the top 5 in Camby, Kidd and Duncan.
  • Lebron’s teammate D-Wade rounds out the top six at .985 Lebron units.
  • The real interesting thing about that top six is that every player n it has been the best player on a Finals winner or Runner-up.
  • Given that I’m using the full year for this first version, Durant is only number 9 but he is the youngest in the top ten by three years (and his second half numbers suggest the 2011 could be the Plastic Man list).
  • Chris Paul is number 17 but this was done in 1712 minutes. You know the drill:
  • Kobe comes in at 40 at about 3/4 of a Lebron unit. Carmelo misses the top fifty entirely (number 95- .425 of a Lebron unit) and his partners in the trade rumor, Noah and Deng, come in at 22 (.909 units) and 56 (.638 units).

Now we can use this data to rank the NBA Rosters for the coming season.

NBA Now Team Rankings take 1

As I said earlier, I want to make some things clear about this build before any of you go off and do something silly with it.  This is a preliminary team rankings based on 2010-2011 performance only so I’ve not included:

  • Detailed Minute allocations
  • The Rookie Model (yes Devin I’m working on it 🙂 )
  • Injuries (rest easy Rocket fans)
  • Age modeling ( Lakers & Celtics fans beware)

I’m also not using older player data (2005-2006 through 2008-2009) which I will include in the final build. For each team I’ve worked out:

  • The current roster (thank you Wikipedia and Excel)
  • Wins by Players currently on each Roster for the 2009-2010 Season
  • Minutes played by players currently on each Roster for the 2009-2010 Season
  • Cumulative Roster Minutes in 20009-2010 as a % of Required Minutes (82*5*48)
  • Adjusted Wins based on Minutes Played
    • If Minutes are above 100%. Divide Wins by Cumulative Roster Minutes
    • If Minutes are below 100% Fill out remaining minutes at .050 WP48 (avg for rookies)
  • Adjusted Wins based on Minutes and Available Wins. Basically wins have to add up to 1230 or 30 times 41.
  • Roster Quality or the sum of Player Scores from Last Year (Lebron Units)
  • Projected Playoff Win Generation per Game for Top 6 based on MP last Year. This takes the win generation of the top 6 and projects it to the playoffs based on the half-baked theory.
  • Finally I rank each team based on Adjusted Wins (past performance), Roster Quality (depth) and playoff win generation (or how good they’ll be in a seven game series), I figure out the average rank and come up with a preliminary Team Rank

The rankings look like this:

Now featuring Nene Hilario


Preliminarily, the Heat are expected to win the most games in the regular season and romp through the playoff 96 Bulls style. The Bulls and Celtics look to be their primary obstacles. Surprisingly the numbers rank the Blazers roster coming out of the West (It really likes all the Tall guys). Before Blazers fans get too excited remember that injuries and improvement projections based on age will very probably change this significantly.

On a final note, our friends the wizards come out as last overall and very close to our previous projections.

Note: Questions? Here a guide to commonly used terms on this blog from Devin at the NBeh? blog . Here’s a Guide to Calculating Wins Produced from Wages of Wins. Anything else? Feel free to use the comments and I will try to answer your questions.

Note 2: Was missing Nene (the one name thing threw my algorithm). The good news for Denver is that their in the playoffs. The Bad news is that they should be favorites to lose in the first round against pretty much anybody.

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