The 2013 Fun Rankings

On the infrequent occasions when I have been called upon in a formal place to play the bongo drums, the introducer never seems to find it necessary to mention that I also do theoretical physics.

-Richard Feynman

I suppose I could just go ahead and just write a post around the final in-season power ranks.

Power rank graph

Power Rank table

We could talk about the playoff odds as well.

Playoff seed

In general the points of interest are as follows:

  • The Playoff picture is pretty much set in stone at this point. The only drama in the East is who joins Indiana on NBA tv. For the West, the Lakers are in (sorry Jazz Fans), Homecourt in Memphis/LAC is in play and your guess is as good as mine as whether or not Popp wants to avoid Houston in round 1
  • Miami is the best team in the East but the margin is overstated. They are a good but by all means not a great team. New York does look like a legit challenger to them but really it all comes down to which version of Melo shows up. Classic Melo comes in? Knicks struggle with Celts and probably fall in round 2. This Alternate version of Melo that Jason Kidd seems to have pulled thru a tear in the fabric of reality on behalf of the Pinkertons that makes good decisions and is effective shows up? Knicks/Heat goes seven in a toss-up.
  • Under the right circumstances (Bogut being healthy, Kobe getting 15 FTA per game, George Karl being George Karl, James Harden and Chris Paul being themselves), I could see every series in the West going seven games. Every Series, in every round. Really, I can only discount Houston, Denver and Golden State as title contenders from a historical perspective (on age) and I can’t eliminate them from getting to the WCF. Crazy.

And while that’s all very scientific and interesting, the point of this post is different though.We are here to have some fun.

Science?!? Image courtesy of

Now that the playoff protagonist are set, let’s rank every possible nba playoff series in terms of fun thru a completely made up set of criteria using proper value engineering techniques. The way this works is simple:

  1. Get a list of all the playoff Teams together
  2. Rank the team in each category as either a : 9 (High),5 (Mid),1 (Low)
  3. Add up the scores for each team
  4. Determine the level of rivalry between each team as either a : 125% (High),100% (Mid),75% (Low)
  5. Do a cross-matrix where we add the scores from 3 for each team and multiply by the value from 4

Pretty clear right?

Hopefully more clear than this (Image courtesy of

Let’s start with the factors:

  1. Fanbase Size,Quality and Passion: This is the one that warms David Stern at night. Lot’s of fans means lots of interest. Lot’s of passionate fans make a series fantastic.


    Welcome back New York!

  2. Playoff Experience: Has this team gotten it done before. Is this their first dance or can they Bring it?

    Know your role.

  3. Star Power: Will I be amazed? Is there a real chance that we’ll get to see something truly unique ? That’s the key for this one.

    The King and the Prince

    The King and the Prince

  4. Hateability “The Old Firm”: This is for teams that are so successful that it’s easy to root against them. Success is the key on this one. The Black hats always bring the excitement.
  5. Likeability “Cinderella Factor”: The opposite of Factor 4. Are we looking at a ragtag bunch of outcasts? Has the phrase : “Nobody believed in us” been uttered? Particularly poignant when combined with the Ewing theory.

    Avoid at all costs in Round 1

    Avoid at all costs in Round 1

  6. Historical Implications: Is this series the bookend of a larger story? Am I watching something I’ll be talking about years later? Does this story fit in a larger tapestry?

    Kidd/Tyson vs Miami The Sequel

    Kidd/Tyson vs Miami
    The Sequel

  7. Team Quality “The Hall of Fame Counter”: Will I be watching a truly great team? Could these guys hang with the pantheon? How many future hall of famers are taking the court?

    4 Hall of Famers in that picture

    4 Hall of Famers in that picture. Has to count for something.

  8. Fun Factor:Is this a fun team to watch? Will the games be ridiculously fun? Are we getting to automatic League Pass teams?

    James Harden, Kenneth Faried

    Manimals versus Beards

  9. Fanbase Hateability: You know who you are.

    Screw you, Jack.

    Screw you, Jack.

  10. The Rivalry Factor: “Clean Old Fashioned Hate”: How much do these teams dislike each other? Is a fistfight likely to break out? Is it personal?

    Heart Healthy!

    Heart Healthy!

Factors in let’s look at my totally irrational ratings. First By Team:


Then the Rivalry Factors:


And finally lets put them together:

Q rank

If we rank the teams in terms of the Quality and desirability to making the playoffs fun, watchable and profitable we get:

  1. Lakers
  2. Spurs
  3. Celtics
  4. Heat
  5. Knicks
  6. Thunder

There’s a reason why this video exists:


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