NBA Power Rankings for the 2012-13 Season volume #2

Have I got a late christmas present for you.

I have for you, the latest and greatest version of my power rankings.

Since it’s christmas we start with the presents (If you feel you need explanations you can go here for them):


Team Conf Expected Wins Conf Rk League rk
Miami Heat E 59.0 1 4
New York Knicks E 58.0 2 5
Atlanta Hawks E 49.0 3 7
Indiana Pacers E 47.0 4 9
Chicago Bulls E 46.0 5 10
Brooklyn Nets E 44.0 6 13
Boston Celtics E 40.0 7 17
Milwaukee Bucks E 39.0 8 18
Orlando Magic E 35.0 9 19
Detroit Pistons E 33.0 10 20
Philadelphia 76ers E 33.0 11 20
Toronto Raptors E 30.0 12 24
Cleveland Cavaliers E 24.0 13 27
Charlotte Bobcats E 20.0 14 29
Washington Wizards E 16.0 15 30
Los Angeles Clippers W 62.0 1 1
Oklahoma City Thunder W 62.0 2 1
San Antonio Spurs W 62.0 3 1
Memphis Grizzlies W 56.0 4 6
Denver Nuggets W 49.0 5 7
Houston Rockets W 46.0 6 10
Golden State Warriors W 45.0 7 12
Los Angeles Lakers W 44.0 8 13
Utah Jazz W 44.0 9 13
Minnesota Timberwolves W 42.0 10 16
Portland Trail Blazers W 32.0 11 22
Dallas Mavericks W 31.0 12 23
Phoenix Suns W 29.0 13 25
Sacramento Kings W 25.0 14 26
New Orleans Hornets W 22.0 15 28

The Knicks and the Heat looks to be in a standoff in the East while the West is a dead heat between the Thunder, Spurs and the Clippers.

That’s the conclusion. Let’s give the typical background before we go to far.

Schedule strength comes first:


The Hornets,Nuggets and Raptors have faced the roughest schedule. The Pacers, Hawks and Suns have faced the easiest schedule.

How’s it look for the rest of the season?

Schedule after

And yes I did simulate every game for the rest of the season to do that table, more on that later. The poor pelicans can’t catch a break. While Denver sees a significant softening of their early schedule. Houston and Golden State see a significant hardening of theirs.

Let’s talk rankings.

The Rankings as of 12/25/2012

The game data is courtesy of Basketball Reference.

I will build the rankings by working out the following numbers:

  • Point Margin per Game: Pts scored by team -Pts scored by opponent divided by games played
  • Home court Point Margin per Game: Point Margin per game due to the schedule and homecourt advantage.
  • Adjusted Point Margin per Game: Point Margin per Game -Home court Point Margin per Game. Schedule independent point margin (neutral site at sea level)
  • Adjusted Opponent Point Margin: The average Point Margin per Game of a teams opponents.
  • Real Point Margin (RPM): Point Margin per Game -Home court Point Margin per Game +Adjusted Opponent Point Margin. Expected Point Margin at a neutral site against perfectly average opposition. This is the Number I use to rank.
  • Neutral Site Win % : A win projection using the real point margin and the relationship between point margin and win% ( RPM/31 + .500 is a quick shorthand but not quite right, don’t worry I’m in the process of writing this up)

Keep in mind that this is a guess (a very scientific one but still a guess) at the relative strengths of teams based on the data of the season to date. We still need to account for injuries and incorporate what we know of player historical performance. We will address this in a, say it with me, future post.

Power 1225

A few notes:

  • The Eastern Conference looks looked in as predicted as a two team race between the Heat and Knicks who come in functionally tied at #4 in the power ranking. Everyone else in the east can be ignored as a contender (yes, even my beloved Celtics). Once certain players come back from injury we can revisit this.
  • The West is very,very strong with the top 3 teams in the league in a dead heat in the Clippers, San Antonio and the Thunder. All three of these teams are legit title contenders. The Clippers in particular are very,very interesting now that Lamar Odom is back to his LA LAkers WP48 levels in the last month. They also have Chris Paul who is very good. The Spurs have also just now gotten healthy
  • The Biggest x-factor to me of the remaining teams is the Houston Rockets. Houston features one of the youngest rotations in the league and should improve as the season goes along.

Let’s adjust for the expected season schedule now and project win totals for the rest of the year.

project 1

And that’s real pretty but let’s summarize and close.

project 2

That’s the end folks. Happy Holidays and drive safely.


P.S. As a bonus, Here’s a table presented without explanation or context:


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