Why the Sixers are 8th in John Hollinger’s NBA power rankings – here’s an attempt at an explanation:
- Hollinger’s rankings weigh recent games more than older ones. This makes sense, since power rankings generally like to reflect recent play rather than an entire season. That’s what records are for. And most I believe will argue that the team has played well recently – 7-3 over the last 10, for instance, with wins over San Antonio and the huge victory over Atlanta.
- The Sixers also have, despite a below .500 record, the indicators of a being a pretty good team. The next three bullets go deeper into this statement.
- While the Sixers have blown more than their share of close games, they have made up the difference with some big victories. As such, the Sixers are outscoring their opponents by more than a point per game this year, which is usually considered a better indicator of future success than overall record.
- Over the last 14 games (25% of the schedule), the Sixers have outscored opponents by over 6.7 points per game, inflated heavily by the wins over Atlanta and Minnesota of 20+. That heavily favors the Sixers in this ranking structure, as explained earlier, where recent record and point differential are of the utmost importance.
- Strength of schedule is also considered – the Sixers are outscoring opponents by almost 7 points per game, while the average opponent’s record during that timespan is over .500. They’ve also played more road games than home games, which is also considered – both big victories occurred on the road.
All in all, the high ranking reflects the Sixers recent success and plays down the horrible start to the season, while also being inflated especially due to the win over Atlanta (which I believe does not factor the absence of Al Horford – I still need confirmation on this). Even if the system isn’t completely reflective of the best teams in the NBA (I believe I can safely say the Sixers are not a top 8 NBA squad right now), it just feels good to be included in the top 10.
And, by the way, if you saw this coming at the beginning of the year, well, I might want your opinion on some other matters.