Blogs > Deitch on the 76ers

Daily Times staff writer Dennis Deitch covers the 76ers

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hollinger's Darlings

If you don't know who John Hollinger is, the best way to sum up the ESPN contributor is to call him the Bill James of the NBA. If you don't know who Bill James is, he's considered the Godfather of SABRmetric stats in baseball. If you don't know what SABR is, you're going to crawl from under the rock and do a Wiki search. If you don't know what Wiki is ...

Anyway, Hollinger has devised some mathematical equations that process the value of individual players and the effectiveness of a team. While I've always had some questions about leaning too heavily on some of the SABR stats in baseball, I find that Hollinger's basketball ratings seem to be far more telling of a player's assets to the team. (And let's make something clear here: Basketball is far more of a team-oriented game than baseball, which is largely a series of man vs. man matchups - pitcher vs. batter.)

You can go here for an explanation of the team rankings, but one thing I like about them is that Hollinger accounts for how a team is playing lately. In other words, a team like the Sixers, who started 3-13 under their fourth coach in the last three years, are penalized for the slow start. The last 16 games speak far more about the way they are playing.

As of Tuesday afternoon prior to the game with the Grizzlies, the Sixers were sitting in eighth in the ratings, just behind the Dallas Mavericks (38-16) and just ahead of the New Orleans Hornets (33-23).

Eighth. It speaks to how deceiving the team's 26-28 record is at this point. According to this, the Sixers as they are playing right now are probably at the level of a 50-win team. This is a franchise that won 50-plus games once during Allen Iverson's tenure, won 50-plus games once in the past 20 years.

While there is no way they can get to 50 games this season - a 24-4 finish is asking a bit much - there can be an expectation that they will play like a 50-win team in the playoffs. And there can be an expectation that, with a year of Doug Collins under their belt and no real reason to believe there will be a great deal of personnel change, they can be a 50-win team next season.

As for Collins' reaction to Hollinger's rating, he said that he has more of an old-school statistical formula he follows (although if you hear his parameters, it actually takes into consideration a lot of Hollinger's factors), but that "I'd much rather be considered the eight-best team than 28th."


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