Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix Suns’

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA [2008-2009]: Part I

December 16, 2008

The 2008-2009 NBA regular season schedule has reached the 1/4 pole, as all 30 teams have played at least 20 games. Given the history of this league and …

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

… it is helpful to evaluate where they rank against one another at this juncture.

QUALITY RATING & QUALITY INDEX RANKING

NBA 2008-2009
[as of Mon Dec 15 2008]

Team

W/L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Cavaliers

20/4

.833

1

1

3

5

1

2

 

Celtics

23/2

.920

3

2

1

6

2

1

 

Hornets

13/7

.650

6

3

10

19

3

 

4

Blazers

15/10

.600

10

9

1

20

T-4

 

7

Rockets

15/9

.625

8

5

7

20

T-4

 

5

Lakers

20/3

.870

2

14

6

22

6

 

1

Spurs

15/8

.652

7

6

11

24

7

 

3

76ers

10/14

.417

16

8

4

28

 

11

 

Jazz

15/11

.577

9

11

9

29

8

 

8

Mavericks

13/10

.625

11

16

7

34

 

 

9

 

Nuggets

17/7

.708

4

15

16

35

9

 

2

Hawks

15/9

.625

12

7

17

36

10

4

 

Magic

19/6

.760

5

10

24

39

11

3

 

Bucks

11/15

.423

18

17

5

40

 

10

 

Pistons

13/9

.591

14

12

22

48

12

5

 

Suns

15/10

.600

13

22

14

49

13

 

6

Bobcats

7/18

.280

24

4

22

50

 

14

 

Heat

12/12

.500

15

13

25

53

14

7

 

Nets

12/11

.522

20

24

12

56

15

6

 

Bulls

11/12

.478

17

21

18

56

16

8

 

 

Pacers

8/16

.333

21

25

13

59

 

13

 

Grizzlies

9/15

.375

22

18

19

59

 

 

10

Timberwolves

4/20

.167

28

23

14

65

 

 

14

Clippers

6/17

.261

25

19

25

69

 

 

13

Raptors

10/14

.417

23

20

30

73

 

12

 

Thunder

2/23

.080

30

26

20

76

 

 

15

Knicks

11/13

.458

19

29

28

76

 

9

 

Kings

7/18

.280

29

28

20

77

 

 

11

Wizards

4/18

.182

27

27

27

81

 

15

 

Warriors

7/18

.261

26

30

29

85

 

 

12

Legend:
W-L – Won Loss Record; Win% - Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Rank; PAR – Points Allowed Rank; RDR – Rebound Differential Rank; QR – Quality Rating; QIR – Quality Index Ranking; EC – Eastern Conference Playoff Position; WC – Western Conference Playoff Position 

Note:
1. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion and Finalist has had a QR ≤ 34.
2. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion has had a QIR ≤ #9.
3. Since 2000-2001 7 of the 8 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

Take note of where your favourite team stands today … and where it will need to get to, over the course of the next five months, in order to be considered a legit contender for the 2009 NBA Championship.

NBA’s upper echelon begins to emerge

November 28, 2008

The NBA’s regular season schedule is now in full swing with each team having played a minimum of 13 games.

As was mentioned earlier in this space, there are three tiers of teams in this League that reveal themselves on an annual basis:

1. HIGH END [above a .549 Win %]
2. MIDDLE-of-the-Pack [between a .450-.549 Win %]
3. LOW END [below a .450 Win %]

At this point, here’s what each team’s W-L record is, in conjunction with their respective Rebounding Differential Ranking [which regular readers here know is a crucial factor towards playoff success]:

HIGH END

1 LA Lakers 12-1/.923; +5.00/#3
2 Boston 14-2/.875; +3.43/#7
3 Cleveland 12-3/.750; +4.33/#5
4 Phoenix 11-5/.688; -0.25/#14
T5 Detroit 9-5/.643; +0.92/#11
T5 Atlanta 9-5/.643; -0.42/#16
T5 Orlando 12-4/.643; -0.37/#15
T5 New Orleans 9-5/.643; +0.07/#13
T9 Utah 10-6/.625; +3.50/#6
T9 Portland 10-6/.625; +4.37/#4
T9 Houston 10-6/.625; +2.06/#9
T9 Denver 10-6/.625; -0.43/#17
13 San Antonio 8-6/.571; -2.28/#24 *

MIDDLE

T14 Dallas 7-7/.500; +3.07/#8
T14 New Jersey 7-7/.500; +0.21/#12
T14 Toronto 7-7/.500; -2.14/#23
T17 Miami 7-8/.467; -5.26/#28
T17 Philadelphia 6-7/.467; +6.33/#1
T17 New York 7-8/.467; -7.20/#30

LOW END

20 Chicago 7-9/.438; -1.31/#19
21 Indiana 6-8/.429; +1.00/#10
22 Milwaukee 7-10/.412; +5.58/#2
23 Golden State 5-10/.333; -3.20/#26
24 Sacramento 5-12/.294; -1.64/#20
25 Memphis 4-11/.267; -2.40/#25
26 Charlotte 4-10/.286; -2.07/#22
27 Minnesota 3-10/.231; -1.30/#18
28 Washington 2-11/.154; -3.46/#27
29 LA Clippers/2-13/.133; -5.53/#29
30 Oklahoma City 1-15/.063; -1.81/#21

* Have played mostly without Ginobili-M and Parker-T, thus far.

Rebounding Differential Rankings in the NBA [Nov 6]

November 7, 2008

When this corner of the sports blogosphere told you earlier this fall/summer that the Raptors trade for Jermaine O’Neal was not going to be enough, by itself, to fundamentally improve Toronto’s Rebounding Deficiency from the last few seasons there were boatloads of delusional fans some who did not want to believe this specific assessment of this team, in advance of actually seeing real live NBA games this season with their own two eyes.

—————–

How could the acquisition of a former 6-time NBA All-Star …

in exchange for a smallish, erractic [but talented] Point Guard [i.e. TJ Ford], an over-the-hill, lumbering, strictly speaking part-time Center [i.e. Rasho Nesterovic], the 15th player from their roster last season [i.e. Maceo Baston], and a flip-flop of the No. 17 [overall] and No. 41 Draft Picks from the 2008 NBA Draft, who turned out to be Roy Hibbert [C] and Nathan Jawai [C], respectively …

possibly NOT improve the Raptors decidely mediocre rebounding numbers from the last few years in any significant way, shape or form?

—————–

Well … as of Thursday, November 6, 2008 the Basketball Acumen of this specific correspondent seems to be as sharp [and accurate] as ever:

[Statistics from NBA.com]

NBA

Rebounding Differential

Per Game

2008-2009

[as of Thu Nov 6]

Rank

Team

+/-

1

L.A. Lakers

+12.25

2

Detroit

+11.00

 

Philadelphia

+11.00

4

Cleveland

+9.00

5

Phoenix

+5.20

6

Utah

+5.00

7

Atlanta

+3.66

8

Boston

+2.40

 

Milwaukee

+2.40

10

Golden State

+0.40

 

Portland

+0.40

12

Orlando

+0.20

13

Charlotte

-0.25

14

Chicago

-0.60

15

Houston

-1.40

16

New Jersey

-1.66

17

Sacramento

-1.80

18

Memphis

-2.00

19

Oklahoma City

-2.25

20

New Orleans

-3.00

21

Denver

-3.50

 

Minnesota

-3.50

23

Dallas

-3.75

24

Miami

-4.00

25

San Antonio

-4.25

26

Indiana

-4.66

27

Washington

-7.33

28

New York

-8.75

29

L.A. Clippers

-9.00

30

Toronto

-10.50

When a certain NBA observer tells you something about ‘How the Game actually Works in this League’, in advance … it might well be in your best interests to believe what this person has to say, even though you are not able to fully comprehend it, at that point in time.

—————–

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”Anonymous

The Better Half in the NBA: Day 1

October 28, 2008

And, so … it begins:

1 Los Angeles Lakers [W1] … A Legendary season awaits
2 Boston Celtics [E1] … Still the Champs
3 Detroit Pistons [E2] … Bad Boyz II, under MC [Hammer]
4 Phoenix Suns [W2] … Sunrise, Sunset, under TP
5 Utah Jazz [W3] … Tried & True
6 Houston Rockets [W4] … Combustible on any given night
7 Dallas Mavericks [W5] … letting Freedom Reign, under RC
8 Orlando Magic [E3] … holding strong with new additions
9 New Orleans Hornets [W6] … due for a small slip backwards
10 Portland Trail Blazers [W7] … The 2nd Coming begins
11 Cleveland Cavaliers [E4] … The King is in the house
12 Philadelphia 76ers [E5] … major moves this off-season
13 San Antonio Spurs [W8] … a struggle without Manu
14 Denver Nuggets [W9] … re-tooling their defense
15 Chicago Bulls [E6] … expect big things from VDN & ‘Mr. Rose’

Comprehending pre-season standings in the NBA

October 24, 2008

The NBA’s pre-season schedulae of games is rapidly coming to a close.

In general, how a team fares in its pre-season games … in this League, at least … provides a preliminary indication of where it actually stands, relative to the competition, heading into the new campaign.

Annually, there are three major categories of teams in the NBA:

1. Above .549 [High End]
2. .450-.549 [Middle]
3. Below .450 [Low End]

——————————————-

When you examine the current standings for the pre-season: 

2008-2009 Conference Preseason Standings
Eastern Conference
Eastern W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
Orlando 6 1 0.857 0.0 4-1 4-1 3-1 3-0 6-1 W 6
Boston 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-2 3-2 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 2
Detroit 6 2 0.750 0.5 5-1 3-0 3-2 3-0 6-2 L 1
Atlanta 5 3 0.625 1.5 4-1 3-1 1-2 4-1 5-3 W 1
Philadelphia 4 3 0.571 2.0 4-3 4-1 1-2 3-1 4-3 W 1
Indiana 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-0 1-0 3-1 1-3 4-4 W 1
New York 3 3 0.500 2.5 3-3 3-3 0-2 3-1 3-3 L 1
Toronto 4 4 0.500 2.5 1-1 1-1 2-3 2-1 4-4 L 2
Chicago 3 4 0.429 3.0 0-1 0-1 1-3 2-1 3-4 W 2
New Jersey 2 4 0.333 3.5 1-4 0-4 1-3 1-1 2-4 L 4
Washington 2 4 0.333 3.5 0-1 0-0 0-2 2-2 2-4 W 1
Cleveland 2 5 0.286 4.0 2-3 0-1 1-3 1-2 2-5 L 1
Miami 1 5 0.167 4.5 0-3 0-1 1-3 0-2 1-5 L 1
Milwaukee 1 6 0.143 5.0 0-2 0-2 1-3 0-3 1-6 L 2
Charlotte 0 8 0.000 6.5 0-4 0-4 0-2 0-6 0-8 L 8
Western Conference
Western W L PCT GB CONF DIV HOME ROAD L 10 STREAK
New Orleans 7 0 1.000 0.0 2-0 1-0 4-0 3-0 7-0 W 7
Minnesota 6 2 0.750 1.5 2-1 2-1 3-1 3-1 6-2 W 1
Denver 4 1 0.800 2.0 2-1 2-1 3-0 1-1 4-1 W 1
Houston 5 2 0.714 2.0 5-0 3-0 3-1 2-1 5-2 W 3
L.A. Lakers 5 2 0.714 2.0 1-2 1-1 5-2 0-0 5-2 W 5
Phoenix 5 2 0.714 2.0 3-0 1-0 2-1 3-1 5-2 W 3
Golden State 4 2 0.667 2.5 2-1 0-0 3-0 1-2 4-2 W 2
L.A. Clippers 4 3 0.571 3.0 2-2 2-1 0-3 4-0 4-3 L 2
Portland 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-3 0-2 2-2 2-1 4-3 L 1
Utah 4 3 0.571 3.0 3-2 2-1 1-1 3-2 4-3 W 2
Dallas 4 4 0.500 3.5 1-0 0-0 2-2 2-2 4-4 L 2
San Antonio 3 3 0.500 3.5 0-2 0-2 1-2 2-1 3-3 L 1
Memphis 2 6 0.250 5.5 0-2 0-2 2-2 0-4 2-6 L 4
Oklahoma City 1 5 0.167 5.5 0-4 0-1 0-1 1-4 1-5 L 2
Sacramento 1 7 0.125 6.5 1-7 0-2 1-3 0-4 1-7 L 6

——————————————

what you see, with only 4 days left, is generally speaking fairly representative of what you should now expect to get over the course of the 82-game regular season from these teams, in a broad sense.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
Orlando, Detroit, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia

.450-.549
Indiana, New York, Toronto

Below .450
Chicago, New Jersey, Washington [playing without Arenas], Cleveland [playing few minutes with LBJ] , Miami, Milwaukee, Charlotte

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Above .549
New Orleans, Minnesota, Denver, Houston, LA Lakers, Phoenix, Golden State, LA Clippers, Portland, Utah

.450-.549
Dallas, San Antonio [playing with Ginobili]

Below .450
Memphis, Oklahoma City, Sacramento

——————————————-

Although it’s not uncommon for a team to shift from the High End to the Middle over the course of the regular season; it is rare for a team to move from the High End to the Low End … and vice versa … once the regular season starts unless, of course, it has to play [or is playing currently] without 1 or more of its marquee players for an extending number of games.

What is usually the most interesting thing to see, however, over the course of the 82-game regular season, is which few teams are able to elevate their performance (i) from the Middle into the High End, and (ii) from the Low End into the Middle … automatically making them one of the ‘Feel Good’ stories of the year; and, which few teams, if any, will go in the opposite direction … automatically making them one of the ‘Biggest Disappointment’ stories.

Into which specific category does it look as though your favourite team is going to fit this season?

High End now that stays in the High End
High End now that drops down into the Middle
Middle now that steps up into the High End
Middle now that stays in the Middle
Middle now that drops down into the Low End
Low End now that steps up into the Middle
Low End now that stays in the Low End

Fight or flight response

May 6, 2008

Q1. When the Code by which you live is, “Run, Run, Run …“, how can you possibly hope to respond … during times of hardship … with steadfastness?

A1. In all likelihood … you can’t.

———————————-

After an oftentimes spectacular 4+ years at the helm of the Phoenix Suns, head coach, Mike D’Antoni seems as though he will soon be moving on to - what he hopes will be – greener pastures.

In a searing indictment of all that’s at the root of the Basketball Philosophy, ‘Seven Seconds or Less‘ (Jack McCallum), Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo! Sports) explains the how’s & why’s.

D’Antoni ready to leave his desert mirage behind

Mandatory reading for all.

Eclipse of the Suns: Critically Acclaimed?

May 2, 2008

If you’re a regular reader of this space, you already know that the window of opportunity for this specific Group of Phoenicians was closed well before the recent goings-on in the Valley of the Sun

NBA 1st Round Playoffs

Gm. 1: SAS 117, PHX 115
Gm. 2:
SAS 102, PHX 96
Gm. 3:
SAS 115, PHX 99
Gm. 4:
PHX 105, SAS 86
Gm. 5:
SAS 92, PHX 87
San Antonio wins the series 4-1

and includes the goary details found right here …

A requiem for the S.S.O.L. Era in Phoenix 

… which re-traces expertly how it is ‘these Tragic players’ have arrived at where they are today, apparently, ready to dissolve their relationships with one another … permanently.

While the vast majority of the content in that specific piece is indeed accurate, there remains one central (three-pronged) notion with which this corner of the blogosphere must raise an objection:

Part A
“Well, that’s OK that they didn’t win the title, at least they were critically acclaimed!

Part B
In other words, it didn’t really matter that they never won a championship, … We would always remember them fondly and feel like they were more successful than they actually were.

Part C
Maybe the Suns didn’t win a championship, but we’ll remember them 100 times more fondly than the brutally efficient and hopelessly bland Spurs …

Au Contraire
When the NBA’s history books are written, and then re-visited again and again, generations from today, it will indeed ‘matter‘ a great deal that these Phoenix Suns were unable to win a championship and, in fact, never even reached a single NBA Finals.

In reality, each year that goes by will further dim the scorching light which emanates today from this form of ‘Sun(s) Worship‘ and instead will illuminate the (formerly and erroneously much-maligned) brilliant dominance of the San Antonio Spurs (winners of 4 NBA championships in 9 years, and still counting) and their transcendant Head Coach (Gregg Popovich, aka ‘Air Force One’) and (unassuming) Superstar Player (Tim Duncan, aka ‘The Big Fundamental’).

In no way, shape or form will the NBA’s history books ‘critically acclaim’ and/or reflect a reality other than this:

1. The NBA championship is won by the team that best combines the 3 Phases of the Game … i.e. Rebounding, Defense & Efficient Offense … in a balanced manner.

2. The League MVP Award was won in consecutive years (’04-05 & ’05-06) by the best Offensive Point Guard in the history of the NBA who … with outstanding ambidexterity, exceptional horizontal athleticism, supreme hand-eye coordination, spectacular ball-handling, passing & shooting skills … developed into the most prolific ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ Artist the League has ever known, when allowed to ply his craft in a ‘Full Throttle’ Offensive Transition Attack and culminating in a dynamic ’4 out/1 in half-court alignment’ (rarely ever used in the NBA), in conjunction with teammates who could shoot the ball proficiently and/or finish at the rim athletically.

3. The most ‘fondly’ remembered teams in NBA history are the ones whose names appear in the furthest left column on this specific list … NBA Finals: All-time Champions.

4. The San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers were the two ‘Critically Acclaimed‘ teams during the 1998-2008 era in the annuls of the NBA.

NBA Playoffs Preview (2007-2008)

April 18, 2008

After a scintilating regular season schedule which saw:

* The single greatest W-L turn-around in the history of the NBA
* The 2nd Longest Winning Streak in the history of the NBA
* The fiercest battle to make the Western Conference Playoffs in the history of the NBA
* 3 seismic shifting in-season trades involving marquee players
* The Resurgence of the NBA’s two most notable franchises

What could possibly lie ahead in the post-season?

1st Round match-ups begin later today … Where Amazing Happens!

Eastern Conference


(1) BOSTON CELTICS (H)

(8 ) ATLANTA HAWKS

By the Numbers

QIR – #1 (6)
Points Differential Rank – #1
Points Allowed Rank – #2
Rebounding Differential Rank – #3

QIR – #13 (43)
Points Differential Rank- #19
Points Allowed Rank – #15
Rebounding Differential Rank – #9

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. The clear-cut favourite.

Return to the post-season after a 9-year absence. Solid ‘Starting 5’ (i.e. Bibby, Johnson, Smith, Williams & Horford) and a commitment to Rebounding. Bench players are not strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Will be fortunate to win a game. A major underdog.

Who will win

Boston in 4 … although the Hawks will put up a solid fight in their home games (25-16).

 

(4) CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (H)

(5) WASHINGTON WIZARDS

By the Numbers

QIR – #8 (26)
Points Differential Rank – #16
Points Allowed Rank – #9
Rebounding Differential Rank – #1

QIR – #12 (41)
Points Differential Rank- #15
Points Allowed Rank – #12
Rebounding Differential Rank – #14

Basketball Acumen

Despite the presence of Lebron James, have regressed as a group from last season, especially on Defense. Verajao & Pavlovic still not fully recovered from early-season holdouts. Rebounding is still first rate. Excellent depth in the front-court.  Lack cohesiveness overall and are stagnant on Offense (i.e. dependent on LBJ). Not as quick or as hungry as last year’s team.

Under-rated as group. Roster filled with athletic, talented and hard-working players with good length. Versatile. Can create match-up advantages at each of the 5 positions, depending on need. 3 top notch Scorers (i.e. Butler, Jamison & Arenas), several good Defenders (i.e. Daniels, Steveson & Haywood) and a willingness to Rebound, as a team.

Who will win

Washington in 6 … if Butler, Jamison & Arenas are all healthy (i.e. 25+ MPG).


 

(2) DETROIT PISTONS (H)

(7) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

By the Numbers

QIR – #2 (10)
Points Differential Rank – #2
Points Allowed Rank – #1
Rebounding Differential Rank – #7

QIR – #9 (27)
Points Differential Rank- #14
Points Allowed Rank – #12
Rebounding Differential Rank – #6

Basketball Acumen

Deep, athletic, talented roster. Solid blend of vets & kids. Control the tempo as well as any squad in the league. Team Defense and Rebounding are first rate. High efficiency Offense. Will make the extra pass, repeatedly. Will go as far as, Billups & Wallace will take them. Clear-cut 2nd choice in the East to reach the Finals.

Under-rated as a group. Athletic & physical with a solid commitment to Rebounding and Team Defense. 2nd half surge keyed by solid contributions from youngsters Young-T, Williams-L, Carney-R and Smith-J. Bench is strong enough to compete successfully at this level. Unfortunate to be match-up against the Pistons.

Who will win

Detroit in 5 … although the Sixers might be talented enough to force a Game 6.


 

(3) ORLANDO MAGIC (H)

(6) TORONTO RAPTORS

By the Numbers

QIR – #11 (32)
Points Differential Rank – #5
Points Allowed Rank – #11
Rebounding Differential Rank – #16

QIR – #14 (44)
Points Differential Rank- #12
Points Allowed Rank – #10
Rebounding Differential Rank – #22

Basketball Acumen

Points Differential Rank is keyed by 3pt shooting & number of trips to the FT line.  Team Defense and Rebounding are solid; not spectacular. Offense is inside out, with D12 & a host of capable ‘Marksmen’. Will go as far as Turkoglu, Lewis, Bogans, Evans & Dooling will take them. Must minimize TO’s by Nelson & Arroyo.

3 solid players (i.e. Bosh, Calderon & Nesterovic) plus an erratic ‘Group of Seven’ (erstwhile individual artists known as TJ, AP, ‘the Mad Argentine’, ‘the Shootist’, Apollo33, Hump & Il Mago). At ‘the top’ of the league in 3pt shooting %; at ‘the bottom’ in FTA/game. Rebounding & Team Defense are weaknesses. Capable of winning this series … if Orlando mis-fires.

Who will win

Orlando in 7 … although Stan Van Gundy might be good enough to wrap it up in fewer.

 

Western Conference


(1) L.A. LAKERS (H)

(8 ) DENVER NUGGETS

By the Numbers

QIR – #10 (30)
Points Differential Rank – #3
Points Allowed Rank – #19
Rebounding Differential Rank – #8

QIR – #19 (61)
Points Differential Rank- #11
Points Allowed Rank – #29
Rebounding Differential Rank – #21

Basketball Acumen

When healthy: (i) the deepest, most talented team in the NBA; and, (ii) the best Offense in the league. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense depends on the availability of Bynum. With AB, it is first rate; without him, it is not good enough to win the title this year. Will be a force for years to come, if found wanting this go round. Fisher’s stability is the key.

Offensive pyrotechnics from Iverson, Melo, J.R. & Kleiza. Defense & Rebounding are strictly second rate, despite the individual work of Camby, Najera & K-Mart. The ‘little boys in blue’ of the NBA. When good, they’re good; when bad they’re really bad … frequently within the same game. Enough talent to lose 4 single-digit games.

Who will win

L.A. in 5 … although without Bynum the Nuggets might win 2 home games.

 

 

(5) HOUSTON ROCKETS (H)

(4) UTAH JAZZ

By the Numbers

QIR – #3 (15)
Points Differential Rank – #9
Points Allowed Rank – #4
Rebounding Differential Rank – #2

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank- #4
Points Allowed Rank – #13
Rebounding Differential Rank – #4

Basketball Acumen

The best Defense in the NBA. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense as well as any team in the league. 3 All-Star players (i.e. Garnett, Pierce & Allen-R) and a plethora of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship this year. Clear-cut favourites.

The best home record in the NBA (37-4). PG (Williams-D) is first rate. Deep & physical team. Committed to Rebounding. Bench players are first rate. Struggle on the road this year, without the leadership of Fisher-D, with the 2nd unit. High % Offense must get solid 3pt shooting from Okor & Korver. Team Defense can be erratic away from home.

Who will win

Utah in 6 … although the Rockets are ‘tough enough’ to win a game 7 this year.

 

 

(2) NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (H)

(7) DALLAS MAVERICKS

By the Numbers

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank – #6
Points Allowed Rank – #5
Rebounding Differential Rank – #10

QIR – #4 (21)
Points Differential Rank- #10
Points Allowed Rank – #6
Rebounding Differential Rank – #5

Basketball Acumen

PG, Chris Paul, is first rate. Team Defense is solid. Committed to Rebounding. Share the ball on Offense, led by the mastery of CP3.  Must get high % outside shooting from Peja S, to spread the floor. Lacking playoff experience. Will go as far as David West (their 2nd all-star caliber player) & Byron Scott (matching wits vs Avery Johnson), will take them. Can win the series … if it gets to game 7.

Get the best possible match-up for their team, in the 1st round. Bitterly remember last year’s embarrassing loss to G-State. Ready for bear this go round. Rebounding is solid. Team Defense is solid. Must control the Offensive tempo. Bench is solid. Can beat anyone in the Western Conference … except L.A. & San Antonio (when those two squads are healthy).

Who will win

Dallas in 6 … as the Hornets have to learn how to lose first before they can win.

   
 
  

(3) SAN ANTONIO SPURS (H)

(6) PHOENIX SUNS

By the Numbers

QIR – #7 (23)
Points Differential Rank – #8
Points Allowed Rank – #3
Rebounding Differential Rank – #12

QIR – #16 (57)
Points Differential Rank- #7
Points Allowed Rank – #25
Rebounding Differential Rank – #25

Basketball Acumen

Key injuries to Duncan, Parker & Ginobili have affected their customary regular season efficiency. When healthy, still as good Defensively & Rebounding as any squad in the NBA. Always make the extra pass on Offense.  A bevy of effective ‘role guys’ off the bench. Have everything it takes to win the NBA championship again this year, if healthy.

A better chance of winning the title than prior editions, with a stronger commitment to Team Defense & Rebounding than before. Unfortunately, for the Suns, each of the other top teams in the West has improved more than Phoenix, whose high efficiency Offense remains the strength of the team. The Suns are finally moving in the right direction but their window of opportunity is closing quickly.

Who will win

San Antonio in 7 … although it could be fewer, pending Grant Hill’s injury status.

Enjoy what should be absolutely terrific basketball!

Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part V

April 18, 2008

The NBA Playoffs start tomorrow afternoon and the final Quality Ratings (QR) & Quality Index Rankings (QIR) for the 2007-2008 regular season are now etched in stone.

NBA Playoff Teams 2007-2008
Quality Rating & Quality Index Rankings   
(End of Regular Season)

TEAM

W-L

Win%

PDR

PAR

RDR

QR

QIR

EC

WC

Boston

66-16

.805 ↑

1

2

3

6

1

1

 

Detroit

59-23

.720 ↑

2

1

7

10

2

2

 

Houston

55-27

.671 ↑

9

4

2

15

3

 

5

New Orleans

56-26

.683 ↓

6

5

10

21

T-4

 

2

Dallas

51-31

.622 ↓

10

6

5

21

T-4

 

7

Utah

54-28

.659 −

4

13

4

21

T-4

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Antonio

56-26

.683 ↓

8

3

12

23

7

 

3

Cleveland

45-37

.549 ↓

16

9

1

26

8

4

 

Philadelphia

40-42

.488 ↓

14

7

6

27

9

7

 

LA Lakers

57-25

.695 ↑

3

19

8

30

10

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orlando

52-30

.634 ↑

5

11

16

32

11

3

 

Atlanta

37-45

.451 ↓

19

15

9

43

13

8

 

Washington

43-39

.524 ↑

15

12

14

41

12

5

 

Toronto

41-41

.500 ↓

12

10

22

44

14

6

 

Phoenix

55-27

.671 ↑

7

25

25

57

15

 

6

Denver

50-32

.610 −

11

29

21

61

16

 

8

 Legend:
W-L – Won Loss Record; Win% – Winning Percentage; PDR – Points Differential Rank; PAR – Points Allowed Rank; RDR – Rebound Differential Rank; QR – Quality Rating; QIR – Quality Index Ranking; EC – Eastern Conference Playoff Position; WC – Western Conference Playoff Position 
Note:

1. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion and Finalist has had a QR ≤ 34.
2. Since 2000-2001 each NBA Champion has had a QIR ≤ #9.
3. Since 2000-2001 6 of the 7 NBA Champions have had a QIR ≤ #4. 

What it takes to win the NBA Championship

According to the QIR, there’s a solid chance that this year’s eventual NBA champion will be one of (1) Boston, (2) Detroit, (3) Houston, (T-4) New Orleans, (T-4) Dallas or (T-4) Utah.

However, much like 1994-1995, when the Houston Rockets won the NBA championship as the #6 seed in the Western Conference, after an injury-plagued regular season campaign, and 2000-2001, when the L.A. Lakers played a significant number of regular season games without Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher & Ron Harper, before winning their final 8 in a row and then going 15-1 in the post-season … given the key injuries sustained at different times this year by (A) Tim Duncan, Tony Parker & Manu Ginobili, and (B) Andrew Bynum … it should not be a surprise to anyone if either (7) San Antonio or the (10) L.A. Lakersboth of which are ‘Top 9′ teams with a healthy roster – rise to challenge and win the title this year.  

Odds to win the 2007-2008 NBA championship

April 17, 2008

When evaluating playoff match-ups, in the NBA, it can be intriguing to track the changes in perception of the sports wagering public.

[Seed #] Team, Initial, Current (change)

Easter Conference

[1] Boston Celtics, +240, +210 (down 12.5%)
[2] Detroit Pistons, +748, +776 (up 2.4%)
[3] Orlando Magic, +4158, +3039 (down 26.9%)
[4] Cleveland Cavaliers, +3858, +3858
[5] Washington Wizards, +8000, +5000 (down 37.5%)
[6] Toronto Raptors, +8500, +10000 (up 17.6%)
[7] Philadelphia 76ers, +11500, +15000 (up 30.4%)
[8] Atlanta Hawks, +15000, +15000

Western Conference

[1] L.A. Lakers, +447, +400 (down 10.5%)
[2] New Orleans Hornets, +1458, +1820 (up 24.8%)
[3] San Antonio Spurs, +509, +690 (up 35.6%)
[4] Utah Jazz, +2005, +1589 (down 20.7%)
[5] Houston Rockets, +3113, +4040 (up 29.8%)
[6] Phoenix Suns, +926, +959 (up 3.6%)
[7] Dallas Mavericks, +3259, +2175 (down 33.3%)
[8] Denver Nuggets, +5250, +5000 (down 4.8%)

Two days before the playoffs begin, the clear-cut favourites to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy are the CelticsLakers, Spurs and Pistons.

The teams whose ‘odds to win the championship’ have come down are Washington, Dallas, Orlando, Utah, BostonL.A. and Denver.

Boston and L.A. are the only favoured teams whose ‘odds to win’ have also dropped during the last two weeks.


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