Cool New Team Rankings

KnickerBlogger, writing on Courtside Times:

I’ve developed a power ranking system that I’ve called the Objective Team Tendency Evaluation and Ranking (OTTER). With OTTER I’ve attempted to identify factors which can predict a team’s success. Years ago Bill James discovered the Pythagorean theorem, which says a team’s future record is better predicted by their run differential than their actual record. Looking at all the teams since 1978, I found a 0.69 correlation between an NBA team’s record and their pythagorean record the year before.

So I began to test a few other factors. For instance, to gauge how much of an effect a team’s draft position has on the upcoming season, I looked for a correlation between a team’s first round picks and win percentage. While there wasn’t a strong relationship in a team’s draft picks and their record the next year (0.36), there was a better correlation in the picks and the record two years after (0.54). Although what OTTER covers is far from exhaustive, it’s a start in understanding what we can predict on a team level.

His OTTER rankings will be updated throughout the season. At the moment, they only reflect preseason, but the Portland fan in me likes them because they say the five worst teams in the league are Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, and Seattle. The top five are Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit, Phoenix, and the Lakers.