As the month of January comes to a close, NBA teams are about 60% done with their regular seasons. This gives us a good data set to check in how teams are doing from a purely statistical approach. The PaintedPowerIndex, PPI for short, combines both Strength of Schedule with a team’s margin of victory to rate the 30 NBA teams. You can read a detailed explanation of PPI here.

NBA Conclusions

The Bucks continue to be the best team in the NBA followed by the Lakers. After these two teams, there is a significant drop off to the 3rd place Clippers. It will be interesting to see if the Bucks can continue their dominance as their easiest schedule in league so far will be flipped to end the year. Denver is another team that will see their schedule go from easy to extremely hard to finish up the season. The Mavericks are the early candidate for PPI darlings as they are rated as the 5th best team despite being projected to win the 11th most games. This is largely due to their road record being 16 and 6 while also having the 5th best margin of victory in the association.

The 76ers are Ranked Where?!

The Sixers check in as the 13th best team in the NBA; which is an abomination considering where their preseason expectations were. So why do they rank so low? First, their road record is 9 and 15. Road wins are weighted significantly higher than home wins as they are more difficult and are a good indicator of predicting success throughout sports. Philadelphia is the only team besides the Heat and Grizzlies to be in the projected playoff field while sporting a sub .500 road record (both the Heat and Grizzlies are only 1 game under .500 too, while the Sixers are 6 games under). Being the last of the “good teams” (teams above 0.5 PPI) is not where the Sixers expected to be. Things also don’t get much better in the following week as they face by far the hardest schedule in the NBA at 74.24% despite facing the 29th ranked Hawks tonight. A three-game road streak against the Heat, Celtics and Bucks will put into perspective where this team really is. They win two of those games and the narrative of this team could be completely flipped by the next PPI update. 

76ers Betting Nuggets for the Week

PPI can also project matchup outcomes. For the 4 games this week, here are the expected margins:

  • Hawks (away)- 76ers by 5.5 points
  • Celtics (away) – Celtics by 6 points
  • Heat (away) – Heat by 4.5 points
  • Bucks (away) – Bucks by 11 points

By these numbers the Sixers most likely scenario is to win only one of these games. Below is how likely the Sixers are to win none to all of their next four games.

  • 1 of 4 games: 42.60%
  • 2 of 4 games: 34.46%
  • 0 of 4 games: 12.62%
  • 3 of 4 games: 9.59%
  • All 4 games: 0.73%