NBA Power Rankings – December 6th Edition

This past week, 53 NBA games were played. After Toronto sky-rocketed to the top of the Atlantic Division with a 3-0 run, they proceeded to go 1-3 over this week. Similarly, Oklahoma City went winless 0-2 after a 4-0 week and Cleveland posted an 0-3 run. San Antonio again went 3-1 to continue their sustained dominance. Golden State moved to a record best 21-0 after a 3-0 week. Houston also came up big for the first time this season by posting a 4-1 record over the previous 7 days.

We also witnessed Philadelphia pick up their first win of the season and Kobe Bryant return to form for a game as the Los Angeles Lakers picked up a rare win by defeating the Washington Wizards.

At the end of the week we found the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and San Antonio Spurs atop their respective divisions; no change since last week.

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Standings for the 2015-16 NBA Season after December 5th, 2015.

With a relatively high 0.6904 r-square value, we still have a good beta regression fit to the first 298 games played in the season. Due to Golden State’s undefeated record, they still dwarf the competition when the Bradley-Terry scores are given.

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Rankings for the 2015-16 NBA Season based on a Beta Regression over the first 298 NBA games.

Last week, we saw little to no movement for the Oklahoma City Thunder after going 4-0. This week, despite going 0-2 for the week, the Thunder moved up 8 spots. This indicates that several teams above the Thunder have lost to the right teams, causing respective drops for those teams; and the teams the Thunder have beaten have won games, strengthening the Thunder’s schedule.

Houston’s strong 4-1 week allowed the Rockets to start making a climb back up the rankings as they moved up 6 spots; and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ three game ski dropped them 8 spots back towards the bottom of the rankings.

One good note is that the Philadelphia 76ers’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers have moved them from far away from the pack at the bottom to within contention for moving up a spot or two. As this season continues, many of the teams will begin to settle into consistent spots. However, only 24.23% of the season has been completed.

The predicted standings have shaken up a little as well.

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Predicted standings for the 2015-16 NBA Season after the first 298 games.

Here we see that the two conferences are at even strength with a 53-53 record in inter-conference games. The Western Conference has a more top-heavy team set as the Warriors and Spurs are well on pace for 60+ wins, but only one team on pace for less than 20 wins; two others for less than 30 wins. For the Eastern Conference, there are several strong teams, but also several weak teams. No teams are on pace for 60+ wins in the east, but there are three teams on pace for less than 30 wins; two of which are on pace 20 or less wins. This leads to a predicted  log-jam in the 45-55 win range.

We still see that the Warriors are not predicted to break the Chicago Bulls record. This s mainly due to the fact that Golden State has yet to play any power teams on their schedule: Bulls at home, Raptors on a third game in 4 days, and Clippers in Los Angeles. To date, there have been no Cavaliers, Spurs, Thunder, or Heat games. Once these games begin to get played, the 72-10 record will shape up as to whether becoming a reality of being broken or standing for another year.

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