2012/13's first iteration of John Hollinger's stat-based power rankings has been unveiled at ESPN.com, with the Grizzlies, Knicks, Thunder, Heat, and Clippers making up the top five. Now that the NBA regular season is nearly a month old, there's enough data related to scoring margin, strength of schedule, and home-road difference for Hollinger's formula to produce a reasonably accurate list.
By the same token, after four weeks of games, it's worth taking a look at another one of Hollinger's creations, Player Efficiency Rating. While the sample size is still small, the fact that LeBron James and Kevin Durant are first and second in the league in PER suggests the numbers are starting to reflect what we can expect to see for the rest of the season.
PER doesn't necessarily capture a player's all-around contribution to a team, but it comes about as close as a single statistic can. As such, let's use this season's PER leaders to check out which offseason acquisitions have been the most effective so far. These players changed teams via trades or free agency since the end of last season and have appeared in at least half of their new clubs' games so far. Here's the top 15:
Kyle Lowry (Raptors): 24.6
Carl Landry (Warriors): 22.7
Goran Dragic (Suns): 22.3
James Harden (Rockets): 21.5
Jason Kidd (Knicks): 21.3
Dwight Howard (Lakers): 21.0
Ryan Anderson (Hornets): 21.0
Andray Blatche (Nets): 20.7
Jermaine O'Neal (Suns): 20.7
Louis Williams (Hawks): 20.2
O.J. Mayo (Mavericks): 20.0
Jamal Crawford (Clippers): 19.6
Ray Allen (Heat): 19.5
Rasheed Wallace (Knicks): 19.3
Andrei Kirilenko (Timberwolves): 19.1
A few notes on the list:
- Some players who re-signed as free agents with their previous teams, such as Brook Lopez (Nets) and JaVale McGee (Nuggets) are also among the league leaders on PER. They weren't listed here since they didn't change teams.
- A trio of big men who were virtually written off, Blatche, O'Neal, and Wallace made the top 15, but have played limited minutes. They're averaging 16.2, 18.8, and 15.8 minutes per contest, respectively.
- Blatche, O'Neal, and Wallace are also among the best values on the list, as all of them signed for the veteran's minimum. Other bargains so far: Landry ($4MM), Mayo ($4MM), Kidd ($3.1MM), and Allen ($3.1MM).
- Lowry and O'Neal have each appeared in only eight games so far.