ESPN.com started a new Power Rankings system by John Hollinger this year. It takes an advanced statistical formula to calculate who is really the best team this year, not just the team with the best record. As of Monday, the San Antonio Spurs had been listed as the #1 team for at least four days in a row. He recently posted on his blog a defense for the formula. Here is a snippet of what he wrote:
One of the biggest reasons I created this ranking is to force people to look beyond the superficial first impression. In this case, it involves looking past won-loss record at the elements that go into it. On its face this sounds absurd, I realize — isn’t winning the whole point? But as I’ve been trying to beat into people’s heads over and over again, point differential is a better indicator of future success than won-loss record. In other words, if you were trying to pick a game between the Mavs and Spurs tomorrow, you’d be better off ignoring the standings and looking just at point differential.
Ok, John. If that’s the case, then Tuesday morning the Mavericks should at least be tied with the Spurs. They now have the exact same point differential per game. But let’s take it one step further. Let’s take a look at the point differential of the Mavs and Spurs vs. common opponents in the past month. That should give a good indicator of who’s playing better recently, right?
Atlanta – Dallas won by 23 (2/26), San Antonio won by 7 (2/21)
Denver – Dallas won by 20 (2/24), San Antonio won by 15 (2/20)
Miami – Dallas won by 12 (2/22), San Antonio lost by 15 (2/11)
Against these three teams in the past month Dallas is +55, and San Antonio is +7.
Hollinger, your formula is flawed. The only way you can be proven right is if San Antonio beats Dallas in the playoffs. Until then, try to show a little humility and admit you’re wrong.