Monday, December 17, 2012

Week 8 NBA Fanalyst Rankings: The Defense Edition

Teams need to get stops to be elite in the NBA and this week’s Fanalyst Rankings analyzes how well the best teams in the East do just that.

There are two sides to every NBA Power Ranking: the Fanalytical and the Fanatical. As a Miami HEAT blogger living on the east coast, MHI plays the fanalyst for the Eastern Conference. As a Denver Nuggets fan living west of the Mississippi River, Mrs. NBA plays the fan and provides the slander. The roles are reversed for the Western Conference.

1. New York Knicks (18-5, prev. rank: 1)

MHI: The Knicks began the season playing excellent defense but are now just average. They rank 13th in opponent floor percentage, a statistic that measures how often opponents scores each trip down the floor. Good thing for the Knicks is the best offense they face this week is only ranked 10th in floor percentage, so they should have no problem going 4-0 defending home-court against the Rockets, Nets, Bulls and Timberwolves.

Mrs. NBA: Knicks defense has regressed, but with Amar'e slating a return back later this week, how will that impact New York? Not to mention how will their offense change when the there's stop falling.

2. Miami HEAT (15-6, prev. rank: 2)

MHI: The HEAT began the season playing terrible defense but they now rank 9th in opponent floor percentage and 1st over the last 3 games. They couldn’t get a stop when they needed it against the Warriros, thanks to #ShavedMonkeyNuts, and the defense will have to redeem itself against better offenses this week with T’Wolves (11th in floor percentage without Rubio), @Mavs (21st in floor%) and Jazz (6th in floor%) on the schedule. Coach Spoelstra said Udonis Haslem will continue to start, but maybe the HEAT need him to finish games instead of Battier to close teams out.

Mrs. NBA: I'm really surprised the Heat lost to GSW, but then again their defense has been mediocre much of the season.

3. Atlanta Hawks (14-7, prev. rank: 4)

MHI: The Hawks are more likely than any team in the NBA to get a stop this season, leading the league in opponent floor%. They’ll need those stops on the ends of both back-to-backs this week. First up, it’s the terrible Wizards offense (30th in floor%) followed by the powerful Thunder offense (1st in floor%). Next, it’s the weak Sixers offense (24th in floor%) followed by an average and tired Bulls offense (13th in floor%). If the Hawks’ defense is for real, they’ll go 3-1 this week.

Mrs. NBA: Apparently I don't watch the Hawks, ever, so I can't comment... Except every time Josh Smith shoots a jumper, an angel loses their wings.

4. Chicago Bulls (13-9, prev. rank: 3)

MHI: The Bulls rank 5th in the NBA when it comes to getting stops and that’s no surprise. The defense will be tested this week with 2 sets of back-to-backs that include 2 top 10 offenses in execution: @Grizzlies (9th), Celtics (12th), @Knicks (7th), @Hawks (19th). Looks like an 0-4 week and back to 0.500 for the Bulls. Expect the #DeadBasketballPoetSociety to pump up the volume on "Derrick Rose return" rumors this weekend.

Mrs. NBA: I agree that this week will be a tough test for Chicago and with Noah and Deng leading the league in minutes played, it won't be pretty.

5. Brooklyn Nets (13-10, prev. rank: 6)

MHI: Avery Johnson’s turned the Nets from a terrible defensive team ranked 28th in opponent floor percentage to a below average defense ranked 20th in getting stops. The Nets defense improved to average over the last 3 games but will drop back down this week with a back-to-back against 2 top 10 offenses: Jazz (6th in floor%), @Knicks (7th), Sixers (24th). The Nets should go 2-1 this week.

Mrs. NBA: The Brooklyn Nets are bloody annoying, but not as much as their bloggers. It also seems Coach Jerry Sloan's system really brought out the best in Deron Williams.

6. Boston Celtics (12-11, prev. rank: 7)

MHI: The Celtics defense is living off reputation so far this season. Last season, they ranked 2nd in getting stops but they’re just average this season, ranking 15th. Fortunately, they don’t play any top 10 offenses this week with @Bulls (13th in floor%), Cavs (29th) and Bucks (18th) on the schedule. That slate’s weak enough for the Celtics’ average defense to go 2-1.

Mrs. NBA: The Boston Celtics have absolutely bored me this season. Outside of the Celtics-Nets cat fight, it's been a snooze fest.

7. Indiana Pacers (13-11, prev. rank: N/A)

MHI: The Pacers defense ranks 3rd in opponent floor % and they need every stop they can get to keep their 27th-ranked offense in games. The Pacers will have to get stops with tired legs this week, but it helps to play 3 of the 4 games in their 2 sets of back-to-backs against teams with below average and bad offensive execution: @Bucks (18th in floor %), Jazz (6th), @Cavs (29th) and @Hornets (25th). If Roy Hibbert can play through his thigh contusion, then the Pacers should tread water to stay in next week’s Fanalyst Rankings with a 2-2 record.

Mrs. NBA: Don't bank on Roy Hibbert for anything but a bad shooting percentage.

8. Orlando Magic (10-13, prev. rank: N/A)

MHI: The Magic rank 10th in getting stops this season with half the rotation 23 years-old or younger, so new coach Jacque Vaughn deserves credit. Vaughn will have plenty of opportunities to practice improving the defense against some weak offenses in the middle of this week with Timberwolves (11th in floor%), Wizards (30th), @Raptors (26th) and Jazz (6th) on the schedule. Those teaching moments should be enough for the Magic to go 2-2 this week.

Mrs. NBA: Magic over the 76ers, huh? Well, they did do one thing Miami couldn't do this week and that's beat GSW.

1 comment:

  1. Was LeBron James immature or are fans fair weather?