NBA Power Rankings Update: Have the Houston Rockets Caught Up to the Golden State Warriors?
The NBA standings do not always tell the whole story when it comes to determining which teams are truly playing the best brand of basketball.
Simple win-loss records don't factor in things like strength of schedule, efficiency, average margin of victory, and so on. If Team A wins five close games and loses five in blowout fashion, while Team B loses five close games but blows out their opponents in the other five, there should be something that tells us that Team B's 5-5 record is better than Team A's.
That's where our power rankings come in. Using our proprietary metric, nERD -- a ranking on a scale from 0-100, with 50 as the league average, which is predictive of a team's ultimate winning percentage based on its efficiency -- we put teams in order of how well they've actually been performing this season, regardless of their number of wins and losses.
As a result, you end up with some teams that have solid records coming in low in our rankings (like the 16-15 Miami Heat coming in 22nd), while other teams that appear to be struggling in the loss column grade out near the top (like the 16-15 Oklahoma City Thunder coming in 8th). The idea is that this list will give you a better picture of how things are likely to shake out by season's end than the plain and simple standings would.
Without further ado, let's count the teams down from worst to best.