If you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole lot of scoring going on in the NBA this season, and that’s not just limited to Kevin Durant, who is lighting up scoreboards all over the country. Diving deeper into the NBA’s offensive explosion, one will note heavy ties to the Western Conference. Therefore, it could easily be argued that scoring – and not defense – gets a team into the win column, with the Indiana Pacers being the obvious exception to the rule. A series of offensive statistics also trump last year’s numbers, and the high-octane offenses also are heavily translating into KP’s NBA Power Rankings at The Wife Hates Sports (as well as on other sites).
Take the following stats surrounding NBA offenses (between this year and last year), the Western Conference’s high scoring teams, a comparison of West-to-East and a few random player nuggets that further drive it all home:
NBA Offenses (Comparing 2012-2013 to this season)
- 16 NBA teams (53% of the league) average more than 100 points per game
- 9 teams currently average 104 points or more per game
- Last season, just 3 teams (Denver, Houston and Oklahoma City) averaged more than 104 PPG
- 11 teams from last year averaged 100 points or more per game
- Three teams (Portland, Minnesota and the L.A. Clippers) average more points than last year’s top scoring team – the Denver Nuggets
Western Conference: High-Flying Offenses
- Of the top 10 scoring teams in the NBA, only the Heat (104.3 PPG – 8th) are from the East
- Memphis and Utah are the only Western Conference teams in the bottom 10 in scoring
- 8 of the top 10 teams in Points Per Game Differential are from the Western Conference (Miami and Indiana are the two others)
- 8 of the top 10 teams in Field Goal Percentage are from the Western Conference, with Miami and Atlanta as the two exceptions
West-to-East Team Comparisons
- Only four teams in the Eastern Conference – Indiana, Miami, Toronto and Atlanta – have a record above the .500-mark
- The Eastern Conference’s current 8th seed – the Charlotte Bobcats – is 19-27
- Only three teams in the West – the Jazz, Lakers and Kings – have a record worse than the aforementioned 8th-seeded Bobcats
- The Mavericks – the West’s 8th seed – would have the 3rd best record in the East
- Currently the 11th seed in the West, the Timberwolves would be the 5th seed in the East
- East: Only the Heat and Pacers are above-.500 against teams with a winning record
- East: The Magic and Bucks are a combined 6-41 against teams with a winning record
- The Heat and Pacers are a combined 25-6 versus the Western Conference, but no other team from the East has a winning record against its opposing conference
- Only the Jazz, Lakers and Kings have a losing record versus the Eastern Conference
- Six Western Conference teams – the Thunder, Spurs, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Warriors and Grizzlies – have four losses or fewer versus the Eastern Conference
Random Player Nuggets (NOT Denver Nuggets)
- The Western Conference features the league leader in six major categories: Points (Kevin Durant – Thunder), Assists (Chris Paul – Clippers), FG% (DeAndre Jordan – Clippers), Rebounds (DeAndre Jordan – Clippers), Blocks (Anthony Davis – Pelicans) and Steals (Ricky Rubio – T’Wolves)
- Scoring machine Kevin Durant is averaging 31.3 points per game, which is over four points more than the second leading scorer in the league (Carmelo Anthony)
- The Western Conference owns seven of the league’s top ten scorers
Finally, here’s how my latest NBA Power Rankings fell into place, with the East’s eight current playoff teams highlighted, so as to point out conference’s overall struggles:
KP’s NBA Power Rankings: January 29, 2014
* Games and statistics include results up to 5pm on January 29, 2014
1. Oklahoma City Thunder (132 points)
2. Indiana Pacers (114 points)
3. San Antonio Spurs (113 points)
4. Miami Heat (97 points)
5. Los Angeles Clippers (90 points)
6. Portland Trail Blazers (88 points)
7. Houston Rockets (70 points)
8. Golden State Warriors (59 points)
9. Phoenix Suns (58 points)
10. Toronto Raptors (57 points)
11. Memphis Grizzlies (53 points)
12. Dallas Mavericks (43 points)
13. Washington Wizards (40 points)
14. Minnesota Timberwolves (36 points)
15. Chicago Bulls (35 points)
16. Atlanta Hawks (32 points)
17. Brooklyn Nets (30 points)
18. Denver Nuggets (29 points)
19. New York Knicks (10 points)
20. Charlotte Bobcats (9 points)
21. New Orleans Pelicans (5 points)
22. Detroit Pistons (-1 point)
23. Utah Jazz (-16 points)
24. Sacramento Kings (-17 points)
25. Cleveland Cavaliers (-20 points)
26. Boston Celtics (-26 points)
27. Los Angeles Lakers (-28 points)
28. Philadelphia 76ers (-33 points)
29. Orlando Magic (-49 points)
30. Milwaukee Bucks (-61 points)
* All stats per NBA.com
The Wife Hates Sports NBA Power Rankings system has a method to its madness, attempting to be different and not just rank by popularity and record. It mixes a secret formula of six completely different categories, meshed into a points system. The categories don’t just include team results regarding record, but how each team has performed recently, as well as incorporating some statistics on both a team’s offense and defense.
Well, you could look at that as if a lot of these players are coming out of college too early… one and done guys that are clearly not ready for the NBA. Speaking of younger, struggling teams… I was at the Celtics-Magic game earlier today…
TOP — Too bad they can’t just pull some additional teams from the West, and fewer teams from the East. I mean, per the stats I listed, there are three teams in the West that are letting the East beat them… and that’s it. It’s insane.
Every time I think a team like the Nets can come up and potentially give one of those two teams a fight, they end up getting blown out by 25.
The biggest no-brainer in the NBA, which is saying something because this league has had a lot of no-brainers over the years, is Indiana-Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And with Indy likely having home court advantage, Miami will not want that one going to seven.
I can pose it this way… do either of you see any other situation where anyone other than the Pacers and Heat represent in the Eastern Conference Finals? Could a team like the Nets go on a hot streak? They have veteran talent, but I don’t see it. Atlanta doesn’t have the weapons. It would be a major upset.
And Rev… yes… Durant – if he can stay healthy – is going to have quite the career ahead of him. Talk about a scoring machine. You know a guy is having a great year when the headline of the day is talking about a team (in this case, the Nets) holding him to 26 points. 26!!
Your scary thought for the day. Kevin Durant is only 25 years old.
TOP– This is the Heat every year… not really stepping it up until late in the season, or in time for the playoffs. Last year, it was that late season 20-something game win streak and then playoff surge. They struggled with boards and defense in the early going… and it’s a similar boat. They won’t be as battle tested by playing so many scrubs in the East, too.
REV–Durant has been unconscious as of late… but can they survive that Western Conference come playoff time? Miami will have an easier road.
How about what the Thunder did in Miami last night?
They were down 17 in the first quarter and ended up winning… by 17.
Wherefore are thou, LeBron?