Power Ranking the 22 NBA Teams Returning to Action
It's happening! As it stands now, the NBA will be returning to action on July 30 after a hiatus of more than four months.
You can read more about it here, but the league will send 22 teams to a single-site campus in Orlando where they will each compete in eight "seeding" games. There's also a possibility of certain teams participating in a "play-in tournament" to determine that 8 seed.
For our Power Rankings, teams will be ranked in terms of nERD, which is our efficiency metric based on in-game data. These ratings allow us to understand which teams and players are performing best. nERD is indicative of a team's expected winning percentage, so an average team will have a nERD score of 50.0.
Let's take a look at the rankings.
The Bottom Feeders
|19||San Antonio Spurs||27-36||46.6||6.1%||0.0%|
|17||Portland Trail Blazers||29-37||47.0||9.1%||0.0%|
|16||New Orleans Pelicans||28-36||47.3||14.0%||0.0%|
- None of these teams are worth spending much time on as their odds of doing anything in the postseason are minimal.
- The Memphis Grizzlies currently have a 3.5-game lead on the Portland Trail Blazers for the 8 seed in the West. Unless Memphis builds a lead bigger than 4.0 games, they'll have to compete in a "play-in tournament" with the team slotted behind them.
- The same goes for the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets in the East. If either of those team's leads shrinks to 4.0 games or less over the Washington Wizards, they'll have to compete in a tournament with Washington to determine who gets the final playoff spot.
The Middle of the Pack
|8||Oklahoma City Thunder||40-24||58.2||100.0%||0.6%|
- Prior to the hiatus, the Denver Nuggets had moments during the season in which they looked like legitimate contenders, but those moments were few and far between in their final month or so. Over their last 10 games, Denver lost 5 times, including defeats by the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers -- two teams with combined records of 34-96.
- For the Philadelphia 76ers, their success in Orlando will be based on this question -- were they a good home team or just a very shitty road team? The Sixers were 29-2 at home and just 10-24 on the road. The difference in their net rating was an astonishing 15.7 points.
- Like the Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers had moments where they looked like formidable contenders. After starting the season 0-3, Indiana won 20 of its next 26. However, over their final 22 games, their record was a mere 11-11. The Pacers had a bottom-six offensive rating during that stretch.
- Speaking of firepower, the Houston Rockets don't lack any. Houston was top-six in both offensive and defensive rating in February. They can make some noise if they regain that form.
The Best of the Best
|T5||Los Angeles Clippers||44-20||65.2||100.0%||6.6%|
|2||Los Angeles Lakers||49-14||71.8||100.0%||19.7%|
- According to numberFire's model, the odds that the title winner comes from this group is 94.1%.
- In their 15 games prior to the season getting suspended, the Los Angeles Clippers were first in offensive rating and fifth in defensive rating. And they didn't even look like they were playing at full throttle.
- After some impressive wins to begin the season, the Dallas Mavericks played .500 ball for much of their final 45 games. The Mavs have a bright future, but it'll be tough for them to make it out of a stacked Western Conference.
- On the season, the Los Angeles Lakers were top-four in offensive and defensive rating. In their four games prior to the break, they had victories over the 76ers, Clippers, and Bucks.
- 3 of Milwaukee's 12 losses came with Giannis Antetokounmpo inactive. In other words, at full strength, the Bucks were 52-9. On the season, Milwaukee had the league's best defensive rating (by more than three points) and fifth-best offensive rating. Their net rating sat 3.6 points better than the next closest team.