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Old 02-26-2007, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default Hollinger on the Spurs

in his new power rankings John Hollinger has the Spurs at #1 and wonders if this is their best team since 99.

now i will never sleep on the Spurs but this can't possibly be one of their top teams.

maybe i just dont see them enough. what do you guys think?

His Power Rankings

"One of the nice things about the blog is it gives me a chance to respond to the topics that are filling up my inbox.

And at the moment, the top question by an overwhelming margin is, to paraphrase, "How the @#%$ are the Spurs ranked No. 1 in the Hollinger Power Rankings?"

At first glance, I understand how this seems totally illogical. San Antonio has lost twice as many games as Dallas, for crying out loud, and the Mavs are currently riding a 11-game winning streak -- their third double-digit win streak this year. They're 46-5 since an 0-4 start and haven't lost consecutive games in more than three months.

But the key word here is "first glance." 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 win-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 win-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 at looking just at point differential.

And if you took that route, you'd be surprised to learn that San Antonio, not Dallas, has the best point differential in the league, at +7.9 points per game. (Actually, Dallas is third at +7.7 -- Phoenix also noses in ahead of them). That difference looms even larger once you consider only two teams have played more road games than the Spurs' 30 -- so the Spurs should be able to improve their mark during a home-laden final two months.

Additionally, the Spurs don't seem like they're losing any steam. In the last three weeks they've won games by 27, 25, and 31, helping contribute to their strong victory margin in recent play -- another major determinant in the Hollinger rankings.

Because of the Spurs' place in the standings, this has been perhaps the single biggest misunderstanding of the current season. Columnists are looking at the Spurs' won-loss record and falling all over themselves to write "What's Wrong with the Spurs?" columns.

Reality check: San Antonio won a team-record 63 games a year ago with a point differential of +6.8. This year they're more than a point per game better (They need to be, too: Those 63 wins didn't do them any good in the playoffs); they just haven't been as fortunate in close games (more on that in a minute).

And while the Spurs are disappointed because they're "only" third in Defensive Efficiency instead of their usual perch at No. 1 (they've been there five of the past six seasons), this is the best offensive team of the Popovich Era. San Antonio ranks sixth in the league in Offensive Efficiency, just 2.8 points per 100 possessions behind the Mavs. With their defensive advantage being as big as it is (3.0 points per 100 trips), San Antonio is still well equipped to rule the West.

By the way -- they're doing this while playing their scrubs for much of the game. No Spur is playing more than 35 minutes per game; Tim Duncan leads the team at 34.6. Tony Parker is only playing 33.0 minutes, Manu Ginobili a measly 27.8. No team is playing their starters less, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Spurs' big three will see a lot more action during the playoffs, making San Anotnio even tougher.

In other words, not only is there nothing "wrong" with the Spurs, this actually might be San Antonio's best team since their championship squad in 1999. The Spurs' problem isn't age or a lack of fire or any of the other ideas trotted out in recent weeks. It's that they're 5-10 in games decided by five points or less, while the Mavs are 12-2. That's the main reason the teams are 8 1/2 games apart in the standings, not any difference in the quality of their play.

I realize this is hard to swallow when one looks at the standings, but that's the whole point here -- I'm trying to get you to look beyond them. Once you do, it immediately becomes apparent that the Spurs are a major threat to win the championship, and that they're No. 1 in the rankings because, as heretical as this may sound, they're playing better than everyone else right now. Dallas included."
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Old 02-28-2007, 01:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hollinger on the Spurs

Hollinger is stupid. he has been trying to predict the future with stats...he did the same thing last year and predicted that according to some statistical formula, Jackie Butler will become the spurs starter over Elson...hasnt happened. there are many other accounts where he has tried to use stats to support his claims and they havent worked.

the mavs are 8 games ahead of San on earth can the spurs be ranked above them? all that point differential crap doesnt mean jack...the only thing that matters is wins and losses.
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Old 03-06-2007, 12:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hollinger on the Spurs

While I agree with some of what he said (his overall perception of the team), I don't agree with them being listed over Dallas or PNX.

How can you list them above Dallas when (he said himself) Dallas is 12-2 and SA is 5-10 in close games? This will be a major factor if SA and Dallas have to face each other in the playoffs.
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