Playoff power rankings

November 15, 2021-

In Basketball GM, regular season and playoff games are a bit different. In the playoffs, the coach shortens the rotation. Stars play more, depth plays less, and everyone plays harder. This means that top-heavy teams tend to do better in the playoffs and deep teams without true superstars tend to do worse.

This presents a problem for the Power Rankings, which list ratings for every team in the league. Those ratings are regular season ratings, so they may not reflect how teams will preform in the playoffs, which can be confusing if you see teams consistently overperforming or underperforming their ratings in the playoffs and you don't know why.

Now on the Power Rankings page in version 2021.12.04.1335, there is a menu to switch between regular season and playoff ratings. Since team ratings are used in the point spread prediction formula, this means point spreads will also be more accurate in the playoffs now.

Here's an example.

Cleveland is the best regular season team in the league, but not by much:

Cleveland has a superstar, but after their top 8 players, the talent drops off fast. In the playoffs, with a shorter rotation, that's not really a problem, so they are a stronger team in the playoffs than the regular season:

Montreal has a slightly lesser star and a much deeper team, with 12 solid rotation players. That is great for the regular season, but doesn't help as much in the playoffs. And the new playoff team ratings make that clear. Montreal and Cleveland might be evenly matched in the regular season, but not in the playoffs.

So if you were ever the GM of a deep team like Montreal and wondered why you kept underperforming in the playoffs, these new playoff team ratings should help make things clearer.

All of this only applies for Basketball GM. In Football GM and ZenGM hockey, there is not yet any difference in game simulation between the regular season and playoffs.