At the end of the season let’s see where each team stands in the 89.5 Club Rankings. If you missed the introduction to The 89.5 Club, then you can find that here, but basically the 89.5 Club is based on this fact that:
89.5% of recent NBA Champions ranked in the top 12 in both Offensive and Defensive Rating.
A full list of those Champions, their rankings, and a more in-depth explanation can (again) be found here. By compiling and tracking these numbers we can determine which teams qualify to win the NBA Championship.
At the time of the All-Star Break there were six total “Qualifiers” for the 89.5 Club (Warriors, Spurs, Heat, Cavs, Hornets, Raptors, Thunder) and three “Lurking” teams (Mavs, Magic, Pacers, Hawks, Clippers). Those rankings can be found at this link.
Here are the rankings at the end of the season:
89.5 Club Power Rankings
Teams are ranked in order of lowest combined rankings, the previous months rankings are in parentheses, and there are no Lurking teams because this is the final edition of the 2015-16 season.
San Antonio Spurs
Offensive Rank: 3 (3)
Defensive Rank: 1 (1)
The Spurs dethroned the Golden State Warriors in the 89.5 Club Rankings and were gifted a first round bye in the playoffs… wait what? Oh yeah, well, they have to beat the Grizzlies three times but Jordan Farmar is going to get starts for Mem so it may as well be a bye. Surprisingly the Spurs ranked 12th in Offensive Rating Post All-Star Break so don’t be surprised if they have trouble scoring points sometime in the playoffs. Not in Round 1 but sometime…
Golden State Warriors
Offensive Rank: 1 (1)
Defensive Rank: 4t (2)
The Warriors, another team that has “struggled” by their standards, had a 48-4 record before the All-Star Break which was on pace for a 76(!?!) win season. After the All-Star Break they still had the best record in the NBA (25-5) but that only rounds out to a 68 win season. It’s noticeable in their play too, they’re still winning but teams are making it tough for them, especially the last 8 games of the season (minus the final game against the Grizzlies). They seem to have a bye as well in their series against the Rockets, but Houston has way more available talent than the Grizz and if Harden gets hot they could steal a game or two.
Los Angeles Clippers
Offensive Rank: 6 (5)
Defensive Rank: 4t (7t)
If you’re not already subscribed to The Vertical Podcast with JJ Redick you’re really missing out, he’s great and has great guests. JJ as a player has also been great Post All-Star Break, second on the Clips in scoring (16.2pts/g) and first in the NBA in Three Point Shooting Percentage. Blake Griffin on the other hand has been subpar, for his standards, since the All-Star Break Blake has played 24 minutes per game averaging 10.4 pts/6.8 reb/4.2 ast per game in just 5 games. The Clips may not need Blake to play his best against the Trailblazers but in the next round the Warriors are looming…
Oklahoma City Thunder
Offensive Rank: 2 (2)
Defensive Rank: 12 (10t)
Offensive Rank: 4 (4)
Defensive Rank: 10 (7t)
Offensive Rank: 5 (6)
Defensive Rank: 11 (9)
Offensive Rank: 9 (13)
Defensive Rank: 9 (14)
Offensive Rank: 12 (24) (!?!?!)
Defensive Rank: 7 (6)