Power Rankings

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"Power Rankings"

Here’s a question: What are things like Marc Stein’s NBA Power Rankings supposed to be rankings of? I take it that the idea is to improve upon simply looking at the standings so that you can include things like strength of schedule or say take into account the fact that the Nuggets played most of the season so far without their current lineup. But still, what’s it a ranking of? Looking at the current list, it’s hard to say.

Is it a ranking of objective team quality? But surely not even Gilbert Arenas actually thinks the Wizards are better than the Rockets. Conversely maybe the idea is to say how far these teams are likely to go in the playoffs. The Wizards are worse than Houston, but stand a much better chance of playing in a Conference Championship game. But then again, the Bulls have a much better chance of playing in a Conference Championship game than do the Jazz. The whole thing seems arbitrary, not just in the sense that I disagree with Stein’s ratings but I actually can’t tell what the criteria are supposed to be.

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