Like many of you, I enjoy NBA Power Rankings. The truth of it is, they mean nothing. Just because a team finishes #1 in some Power Ranking means literally nothing. The Power Ranking Champion is not given a bye week when the playoffs begin. They do not win a trophy or any accolades at all. It’s a phony title and yet, we love the Power Rankings!
My primary problem with them however was never the lack of any particular reason for them to exist. No, my problem with them was that they were so very arbitrary. The Rankings ebbed and flowed based on the whim of whomever authored the Ranking. That is why you would oftentimes see a team with a better overall record with a lower ranking than some team who happened to beat a good team in blowout fashion, or something.
I thought there was a better way, so I created a spreadsheet.
With out getting into too much detail, although I will likely share all the detail and the sheet at a later time, my “math” based Power Rankings are based only on the strength of the team a ranked team plays. It really is that simple. I have grouped teams into three categories, Quality, Good and Bad. The Quality teams are the ones with a realistic shot at reaching the Conference Finals and Finals. The Good ones are the ones that will likely make the playoffs. The Bad ones are just bad.
I will admit that there is an arbitrary bent to my Power Rankings as well. But, instead of grouping all 30 NBA teams into the categories mentioned above based on what I thought, I did it based on what every other NBA writer thoughts. I’m fairly confident you will agree with that list as well. After the teams are grouped, the rest is easy. You get points based on who you beat. You beat a Quality team at home, you get points. You beat that same team on the road, you get more points. Conversely, if you lose to a bad team on the road you get points. You lose to that same bad team on your home court and you get 0 points.
Again, simple, right?
The only variation to the above is for what I call a Quality Win or a Bad Loss. A Quality Win, as you might have already surmised, is when you beat a Quality team on their home court. That win gets you extra points. A Bad Loss is when you lose to a bad team on your home court. That costs you points.
I am excited to share more detail and the sheet, but for now, here are the first Math Power Rankings after week one of NBA action.