Dallas Mavericks Are Wreaking Havoc With John Hollinger's Numbers

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IMarch 25, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 22:  Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball over Morris Peterson #24 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Hornets defeated the Mavericks 115-99.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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I wrote a post a week or two ago wondering whether or not the Mavericks' low point differential foretold an early playoff exit, despite the way the Mavericks are playing as of late. 

I didn't come to any concrete conclusion, but I think what we all took away from it was that point differential was important, but not essential. 

Well, John Hollinger runs his power rankings every day, and as one might expect with the end of the winning streak, they have fallen from their "peak" of being ranked 12th, and are now 14th. 

Now, power rankings are essentially worthless, a way to maybe track progress and to definitely start arguments, but they clearly don't mean anything in "real" life. Except, of course, the weekly Bleacher Report power rankings, which are Gospel.

Most of the time the power rankings are subjective—they're one person's or a group of people's thoughts on the hierarchy of the league. In Hollinger's case, they're a result of his formula, and the way the Mavericks have been listed in the power rankings, it shows why numbers don't tell the whole story. 

In fact, the Mavericks are a walking testament to the fact that Hollinger's formulas are way off. 

I know he usually tweaks them in the offseason, and the Mavericks are a testament to the fact that his numbers need to be overhauled. 

The Mavericks are currently at 14, despite being second in the West, and fourth-best in the league. 

Are the Mavericks the fourth-best team in the league?

The Lakers and Cavaliers are clearly better. The Nuggets, Magic, Spurs, Hawks, and Celtics can make a case, so I'll even allow it. 

Hell, let's get really nuts and say the Jazz, Thunder, Suns, and Trailblazers (the only team the Mavs haven't beaten this year) are better. 

That would put the Mavs at 11th-best in the league. I personally think they're better, but some would argue, and since their play hasn't been particularly inspiring of late, let's say 10th.

But Hollinger has the Mavericks at 14. Who else does he have ahead of the Mavs? He has the Bucks and Bobcats

The Bucks have been on a tear of late, but the Bobcats? That's where Hollinger's numbers come up wrong. 

No person who watches the game of basketball can say that the Charlotte Bobcats are a better team than the Dallas Mavericks. Uh, John? You do know that MJ won't be strapping on a uniform, right?

The fact that Hollinger is getting paid to produce a formula that says so, and the fact that he continues to back these numbers up, is a travesty. 

I mean, come on. There is no dimension of reality right now in which the Charlotte Bobcats are a better team than the Dallas Mavericks. 

The Bobcats struggle even to win an individual matchup with the Mavs. I know, some morons say that Gerald Wallace is better than Dirk, but let's be real.  

I do enjoy Hollinger's methods generally, and he definitely knows his way around the game of basketball—clearly more than any single person that writes for this site, and most sites—but come on. 

By his numbers, the Charlotte Bobcats would beat the Mavericks on a neutral court in a seven-game series. And I say, "poppycock," pardon my french. 

The fact is that the way the Mavericks have played this season has shown us a flaw in Hollinger's system, and maybe even in the way stats are used in basketball, since it's pretty clear that a system cannot match a human who watches the games.

Now, I don't know if this odd season will end in Dirk hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy, but I think it might end with ol' Johnny Hollinger carrying the one, and maybe tweaking that formula of his.