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    Team Statistician Obawan12's Avatar
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    Default Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    You may be surprised as to who is first...

    http://espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/powerrankings

    The cavs are ranked 17th today, and the 98.205 rating basically means the cavs have played like a slightly below average team up to this point. Obviously the sample size is still small, so these rankings could change drastically tomorrow based on a single blow out win (or loss). However, they are a good indicator of who has played well and who hasn't up to this point.

    And please, keep in mind that these rankings are 100% computer automated. Hollinger has no say in how teams are actually ranked; everything is calculated based on a formula he created over 5 years ago.

    EDIT: Actually, Hollinger explains it pretty well himself right here:

    Power Rankings: Full of surprises

    No. 1 in defensive efficiency.

    No. 1 in point differential.

    Nearly No. 1 in offensive efficiency.

    Yep, there's no question who has been the best team so far: the Philadelphia 76ers.

    No, seriously. Philly has been on a rampage in its first eight games, and, as a result, is on top of the inaugural daily daily power rankings, well ahead of the second-ranked Heat.

    As a reminder, here's how the daily power rankings work. The most important thing to remember is that it's entirely results-driven.

    These rankings are based on a long-established formula, with no human judgment intervening. We don't compensate for injuries, trades or other in-season shifts.

    Here's what goes into the sauce: We start with a team's scoring margin, strength of schedule and home/road games (the number of each so far). We weight recent games more heavily and create a rating from it. A perfectly average team will be at 100.0, and any deviation above or below is how much better or worse than average, in points per game, that team has played.

    Ideally, you can match two teams up by their rating to see which would be favored and by how much. That's the CliffsNotes version; you can find a fuller explanation here.

    Put all that in, and what comes out is that the Sixers have played the best, not that anyone in Philadelphia has noticed. They drew 8,612 fans last night, a shockingly low figure even for a seasoned Atlanta Hawks attendee like me.

    Regardless of whether there were any witnesses, the preseason debates about whether the Boston Celtics or New York Knicks would win the Atlantic Division already seem laughable. Last night's Sixers win over a tough Indiana Pacers squad was a good example. Philly flew up and down the court, with Thaddeus Young in particular infecting the game everywhere with his energy. He took four charges, missed only one shot and was all over the place defensively. The book on Young is that he doesn't have the size to be a starting power forward, but games like last night's make you wonder.

    Spencer Hawes, meanwhile, has arguably been the league's most improved player in the early going. He leads the team in PER, averaging a double-double with nearly three assists a game while orchestrating from the high post in the Sixers' half-court sets -- something they haven't had to rely on too much because they've created so much havoc in transition.

    It's not just Hawes, though. Leading scorer Lou Williams and rookie Nikola Vucevic also have greatly outperformed expectations, and, again, the defense has been rock solid thanks to the superior team quickness.

    Can the Sixers keep this up? In a literal sense, of course not; no team is this good over long stretches.

    More subjectively, the question is whether the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls -- teams No. 2 and No. 3 in the daily power rankings -- have anything to fear. At this point, I'd say probably not. Philly still lacks the A-list talent to hang with these guys in a playoff series, let alone match them win for win in the regular season. One also suspects Philly is due for some fairly dramatic regression to the mean, which could come as soon as the next 48 hours as the Sixers complete a back-to-back against the Sacramento Kings and the Knicks.

    But it's become clear that continuity, youth and depth are three major advantages this season. The Sixers qualify on all three counts, with the exact same rotation as a year ago, seven of their nine rotation players ages 25 and under, and a second unit that has been a difference-maker on many nights.

    So although it's only eight games, Philly has to qualify as the league's biggest surprise thus far. The Sixers might not stay atop the daily power rankings all year, or even all week, but they look legit as a top-four playoff seed in the East.

    Other notables in the daily power rankings:


    No. 9: Oklahoma City Thunder
    Yes, despite an 8-2 start against a fairly strong schedule, the Thunder are only ninth in the daily power rankings thanks to their slim victory margins. OKC has already won four times by four or fewer points, indicating that it probably is fortunate to be 8-2 rather than 6-4. The other reason the Thunder are this low is simple early-season variance; later in the year, when all the outliers have come back to earth, a rating of 103.2 would have them a few spots higher. I wouldn't sweat this one, as they also started slowly a year ago before gaining steam as the year went on.


    No. 11: Phoenix Suns
    Left for dead after starting the season with a home loss to the New Orleans Hornets, the Suns have recovered thanks to some impressive defense and a revitalized Steve Nash. The Suns are tied for 10th in defensive efficiency, believe it or not, and are the 11th-slowest team in terms of pace factor.

    Nash, meanwhile, struggled with a minor injury through the first week of the season but appears to be regaining his form. In the two games since Wednesday's pep talk from our Marc Stein, he went 7-for-7 from the field in one and handed out 17 dimes in the other. Phoenix has a couple of bad losses on its résumé, but all four wins have been by double figures. As with Philly, I'm taking this eight-game sample with an entire pillar of salt, but the Suns have played like a fringe playoff team thus far.


    No. 14: Minnesota Timberwolves
    They're 3-6 and have already played six home games, but the Timberwolves rank this highly because they have a positive scoring margin -- all three wins were by double figures -- and have played some good teams. In particular, near misses against Miami and Oklahoma City could have been wins that would have changed our perceptions substantially.

    On the other hand, they've had some stinkers thrown in, such as Monday's loss to the Toronto Raptors in a game that might have shattered the league record for fouls committed more than 10 feet from the basket. This is heady stuff for a Wolves team that has been 29th or 30th for much of the history of these power rankings, but I'm not sure the Wolves can maintain such a high perch.



    No. 21: Boston; No. 24: New York

    These two rankings are all about strength of schedule. Boston is 4-4, but three of the wins have been of the near-automatic variety against the Washington Wizards and New Jersey Nets -- the two bottom-ranked teams in these rankings. Meanwhile, they were hammered by New Orleans and haven't beaten a team in the top 25.

    The Bockers are 5-4 with a positive scoring margin, but the daily power rankings slam them for an even more laughable strength of schedule than Boston's -- New York opponents have a .294 winning percentage when not playing the Knicks, which is the worst in the table. The Los Angeles Lakers are the only one of New York's first nine opponents that has a winning record.


    No. 30: Washington
    The shocking thing about the Wizards is not that they're 30th but how far they are out of 29th. Washington's 83.80 rating is more than seven points behind the No. 29 Nets' rate of 90.83, implying that the Nets would be favored by a touchdown on a neutral court. The difference between No. 29 New Jersey and No. 19 New Orleans is smaller than the difference between Washington and 29th.

    The really scary part for Washington is that it has played a weak schedule thus far. The average Wizards opponent has a .377 winning percentage when not playing Washington. That will change in a hurry: After tonight's tilt against Toronto, they play Chicago, Philly twice, the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City and the Denver Nuggets. Thus, if they can't manage to handle the Raptors on a back-to-back in D.C., suddenly a record-tying 0-17 start is very much in the picture.
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story...power-rankings

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    So if you beat crappy teams by a wider margin you are somehow the No. 1 most "powerful" team in the NBA?

    Philadelphia has one win against a team with a winning record - Indiana.

    Sorry, but that algorithm is broken.

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    small sample size...

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    Team Statistician Obawan12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterGibbons View Post
    So if you beat crappy teams by a wider margin you are somehow the No. 1 most "powerful" team in the NBA?

    Philadelphia has one win against a team with a winning record - Indiana.

    Sorry, but that algorithm is broken.


    No matter how well it's explained some people just never get it lol.

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    I love how Hollinger tries to proclaim objectivity by saying that "no human judgement is used."

    That's laughable - unless Hollinger himself is a cyborg sent from the future to explain to us mere mortals what criteria is important when deciding which teams are better than others.

    He is human, he developed the algorithm, ergo human judgement is used.

    He might as well just say, "based on my opinion about how to decide which teams should be ranked at a given moment in time, I found a way to do it without having to actually to do any real thinking."

    And yeah, I get it.

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    Kouki, Not Cookie. IWantAKouki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Good Lord does this need to be discussed every time. Take the rankings for what they are. He developed a formula to attempt to rank the teams. He KNOWS it isn't always the most accurate, and he ADMITS it all the time when his formula spits out things that he thinks are wrong. And I'm sure he's working on honing in the formula all the time.

    He's just having fun with numbers. Take it for what it is and this whole "LOL what a shitty formula" argument does NOT need to be brought up all the time because we all understand what it is and what it isn't. And the fact that his numbers are generally indicative of teams' standings is a nice testament.
    Last edited by IWantAKouki; 01-10-2012 at 04:13 PM.
    i like jorts

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    Team Statistician Obawan12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterGibbons View Post
    I love how Hollinger tries to proclaim objectivity by saying that "no human judgement is used."

    That's laughable - unless Hollinger himself is a cyborg sent from the future to explain to us mere mortals what criteria is important when deciding which teams are better than others.

    He is human, he developed the algorithm, ergo human judgement is used.

    He might as well just say, "based on my opinion about how to decide which teams should be ranked at a given moment in time, I found a way to do it without having to actually to do any real thinking."

    And yeah, I get it.
    No, you don't, but I will attempt to explain it to you.

    Hollinger created his formula based on past results. He looked all the other past champions and elite teams, figured out what they had in common, and developed a formula based on the data he found. It's not like he picked a couple stat lines he liked, then decided to throw them together and create some formula. He is paid to crunch numbers. It's his job, and he's pretty good at it.

    What's laughable to me is how you're so determined that you are right, yet in reality the entire thing went straight over your head.

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by IWantAKouki View Post
    Good Lord shut the hell up. Take the rankings for what they are. He developed a formula to attempt to rank the teams. He KNOWS it isn't always the most accurate, and he ADMITS it all the time when his formula spits out things that he thinks are wrong. And I'm sure he's working on honing in the formula all the time.

    He's just having fun with numbers. Take it for what it is and this whole "LOL what a shitty formula" argument does NOT need to be brought up all the time because we all understand what it is and what it isn't. And the fact that his numbers are generally indicative of teams' standings is a nice testament.
    Classy response.

    Last I checked this was an open forum for discussion. If you don't like my response, then just ignore it. Telling me to "shut the hell" up is childish.

    How's this...Hollinger's Power Rankings are so much fun and provide interesting fodder for awesome discussion.

    Better?

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    Team Statistician Obawan12's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by IWantAKouki View Post
    Good Lord does this need to be discussed every time. Take the rankings for what they are. He developed a formula to attempt to rank the teams. He KNOWS it isn't always the most accurate, and he ADMITS it all the time when his formula spits out things that he thinks are wrong. And I'm sure he's working on honing in the formula all the time.

    He's just having fun with numbers. Take it for what it is and this whole "LOL what a shitty formula" argument does NOT need to be brought up all the time because we all understand what it is and what it isn't. And the fact that his numbers are generally indicative of teams' standings is a nice testament.
    Actually, his rankings aren't always indicative of the standings, but they are usually pretty indicative when it comes to predicting who is going to win it all. In the 5 (or 6?, not sure) years that his formula has been out, only once has the NBA champ not been one of the top 2 teams in his rankings. The rankings have been very good at predicting playoff success in-general.

    I'm certainly not claiming the rankings are perfect, but I will most definitely claim that they are one of the best measures of a team's worth available to us in this day and age. Certainly better than any "analyst" or "expert" opinion, and obviously they exclude the bias and subjectivity that 99% of fans put into their arguments. Sadly, most fans cannot come to terms with things like the 6ers just having played really well for 2 weeks, so they instantly call the rankings bogus without doing any further research of their own. Disappointing, but it really doesn't matter in the end.

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterGibbons View Post
    Classy response.

    Last I checked this was an open forum for discussion. If you don't like my response, then just ignore it. Telling me to "shut the hell" up is childish.

    How's this...Hollinger's Power Rankings are so much fun and provide interesting fodder for awesome discussion.

    Better?
    I felt bad so I changed it

    Point still stands.
    i like jorts

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    Kouki, Not Cookie. IWantAKouki's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Obawan12 View Post
    Actually, his rankings aren't always indicative of the standings, but they are usually pretty indicative when it comes to predicting who is going to win it all. In the 5 (or 6?, not sure) years that his formula has been out, only once has the NBA champ not been one of the top 2 teams in his rankings. The rankings have been very good at predicting playoff success in-general.
    Yeah that's what I meant to say but standings was obviously a poor word choice.
    i like jorts

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Obawan12 View Post
    Actually, his rankings aren't always indicative of the standings, but they are usually pretty indicative when it comes to predicting who is going to win it all. In the 5 (or 6?, not sure) years that his formula has been out, only once has the NBA champ not been one of the top 2 teams in his rankings. The rankings have been very good at predicting playoff success in-general.

    I'm certainly not claiming the rankings are perfect, but I will most definitely claim that they are one of the best measures of a team's worth available to us in this day and age. Certainly better than any "analyst" or "expert" opinion, and obviously they exclude the bias and subjectivity that 99% of fans put into their arguments. Sadly, most fans cannot come to terms with things like the 6ers just having played really well for 2 weeks, so they instantly call the rankings bogus without doing any further research of their own. Disappointing, but it really doesn't matter in the end.
    The Mavs were quite a ways back in point differential last year if I recall (and before you say it was because they played a West-heavy schedule, they were a decent ways back among West teams, too.)

    The Hollinger stats correctly predicted that we were nowhere near a 7-9 team and the Heat were nowhere near a 9-8 team last year, too, but a well-trained monkey should've been able to figure that out, much as we wanted to believe otherwise.

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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    well, I hope the Cavs aren't the 18th best team in the league then... Because that would mean one hell of a crappy pick, not even going to the playoffs... I mean, if you are gonna be mediocre, please at least reach the playoffs!

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    Golden Shower Member Lee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by shukle View Post
    well, I hope the Cavs aren't the 18th best team in the league then... Because that would mean one hell of a crappy pick, not even going to the playoffs... I mean, if you are gonna be mediocre, please at least reach the playoffs!
    This is the problem with getting 2 of the 5 best rookies who are performing well and playing within our coaches system. We have to hope to get lucky in the lottery and the 2012 draft really is as deep as everyone says.

    Cant really hope for for TT or Kyrie to stop playing well as their development is as important as anything. So we will have future cap room, some type of asset in return for sessions/andy and hopefully the 10th pick or so in a deep draft. If we draft smart (again), we should be ok.

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    Let's go Cabs! Marcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hollinger Power Rankings Are Out

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    This is the problem with getting 2 of the 5 best rookies who are performing well and playing within our coaches system. We have to hope to get lucky in the lottery and the 2012 draft really is as deep as everyone says.

    Cant really hope for for TT or Kyrie to stop playing well as their development is as important as anything. So we will have future cap room, some type of asset in return for sessions/andy and hopefully the 10th pick or so in a deep draft. If we draft smart (again), we should be ok.

    The schedule is about to get a lot tougher -- I'm personally not worried about the Cavs falling out of the top 5 for the draft, although I don't think they're going to end up with that #1 pick again. If they do then there are going to be a lot of people crying foul.

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