NBA Player Power Rankings – THE NBA PPR

Last year I wrote my first Python algorithm to evaluate NBA Player effectiveness.  I decided enough games had been played this year to update my code and feed it some new data…

Box score or traditional stats don’t do a great job evaluating NBA player performance.   Is a player that averages 30 points per game performing well if he averages 40 attempts and 8 turnovers a game? How does his defensive performance figure in?

I wanted to create a better basketball metric.

NBA Real Plus Minus and similar systems try to figure out all aspects of a players “estimated on-court impact” taking in to account teammates, opponents and other factors.

My system works in a similar manner and follows other conventions like Hollinger’s rule that players have to be on pace to play 500 or more minutes.

The PPR relies heavily on WINSMuch like RPM Wins and Hollinger’s estimated wins added the PPR rates players on how much they contribute towards their team wins over a season.


1 0.98 Anthony Davis NO PF
2 0.97 James Harden HOU PG
3 0.87 Paul George OKC SF
4 0.84 Nikola Jokic DEN C
5 0.83 LeBron James LAL SF
6 0.83 Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL PF
7 0.82 Kevin Durant GS SF
8 0.82 Nikola Vucevic ORL C
9 0.78 Kyrie Irving BOS PG
10 0.76 Stephen Curry GS PG
11 0.73 Joel Embiid PHI C
12 0.73 Damian Lillard POR PG
13 0.72 Rudy Gobert UTAH C
14 0.67 Kawhi Leonard TOR SF
15 0.67 Jusuf Nurkic POR C
16 0.66 Kemba Walker CHA PG
17 0.64 Karl-Anthony Towns MIN C
18 0.61 Mike Conley MEM PG
19 0.60 Jrue Holiday NO PG
20 0.59 Danilo Gallinari LAC SF
21 0.57 Kyle Lowry TOR PG
22 0.57 Ben Simmons PHI PG
23 0.57 Jimmy Butler MIN/PHI SG
24 0.56 Blake Griffin DET PF
25 0.55 Russell Westbrook OKC PG

Anthony Davis is so good, he is literally worth 2 average, replacement level players. James Harden is almost as good, and nobody else is that close.

Shooting guard is a dying position. You have to go all the way down to number 23 before you get to Jimmy Butler as the highest ranking SG. There are eight point guards before Butler.


PG: James Harden
SG: Jimmy Butler
SF: Paul George
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Nikola Jokic

Giannis Antetokounmpo at #6 is the highest rated player in the East. Not only are the top five rated players in the West, seven of the top ten players are in the Western Conference.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you are interested in how I came up with these numbers, if you want the entire top 100, or if you have some data you want analyzed.

Post a comment if you think the rankings are incorrect…


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