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Thread: Official NBA Thread
01-10-2014, 06:41 PM #6261
01-11-2014, 11:17 AM #6262
Ranking teams by peak value
What if the players on every NBA roster were in their prime?
It started innocently enough with a tweet from Insider's Amin Elhassan: "If everyone on every roster were in their prime, would the Nets be the best team in the NBA?" It's a fun question, and one my wins above replacement rating (WARP) can help answer.
For every player, I found their "prime" season -- their best by WARP, including 2013-14 prorated to a full 82 games -- and took the top 12 players on each team as that team's score, since we don't really care about how good the very end of the bench was in its prime. Full rankings follow at the end, but let's count down the top 10.
10. Denver Nuggets (79.2 WARP)
Befitting their old reputation as star-less contenders, the Nuggets edge out the Houston Rockets and their duo of James Harden (15.1) and Dwight Howard (20.5) for the last spot in the top 10, despite not having a single All-Star on the roster. Andre Miller's spectacular 2001-02 season (15.8 WARP), one of the best ever by an All-Star snub, is one reason. Beyond that, Denver does have admirable depth, with 12 players who have posted at least 2.7 WARP in a season.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder (82.5 WARP)
The issue with using stats to answer the question is that they can't look forward as easily as they can backward. More than any other team, the Thunder are hurt by this limitation. In time, Reggie Jackson (4.7) and Jeremy Lamb (4.0) will surely exceed their current production, but for now, Oklahoma City's best "prime" player after the Kevin Durant (23.6) -- Russell Westbrook (16.4) -- Serge Ibaka (10.3) troika is Derek Fisher (5.5 WARP in 2005-06).
8. Detroit Pistons (84.4 WARP)
While the Pistons owe much of their lofty ranking to veteran Chauncey Billups, who is far from the prime that saw him post 18.2 WARP in 2005-06, this figure still reflects how disappointing Detroit has been this season. The Pistons' other four starters should be in or very near their prime, yet the team has lost its past six games by an average of nearly 18 points per game. Yikes.
7. New York Knicks (84.6 WARP)
In terms of All-NBA and All-Star appearances on the roster, the Knicks rank an impressive sixth. Too many of those belong to Amar'e Stoudemire (16.0 WARP in prime) and Metta World Peace (9.7), who have been rendered limited by knee injuries, making New York one of the best examples of a team that would have been far better five years ago.
6. Los Angeles Lakers (86.6 WARP)
You'll recall that the Lakers were a popular answer to this question a year ago, when their starting lineup had combined for an incredible 32 All-NBA appearances. Without Dwight Howard, World Peace and reserve Antawn Jamison, this year's roster is slightly less star-studded. And the Lakers' two most accomplished players, Kobe Bryant (20.4) and Steve Nash (17.8), have played six games apiece, making this exercise a total hypothetical.
5. Los Angeles Clippers (89.0 WARP)
Of the teams at the top of the list, the Clippers are closest to prime production. The exception is Jamison (10.3 WARP), now a below-replacement reserve. Aside from him, Jamal Crawford (7.6 WARP in 2003-04) is the only other key player more than five years removed from his best season by WARP. Stars Chris Paul (25.6) and Blake Griffin (13.1) are at or near the top of their games.
4. San Antonio Spurs (92.1 WARP)
The Spurs would surely welcome the chance to battle opponents with prime Tim Duncan (23.4 WARP), Manu Ginobili (15.4) and Tony Parker (10.3). However, they suffer by this method from not having any other All-Stars on the roster. Their fourth-best player in terms of prime production is actually Boris Diaw (7.5), thanks to his impressive 2005-06 season in Phoenix, though Kawhi Leonard (6.8) will surely eventually have something to say about that.
3. Dallas Mavericks (105.5 WARP)
Watching Dirk Nowitzki (19.7), Shawn Marion (19.2) and Vince Carter (16.5) in their prime with Rick Carlisle as their coach would have been incredibly entertaining. And don't forget that the Mavericks also get the benefit of an All-Star Devin Harris, from his 2008-09 season in New Jersey. A prime Dallas squad could score with anyone, though it would probably struggle at the defensive end of the floor.
The top two
That leaves us with the consensus top two teams left, who happen to face off Friday on ESPN ...
2. Miami Heat (124.9 WARP);
1. Brooklyn Nets (125.8 WARP)
The Nets are slightly deeper, with six All-Stars -- not counting Jason Terry, who easily could have made it in his prime -- to Miami's five. And they have an MVP of their own in Kevin Garnett, who was not far off LeBron James' rarified air back in 2003-04. Lastly, Brooklyn benefits from Andrei Kirilenko's 2003-04 season. Since his game fell off shortly thereafter, it's easy to forget how good a young Kirilenko was. In 2003-04, he led a post-John Stockton/Karl Malone Utah team without another 1,000-point scorer to an improbable 42-40 record.
At the same time, Miami improves as well. Not only would Dwyane Wade's knee problems disappear, the Heat could throw out an All-NBA Ray Allen and an All-Star Rashard Lewis as part of a lethal smallball lineup that the Nets would struggle to defend with both Garnett and Lopez on the floor.
Back in reality, Brooklyn will be without Williams and Lopez tonight because of injuries, and Garnett, Kirilenko, Pierce and Terry will all be limited to some extent or another. That's the trouble with loading up on big names who are no longer near their prime. Injuries and minute restrictions can force a veteran team deep into its bench. The Nets thought they had that covered, but so far they've been unable to make up for Garnett's sudden decline and a season-ending injury to Lopez, one of their younger players.
If the story sounds familiar, it's because something similar happened to last season's Lakers, who would have ranked third on this list. That doesn't necessarily mean any "superteam" is destined to fail, especially if the stars are in their early 30s rather than their late 30s, but it does suggest caution is in order with veterans ... unless your general manager has a time machine that can put everyone in their prime.
Last edited by punjabi212; 01-11-2014 at 11:22 AM.
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01-11-2014, 11:41 AM #6263
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01-11-2014, 11:43 AM #6264
Id know if that would help you I am not hearing to much about in college player at the moment, might be better off trading the lotto pick maybe for another player like unibrow or something
01-11-2014, 11:51 AM #6265
Everyone knows Kevin Love is going to sign with the Lakers in 2015.
01-16-2014, 03:52 PM #6266
01-16-2014, 04:30 PM #6267
01-16-2014, 04:44 PM #6268
01-16-2014, 06:35 PM #6269
01-20-2014, 08:47 PM #6270
I can't believe the Bulls scored 109 points with that sorry ***** roster.
01-20-2014, 08:52 PM #6271
01-21-2014, 07:24 PM #6272
01-27-2014, 11:45 AM #6273
The Celtics paid a great tribute to KG and Pierce last night.
02-05-2014, 10:22 PM #6274
Davis > Howard
02-16-2014, 04:42 PM #6275
What's the tweak on cydia that lets you record the screen?
02-16-2014, 04:58 PM #6276
The Following User Says Thank You to Cowboy For This Useful Post:
03-10-2014, 05:18 PM #6277
Joakim Noah for MVP
03-10-2014, 05:48 PM #6278
I am still pulling for Kobe as MVP haha jk
Let's go Durant
03-10-2014, 06:21 PM #6279
03-10-2014, 06:50 PM #6280
After yesterday's performance hell why not lol