We here at Grantland love doing power rankings, and I especially love comic strips. Thus, inspired by this "Dilbert" comic, I present the first-ever Grantland edition of NBA Playoffs Hair Power Rankings (NPHPR for short).
The title is pretty self-explanatory. Opinions may vary; scoring is arbitrary. My friend pulled my arm to get the remote out of my hand earlier so now my head hurts and I'm not thinking clearly. My dog also ate the previous draft of this because he was displeased with my Sager-esque, green paisley blouse. Feel free to yell at me in the comments about any obvious oversights.
Without further ado …
Honorable Mention: Zach Randolph
Z-Bo would've made this list for real except for the fact that I would be giving him 37/20 points based on the headband alone (-5 for the very average hair). There's a reason it's referred to as a headband. It does not relate to hair. Sorry, Z-Bo, maybe next time. After all, it took LeBron only nine years to win something huge, and he has a headband, too. (That is also one of the reasons Z-Bo gets the Honorable Mention nod and not LeBron; sometimes we just have to learn to share the wealth.) Good things are coming your way, though, Mr. Randolph — I can feel it. Just not today. Total: -5/20
About three weeks ago, I noted how Miami opponents were blistering-hot from 3-point range, and how rare it has been over the last decade-plus for a team that allows both a lot of 3-point attempts and a high percentage of makes on those attempts to advance far in the playoffs. Miami last season pulled off the trick, in part because they tightened up their 3-point defense considerably in the playoffs. In other words, the message three weeks ago was, Chill. They’ve done this before, and they’re the champs.
Three weeks later, Miami opponents are still averaging a league-high 25.5 triple tries per game, even though Miami’s pace of play is right around the league average. The shooting percentage on those 3s has dropped from 40-plus percent three weeks ago to 35.8 percent now — about league-average. Still: The combination of a decent opponent 3-point percentage and a ton of attempts has generally been a very bad indicator of postseason longevity. But we went through this last season with Miami, and veteran-laden champs earn some “flip the switch” leeway.