What it takes to win the NBA Championship

Each game of NBA basketball has 3 distinct phases:

(I) Offense,  (II) Defense and III) Rebounding.

Offense is what happens when a team has possession of the ball.

Defense is what happens when that team’s opponent has possession of the ball.

Rebounding is what happens when neither team has possession of the ball.

Every year since 2000-2001, each of the two teams which have reached the NBA Finals (i.e. the Champion and the Finalist) have also finished the regular season schedule with a Quality Rating (QR) of 34 or better and a Quality Index Rank (QIR) of #11 or better (when compared to all playoff teams that year).

A team’s Quality Rating (QR) is calculated by the following equation:

QR = A + B + C, where

A = Score Differential Rank (Score Differential ordered from 1-30), when Score Differential = [Points Scored Per Game] – [Opponent’s Points Scored Per Game];

B = Opponent’s Points Scored Per Game Rank (ordered from 1-30) ;

C = Rebounding Differential Rank  (Rebounding Differential ordered from 1-30), when Rebounding Differential = [Rebounds Per Game] – [Opponent’s Rebounds Per Game];


Quality Index Rank (QIR) = QR ordered from 1-16.

Champion, San Antonio Spurs, QR = 12; QIR = #2 
Finalist, Cleveland Cavaliers, QR = 16; QIR = #4

Champion,  Miami Heat, QR = 20; QIR = #3
Finalist, Dallas Mavericks, QR = 13; QIR = #2

Champion,  San Antonio Spurs, QR = 9; QIR = #1 (tie)
Finalist, Detroit Pistons, QR = 9; QIR = #1 (tie)

Champion, Detroit Pistons, QR = 8; QIR = #1
Finalist, LA Lakers, QR = 34; QIR = #7

Champion, San Antonio Spurs, QR = 17; QIR = #1
Finalist, New Jersey Nets, QR = 19; QIR = #4

Champion, LA Lakers, QR = 21; QIR = #4
Finalist, New Jersey Nets, QR = 22; QIR = #5

Champion, LA Lakers, QR = 34; QIR = #9
Finalist, Philadelphia 76ers, QR = 10; QIR = #1

Within any given year, measuring a team’s performance in this way – which balances Offense, Defense and Rebounding – is a simple and effective tool for determining whether or not it has a legitimate chance to win the NBA championship.

Does your favorite team have what it takes to win the NBA championship this year?

Check their QR and QIR … the answer might surprise you!



Now including …

Champion, Boston Celtics, QR = 6; QIR = #1 
Finalist, LA Lakers, QR = 30; QIR = #10

16 Responses to “What it takes to win the NBA Championship”

  1. The achilles heel of Bryan Colangelo « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] What it takes to win the NBA Championship […]

  2. Linkage - March 14 — The AltRaps Blog Says:

    […] What it takes to win the NBA Championship […]

  3. Legitimate Contenders in the NBA: Part IV « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] What it takes to win the NBA Championship […]

  4. Legitimate Contenders to win the NBA championship: Part V « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] What it takes to win the NBA Championship […]

  5. flashbuzzer Says:

    This post was fairly enlightening; thanks for describing the QR and QIR metrics.

    If I’m reading this post correctly, lower QR values are preferable to higher QR values. This implies that the 2003-04 edition of the Lakers was actually much weaker than expected. Looking back on that season, I remember that there was a lot of hype about their 4 superstars (O’Neal, Bryant, Malone and Payton).

    Maybe that team lacked the balance needed to win a championship…

  6. khandor Says:


    You’re most welcome. 🙂

    IMHO, the most important things the ’03-04 Lakers team lacked were:

    i) Cohesion; and,
    ii) Good health for the Finals.

    Gary Peyton never did buy in to what the Triangle Offense was all about and several of the teams key players were severely hindered by injuries by the time the Finals rolled around that it was almost impossible for that specific Lakers team to compete on an even playing field with that group of Pistons. That said, it was also the case that, despite having a collection of high profile players, this version of the Lakers was not balanced in the way which championship NBA teams usually are.

  7. mao Says:

    What do you think about the Sixers resigning Iguodala?

  8. khandor Says:

    Overall, their team has moved in a positive direction since hiring Ed Stefanski as their GM.

    Signing Iggy was a solid move for the 76ers.

    It will help them to contend for a playoff spot in the EC.

    However, in order to become the best team in the East they will need a better WING player than Iggy in their first 5.

  9. mao Says:

    Yeah, agreed. But they had to resign him. The Philly fans would’ve gone crazy if they’d gone out and signed Brand and then ignored the home-grown guy.

  10. khandor Says:

    I agree.

    The most important thing about the 76ers’ improvement has been their commitment to rebounding.

    With this aspect of the game as their basis, they can stay in games against good teams for a long time.

    If a player like Thaddeus Young can continue to develop offensively, he will aide their chances for success.

    Definitely, a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference.

  11. Raptors line-up … tough enough (or not) « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] and turnovers … which are totally out-weighed however by the benefits associated with Dramatically improved REBOUNDING & DEFENSE (with there still being ‘enough’ shooters on the floor to keep their opponent honest vs JO […]

  12. Whither the Suns in the Western Conference « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] By returning the focus in Phoenix to what makes for a championship calibre product, in this League … i.e. a commitment to REBOUNDING, Team Defense and a Balanced [higly structured] Team Offense … Steve Kerr may have accomplished in just one season at the helm something which Jerry Colangelo, Bryan Colangelo & Mike D’Antoni [before him] were NOT able to do over the course of their careers in the ‘Valley of the Sun’ … i.e. transform this team into a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER for an NBA championship … i.e. please see, What it takes to win the NBA Championship. […]

  13. Talking the talk, already … in Raptorville « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] Rebounding & Defense are crucial elements for a legitimate contender in the NBA … but so, too, is QUALITY DEPTH throughout a team’s roster.  […]

  14. GAME REVIEW: Raptors @ Bucks [Nov 1] « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] 1. The lack of QUALITY DEPTH throughout the roster. 2. An inability to REBOUND the ball like a team with a top notch QUALITY INDEX RATING. […]

  15. Legitimate Contenders in the NBA [2008-2009]: Part I « Khandor’s Sports Blog Says:

    […] What it takes to win the NBA Championship […]

  16. Trudy Cutno Says:

    It is a pity, that now I can not express – it is compelled to leave. But I will return – I will necessarily write that I think.

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