Originally written on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 11/18/14

The Philadelphia 76ers may have lost last night to the New York Knicks, but had it not been for a sloppy start to the game, the absence of starting center Spencer Hawes, and the poor shooting down the stretch, the Sixers could very well be 8-2.

Still, though, at 7-3 the Sixers remain one of the top teams in the league and with the Miami Heat falling to the Los Angeles Clippers last night and Chicago beating the then-winless Washington Wizards, Philadelphia remains atop the Hollinger Power Rankings. The Sixers received a 115.836 rating in the rankings, which is comfortably ahead of No. 2 Chicago’s 111.101rating and Miami’s 109.811 rating.

Digging deeper into the numbers, the Sixers are, surprisingly, well ahead of every team in a few categories. The one that jumps out right away is the Expected Winning Percentage (EWP) category. According to its definition on ESPN, this category “was designed to relate a team's points scored and points allowed to its won-lost record.” The Sixers rank 11th in points scored with 914, but have fourth best defense, allowing just 855. Teams like Chicago and Miami are vulnerable to the “today’s NBA teams don’t play defense” notion, as the former ranks 22nd and the latter ranks 26nd. With that being said, the Sixers’ EWP is a whopping .922. Their No. 1 ranking is well-above Chicago’s .864 EWP and Miami’s .802 EWP.

From EWP to RPI (Relative Percent Index), which is composed of “25% team winning percentage, 50% opponents' average winning percentage, and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage,” according to ESPN. In this grouping, the Sixers rank sixth at .546%, just ahead of No. 7 Miami at.540%. According to these rankings, Philadelphia ranks second in the Eastern Conference behind Chicago.

Between the advanced statistics of EWP and RPI, the Sixers are a top tier team in not only the Eastern Conference, but in the entire league. As long as everyone remains healthy and each player continues to develop at their respective pace, the Sixers will be in prime position for a potentially favorable first-round matchup in the playoffs. 

Be sure to follow on Twitter @Kyle_Phillippi!

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