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Power Rankings Watch: Metrics Never Lie

In this weekly installment of the power rankings watch, we take a look at how the Clippers continue to rise, and how they measure up by some common statistical markers.

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Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings

Outlet Ranker Ranking Change Comment
SB Nation Drew Garrison 11 The Clippers have been busy shifting their roster to land Austin Rivers, but still lack small forward and center depth. Their offense has been fantastic all season (110.4 points per 100 possessions, second overall) but being in the bottom half of the NBA in defensive efficiency (104) is a problem that needs to be addressed.
ESPN Marc Stein 7 +1 Panicky stat: Blake Griffin has managed to grab 10-plus rebounds just twice in the Clippers' last 11 games. Reassuring stat: Since losing his rookie season to injury, Blake Griffin has been about as reliable health-wise as you can get, appearing in 349 of the Clippers' 353 regular-season games.
CBS Sports Matt Moore 12 -2 They still have the ability to make a run and surprise, but the Clippers just seem like the team you most want to meet in the playoffs. Their record and fourth-best net points per possession mark hides what has been a disappointing season. But I'm sure Austin Rivers will fix all of this.
Yahoo! Marc Spears 7 +2 When Clippers coach Doc Rivers faces his old Celtics squad on Monday, there will be no player left from the 2008 championship team he coached. Rajon Rondo was the last before being traded. David Aldridge 8 +3 Matt Barnes has beef with Floyd Mayweather, who was sitting courtside during Friday's game with the Cavaliers, but refuses to talk about it afterward, putting a picture of his kids up on Instagram instead. John Schuhmann 7 +2 The Clips had a nine-game winning streak that ended in early December, but have been Team Jekyll and Hyde since then. A potent offense has gotten them some quality wins, but bad defense (bottom 10 in January) has earned them some head-shaking losses. They haven't won more than three in a row or lost more than two straight since that winning streak.
Sports Illustrated Matt Dollinger 10 +1 Austin Rivers’ first 27 minutes with the Clippers: 0-for-7 from the field, one point, one turnover, one steal, two assists and a never-before-seen -8.0 Player Efficiency Rating, according to
Pro Basketball Talk Kurt Helin 5 +2 Doc Rivers wants the Clippers to play faster, but the Clippers defensive inconsistency has made that difficult. "One of the things that I have said since I’ve been here is that it’s hard to run when you are taking the ball out of bounds." The Clippers have done that a lot lately.
USA Today Conglomerate 8 +1 Good depth is hard to find. Spencer Hawes was expected to be a solution, and he still might figure it out.
/r/nba Conglomerate
Average 8.3 +1.1

Despite a home loss to Cleveland, the Clippers trended upwards this week across almost all Power Rankings. Only 3 of 9 outlets still have them in the double digits this week, as pundits begin to realize that for all the team's flaws, they're still in the thick of it in the West. Some of this is due to the prolonged slide of Toronto and Chicago, but we'll take it.

Metrics Watch

Metric Number Ranking
Win Percentage .667 8th
Margin of Victory +6.3 4th
Net Efficiency +6.6 4th
Simple Rating System 6.32 2nd
Hollinger Rankings 105.7 4th
Strength of Schedule .505 13th

The Clippers continue to be a much better team according to most statistical markers, but their actual numbers haven't yet caught up. Also of interest, ESPN's RPI stat has them tied for 5th with Houston.

Pythagorean win metrics also seem to think the Clippers are a better team than their record states. ESPN's expected winsputs them at 31-11, three games more than where they currently stand, and 4th overall. That's the biggest difference in real v. expected performance of any team in the top 10. Basketball Reference's Pythagorean wins stat also thinks highly of them, tied for 4th (again) behind the usual suspects — Golden State, Atlanta, and Portland.

Time will tell if this means we can expect great things to come, or if it's another mirage. We should also note that the Clippers have the biggest home-road disparity of any team in the league (25-17) with a murderous road schedule upcoming.