Kyle Soppe also writes about the NBA for Pickin’ Splinters. Follow him on Twitter.
There are a slew of basketball analysts out there, and if you’re so inclined, you can find a respectable personality predicting almost every single outcome. I try to limit myself, listening to a consistent chorus of voices that I have particular respect for. The numbers side of me loves John Hollinger, while my heart likes listening to Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a close friend, Drew Shaner, who has the rare combination of appealing to both. He’s a friend that I would place my absolute trust in if my basketball fan-hood was on the line. I’d like to introduce you to a numbers-based rating system, developed by Mr. Shaner, that helps rank the remaining playoff teams.
“Defensive Rating and Experience Wins”, DREW for short, helps the common basketball fan determine the most likely winner of each series, and finally, the NBA title. This system may not appeal to everyone, but my experiences rooting alongside Drew give me a lot of faith in his method.
The first step to crowning a champion is rating each player on each teamss starting five on a scale from 1-10. Drew used a simple grading system: a perfect 10 for MVP candidates, 8-9 for all stars, and onward down. This system rewards balanced teams that have five viable threats, you know, the type of team that tends to succeed in the summer months.
Drew’s ratings per player in the 2012 postseason, from best to worst.
After calculating the team score for each roster, Drew factors in coaching and defensive tenacity. With the worst player being ranked 4, he made +/- 3 points maximum for “intangibles”, as it’s hard to quantify intangibles as being more valuable than any specific player.
The Bulls (“huge credit to Thibs and their lock down defense”) were the only team in the East to max out on intangible credit, boosting their total score to 37.
The Celtics and 76ers both gained 2 points, while the Hawks, Magic, Heat, and Pacers all gained 1 point.
The Knicks lack of aggression on the defensive end (no bonus points for dominating fire extinguishers) and a fill-in head coach left them as the only playoff team with a negative intangible score.
Celtics (40), Heat (39), Bulls (37), Pacers (36), Knicks (36), 76ers (34), Hawks (33), Magic (33)
Now we can determine how the Eastern Conference should play out. A bonus advantage to DREW, is that we can even forecast the probable number of games the series’ will take. The difference in total score indicates how many more games the winning team will win than the losers. Any difference greater than 4 means that baring an injury/suspension, a sweep is likely.
That makes your 2012 Eastern Conference results:
EASTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND
- Chicago(37) v. Philadelphia(34) — Bulls in 5 games (Rose throws this one off)
- Boston(40) v. Atlanta (34) — Celtics in 4 (Ray Allen and Rondo messed this one up)
- Indiana(36) v. Orlando(33) — Indiana in 5
- Miami(39) v. NewYork (36) — Miami in 5
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
- Chicago(37) v. Boston(40) — Boston in 5
- Indiana(36) v. Miami(39) — Miami in 5
- Boston(40) v. Miami(39) — Boston in 7
Of course, we’ve got a Western Conference to determine. With the Celtics a surprise winner in the East, who would oppose them in the first ever NBA playoff bracket determined by DREW.
The Spurs’ attention to detail and the Coach Of the Year gave them a 3 point intangible bump. The defending champion Mavs joined the Lakers and Thunder as teams to garner 2 bonus points. Every other Western Conference team gained 1 point besides the Jazz, who lacked the consistency to do any better than break-even.
Lakers (41), Thunder (41), Spurs (39), Clippers (39), Grizzles (38), Mavs (37), Nuggets (37), Jazz (33)
Your 2012 Western Conference results:
WESTERN CONFERENCE FIRST ROUND
- San Antonio(39) v. Utah(33) — Spurs in 4 games
- Memphis(38) v. LA Clippers(39) — Clippers in 7
- LA Lakers(41) v. Denver(37) — Lakers in 4
- Oklahoma City(41) v. Dallas(37) — Thunder in 4
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINALS
- Spurs(39) v. Clippers(40) — Clippers in 7
- Lakers(41) v. Thunder(41) — Thunder (Home-court wins in game 7)
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
- Clippers(40) v. Thunder (41) — Thunder in 7
- Celtics(40) v. Thunder(41) — Thunder in 7
There you have it, by the DREW projections, the 2012 champions will be the OKC Thunder. They may even be underrated using this statistic, as James Harden comes off of the bench.
What does the creator think of this result?
“I think it could happen. I almost gave Parker a 9, which would have bumped them to the conference finals, only to face the same fate as the Clippers. Would this result surprise me? No. The Celtics have so much heart, and the Thunder are as talented a team as there is in the NBA.” - Drew Shaner
We’ll come back throughout the playoffs and check in to see how these picks turn out. Stay Tuned!