NBA Power Rankings Update: All-Star Edition
In honor of the All-Star festivities kicking off this weekend in Toronto, this week we are going to do something a bit different with our power rankings update. In addition to the normal team rankings, we will also take a look at each team's "nERD-Star" or top ranked player based on our nERD rating.
As always, our power rankings here at numberFire are not subjective or influenced by the latest hype; we put our faith and trust in our algorithms. Each week, we’ll list all 30 teams in the Association from worst to best based on our nERD metric, which is a predictive measure to help define what the team's winning percentage ultimately will be.
30. Los Angeles Lakers (nERD: 19.0, Record: 11-44, Last Week: 30)
Brandon Bass (2.3 nERD) - The Lakers have been so bad this year that their highest ranked nERD-Star is a reserve playing fewer than 20 minutes per game. Their real life All-Star, Kobe Bryant, is far from deserving as he holds a -11.6 nERD rating, second worst in the NBA.
29. Philadelphia 76ers (nERD: 19.2, Record: 8-45, Last Week: 29)
Richaun Holmes (1.3) - When you have only eight wins at the All-Star break, it is no surprise when your nERD-star is a reserve; Holmes has only played 14.1 minutes per game this season. Of all the regular starters, Nerlens Noel "leads" the way with a -1.5 nERD and a 91st overall ranking.
28. Phoenix Suns (nERD: 25.5, Record: 14-40, Last Week: 28)
Eric Bledsoe (0.5) - Despite missing the last 22 games, Bledsoe still ranks as the Suns' best player this year. Not surprisingly, Phoenix has gone 2-20 in his absence. Of all currently active Suns, Mirza Teletovic leads the way with a 0.5 nERD.
27. Brooklyn Nets (nERD: 27.3, Record: 14-40 Last Week: 27)
Brook Lopez (2.8) - The lone bright spot in an otherwise disastrous season in Brooklyn, Lopez has stayed healthy and is on pace to play his most minutes in five seasons. He currently stands first in the NBA in two-point shot attempts (849) and makes (430).
26. Milwaukee Bucks (nERD: 35.8, Record: 21-32, Last Week: 26)
Greg Monroe (6.7) - The Bucks' biggest free agent acquisition in team history has lived up to the hype even as the Bucks have regressed defensively. Offensively with Monroe on the court, the Bucks have put up 1.074 points per possession and only 0.998 with him on the bench, per NBAWowy.com.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (nERD: 39.9, Record: 17-37, Last Week: 24)
Karl-Anthony Towns (7.5) - The overwhelming favorite for rookie of the year, Towns has racked up 29 double-doubles, the second-most by a rookie in the past 10 years. His averages of 16.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per game would make Towns one of only four rookies to do so in the past 23 seasons.
24. Denver Nuggets (nERD: 39.9, Record: 22-32, Last Week: 25)
Danilo Gallinari (9.2) - Career-highs in scoring (19.7), rebounds (5.4), and Offensive Rating (121.0) have the Italian sharpshooter as the 14th best player in the NBA, regarding nERD. His 22.8 points and 2.0 threes over the past week have the Nuggets on a roll heading into the break as they have won three of four.
23. New York Knicks (nERD: 41.4, Record: 23-32, Last Week: 21)
Carmelo Anthony (1.9) - While this year has been the worst scoring year for Melo since his sophomore season in the NBA, he has picked up his all-around game in year 13. HIs 7.9 rebounds per game are nearly 20 percent more than his career average of 6.6. Anthony is also posting a career-high 4.2 assists per game.
22. New Orleans Pelicans (nERD: 41.6, Record: 20-32, Last Week: 23)
Anthony Davis (6.3) - Widely regarded as an MVP candidate this preseason, Davis' 25th overall ranking is a big disappointment in New Orleans. His sub-.500 shooting percentage and propensity for injury have the Pelicans sitting 12th in the West and on the outside of the playoff picture.
21. Washington Wizards (nERD: 42.0, Record: 23-27, Last Week: 22)
Marcin Gortat (1.9) - The Polish Hammer continues to be one of the more underrated big men in the NBA and one of the few constants in an up-and-down season in D.C. Since becoming a regular starter four years ago, Gortat has averaged 13.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.
20. Sacramento Kings (nERD: 42.4, Record: 22-31, Last Week: 19)
Willie Cauley-Stein (2.2) - Most would assume DeMarcus Cousins is the nERD leader on the Kings but, in fact, the rookie Cauley-Stein with his 6.3 points and 5.6 rebounds per game lead the way. Buoyed by his 61 percent field goal shooting and 122 Offensive Rating the freshman center sits 55th in our nERD ranks.
19. Orlando Magic (nERD: 42.9, Record: 23-29, Last Week: 20)
Aaron Gordon (3.3) - Only 20-years-old, Gordon has taken off since being inserted into the Magic starting lineup. In the past 11 games, all starts, the second-year pro has four double-doubles while averaging 9.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game.
18. Houston Rockets (nERD: 44.7, Record: 27-28, Last Week: 18)
James Harden (11.7) - Harden is the league's second-leading scorer, at 28.0 points per game, and it all comes from sheer volume. The league leader in free-throw attempts, Harden also ranks second in three-point and fourth in field goal tries per game. Too bad his percentages are only 42.7% from the field and 35.5% from three or else he could easily top the 30 point per game mark.
17. Chicago Bulls (nERD: 45.7, Record: 27-25, Last Week: 15)
Jimmy Butler (11.1) - With Butler out the next four weeks with a knee injury, making up his 22.4 points per game will be hard on its own. Add in coach Fred Hoiberg needs to replace the shooting guard's league leading 37.9 minutes per game as well and an already depleted Bulls' roster will be spread that much thinner.
16. Memphis Grizzlies (nERD: 48.7, Record: 31-22, Last Week: 16)
Mike Conley (3.8) - With Marc Gasol likely out for the year, the Grizz are going to have to rely heavily on Conley if they are going hang on to their playoff spot, a scary proposition in its own right as the point guard seems always to be nursing an injury and has missed six games already this year.
15. Portland Trail Blazers (nERD: 49.1, Record: 27-27, Last Week: 17)
Ed Davis (5.9) - In a complete shocker, Davis bests the Blazers' star (and All-Star snub) Damian Lillard despite not starting a single game this year. The power forward/center has a ridiculous plus 25 Net rating while averaging 11.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per 36 minutes while shooting over 60 percent from the field.
14. Dallas Mavericks (nERD: 49.4, Record: 29-26, Last Week: 14)
Zaza Pachulia (4.5) - Pachulia barely edges out Dirk Nowitzki (4.4) for the Mavericks' rep on this list. With 22 double-doubles and averages of 10.0 points and 10.7 rebounds, the 13-year vet has been a pleasant surprise this year. Even more surprising was how close he came to being voted an All-Star starter.
13. Miami Heat (nERD: 52.6, Record: 29-24, Last Week: 11)
Chris Bosh (9.2) - After the blood clot scare last season, it is good to see Bosh back on the court, let alone putting up All-Star level numbers. The Heat's leading scorer, with 19.1 points per game, Bosh is making a career-high 1.5 threes per game on his way to his 11th straight All-Star selection.
12. Utah Jazz (nERD: 52.7, Record: 26-26, Last Week: 12)
Rudy Gobert (6.1) - Despite missing 20 games with a knee injury, the MVP of this team has been Gobert. In the 31 games, he has started, Utah is 19-12. Their defensive anchor, the Stifle Tower is averaging a double-double while ranking second in the NBA in both Block Percentage and Defensive Box Plus/Minus.
11. Charlotte Hornets (nERD: 53.6, Record: 27-26, Last Week: 13)
Kemba Walker (5.7) - With his recently discovered three-point shot, 1.9 threes on 36.5% shooting, Walker is posting a career-high 20.5 points per game. The new dimensions of his game have helped the Hornets rank 14th in points per game after sitting in the bottom three last season.
10. Detroit Pistons (nERD: 55.5, Record: 27-27, Last Week: 8)
Reggie Jackson (4.6) - In his first full year as a starter, Jackson has led the Pistons to a .500 or better record at the All-Star break for the first time in since 2009. His 19.1 points per game
9. Indiana Pacers (nERD: 55.7, Record: 28-25, Last Week: 9)
Ian Mahinmi (5.8) - The last of the head-scratching selections, Mahinmi barely makes it in over real life All-Star Paul George and his 5.4 rating. Mahinmi gets in due to his outstanding efficiency, as he boasts a top 12 Offensive and Defensive Rating, per basketball-reference.com.
8. Atlanta Hawks (nERD: 57.0, Record: 31-24, Last Week: 10)
Paul Millsap (10.5) - Constantly forgotten in Atlanta, Millsap is our 12th best player, regarding nERD. He is also one of only four players averaging at least 17.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, and 1.0 steals per game this season. He is also going to his third consecutive All-Star game since coming over from Utah in 2013.
7. Boston Celtics (nERD: 60.5, Record: 32-23, Last Week: 7)
Isaiah Thomas (8.7) - Earning his first All-Star game appearance, Thomas is more than deserving, as he is posting career numbers in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and threes. The diminutive point guard also has the Celtics humming as they hold the third seed and the top scoring offense (105.7 points per game) in the East.
6. Toronto Raptors (nERD: 63.0, Record: 35-17, Last Week: 6)
Kyle Lowry (12.8) - Along with DeMar DeRozan, Lowry is part of the second best backcourt in the NBA, behind only Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State. The duo is averaging over 44 points per game, including career-high 21.0 from Lowry, and both made the All-Star team with Lowry as a starter.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (nERD: 67.1, Record: 38-14, Last Week: 5)
LeBron James (14.8) - King James never ceases to amaze. Even as his minutes decline to a career-low, James is still able to remain in the top five of scoring with 24.9 points per game. In his 13th season, LBJ still finds himself at the top of his game and the NBA as he ranks in the top five of nERD, PER, Win Shares, and Box Plus/Minus.
4. Los Angeles Clippers (nERD: 68.1, Record: 35-18, Last Week: 4)
DeAndre Jordan (12.9) - A rebounding and blocks machine, Jordan has been able to step up his offensive game with Blake Griffin sidelined. In the 21 games with Griffin, Jordan is averaging 13.8 points on 70.3 percent shooting. Now if he could make more than 41.8 percent of his free-throws, maybe he would have a case for the All-Star game.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (nERD: 73.0, Record: 39-14, Last Week: 3)
Kevin Durant (19.9) - As a four-time scoring champ, it goes without saying KD is a regular contender for MVP of the league, and this season is no different. Ranking third in scoring, nERD, PER, and second in True Shooting Percentage and Wins Shares, Durant has bounced back resoundingly after missing 55 games last season.
2. Golden State Warriors (nERD: 87.7, Record: 48-4, Last Week: 2)
Stephen Curry (26.6) - Curry is running away with the MVP, as he leads in virtually every advanced stat category. While that is impressive in its own right, what he is doing behind the arc is unheard of. With 245 three-pointers, Chef Curry is on pace for a mind-blowing 392 on the season. The Warriors' point guard already owns the top two performances in NBA history, including the record of 286 set just last season.
1. San Antonio Spurs (nERD: 88.7 Record: 45-8, Last Week: 1)
Kawhi Leonard (21.3) - Always in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, Leonard is now making a claim for being the Most Improved Player as well this year. He has bumped his scoring up by over 20 percent to 20.0 points per game. He also has claimed his first All-Star appearance after being voted in by the fans.