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Tower of Power

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 12/1/2010 3:58:01 PM

The song What Is Hip was all the rage back in the day as the legendary R and B, soul and funk band Tower of Power was rocking the nation but for those that follow the round ball, it’s all about Power Ratings.

Several sites including USA Today and ESPN publish figures but for this exercise we’ll adapt the numbers of Jeff Sagarin.

Sagarin, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in math from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a native New Yorker who moves out to Hoosier land and whose figures are well received in every single sport.

For our purposes today, let’s look at some teams that have over achieved ranking wise so far and some that have gone the dreaded other way.

First up, the New York Knickerbockers. The hype was through the roof for the circus known as the Knicks as they brought in offensive force Amar’e Stoudamire for a complete make over for the team, but hence, the best laid plans of mice and men don’t always evolve.

The Men of Manhattan only won 8 of their first 17 games and have the 18th worst Sagarin Rating in the league.

Bottom line is they just don’t stop anybody and are in love with the 3-ball. The adage you live and die with the 3 is the real deal. Just ask Ray Allen, who in the playoffs last year hit long-range shot after long-range shot in one game, and then could not throw it into the ocean in the next.

Knicks Coach Mike D’Antonio plays run and gun and that style has never worked in this league when it matters. A couple of years ago he brought in former Italian teammate’s son Danilo Gallinari. The kid has talent but he has looked pretty one-dimensional and will have to start slashing and D-up to become a complete player.

Of the other poorly ranked teams, the Lost Angeles Clippers seem helpless while the Minnesota Timberwolves are improving against the spread along with the Washington Wizards, who can still score and have budding point guard John Wall dropping the dimes.

Clips, Wolves and Kings are the bottom feeders in the rankings.

Of the elite in the league, everybody knows about the defending champs, the Celtics, and the Spurs but the feeling is the sixth ranked team by Sagarin, the Miami Heat, are overrated at this point and will need time to start running on all 8 cylinders.

The Denver Nuggets also can be an enigma at times and are hard to trust. Everybody in Denver is on pins and needles about who will be there after the trade deadline and it’s kind of like being employed by a company that is laying off and firing people in high volumes. There is just no comfort zone there.

The Utah Jazz are in the top 10 in the rankings and they can only better their 12 and 5 start. They will eventually have Mehmet Okur back in the fold and that huge guy will just give Deron Willams move options to play with.

The surprise team of the year last year, the Oklahoma Thunder, has not sneaked up on anybody this year while the Chicago Bulls are getting close to the glory Michael Jordan Days.

They cursed Portland Trailblazers are hovering around .500 but checked in a solid 12th in the Sagarins after 15 contests.

The Bulls are a young team that are set to join the best in the East. It starts in the middle with free spirit and roving pogo stock Joakim Noah and revolves around one of the best points in the game in Derrick Rose.

But the talent is deep. Luol Deng is averaging over 20 a game, Kyle Korver can stretch the floor, Taj Gibson is about a year away from teasing an All Star role and back up center Omer Asik will surprise people.

The baby from Turkey is no stiff. He is active in the paint, is not afraid to defend and he should be motivated by the emotional Noah.

Hoop bettors could do much worse than monitoring the Sagarin Ratings before teeing it up.


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