Last month was the first official 90% Club Rankings but now the NBA is two months into the season; every team has played at least 30 games and the season’s sample size is almost past the small stage. It’s time to check back in on The 90% Club Rankings and see which teams have the best chance of winning the NBA Title.
The 90% Club Rankings are based on this statistic:
90% of the last twenty NBA Champions were ranked in the top 12 in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings.
Here are this month’s ratings:
90% Club Power Rankings
Team (Record) | Offensive Rating Ranking (Last Month’s Rating) | Def Rating Ranking (Last Month’s)
1. Golden State Warriors (29-5) | Off: 2nd (1st) | Def: T-1st (9th)
The Raptors, Warriors, and Rockets currently have the three highest Offensive Ratings ever recorded.[note]Advanced stats like that date back to the early 70s, sorry Bill Russell…[/note] The Warriors have a valid excuse because Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson are arguably three of the best three-point shooters ever.[note]And maybe two of the best scorers ever[/note] But that stat just emphasizes how crazy good the Raptors are and how good James Harden is right now. The Warriors defense rose from 9th place last month all the way to the top but that’s kind of misleading because their defensive rating only improved by 1.3 points. Offensively the entire League has been so good that defenses can’t keep up. The Raps, Dubs, and Rockets are the three highest ever and the Cavs (12th), Spurs (71st), and Clips (97th) are also in the Top 100 best Offensive Ratings ever.[note]But it’s a long season, 50 games left, can’t imagine those top three remain that high[/note]
2. San Antonio Spurs (27-7) | Off: 5th (6th) | Def: 4th (13th)
After missing The 90% Club by one spot last month the Spurs are back in it.[note]Yawn…[/note] In the same way that the Warriors’ defensive rating got a boost this month, the Spurs rose nine spots in the rankings while only improving by 2 points. Offensively the Spurs remained about the same but scored 7.4 more points per game in December than the month before. The Spurs also retired Tim Duncan’s jersey in December and Mavericks fans all said “Good riddance” in unison.
3. Los Angeles Clippers (22-14) | Off: 6th (5th) | Def: 9th (1st)
Unlike the Spurs and Warriors rise defensively, the Clippers fall is a legitimate one. The Clips fell eight spots in the rankings and their defensive rating dropped five points. Injuries have caused them to look a lot like the 2015-16 Clips that lost to the Trailblazers in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve played five games without both Blake Griffin[note]Who is notably out up to 6 weeks with knee surgury[/note] and Chris Paul. Without Blake & CP3 it’s hard to imagine how the Clippers have remained afloat. The Clippers best players are a 7-footer with no offensive game, a shooter, and a bench gunner; who have somehow replaced the offensive production of two of the best twenty offensive players in the League.
4. Utah Jazz (21-13) | Off: 12th (9th) | Def: 3rd (7th)
The Jazz have staked their claim to a spot in The 90% Club after not making the cut at all last season.
NR: Chicago Bulls (16-18) | Off: 18th (8th) | Def: 11th (5th)
The Bulls have fallen out of The 90% Club in concordance with Rajon Rondo falling out of favor with the Bulls organization, nothing surprising here.
NR: Mavericks (10-24) | Off: 25th (30th) | Def: 23rd (16th)
Oh boy. The Dallas Mavericks are improving. After a 3-11 record in November[note]3-14 to start the season[/note] that had Team Tank at an all-time high, they bounced back to a 7-10 record in December. The biggest improvement the Mavs made was on the offensive end where they jumped five spots and their offensive rating increased by 5.9 points. However, defensively the Mavs dropped from average (16th) to below average (23rd). Somehow the Mavs are giving no one what they want. They improved the offense at the expense of the defense, team Tankers want them to lose and they win 7 games in December, and average fans just want to see fun basketball and they were graced with the 120-89 L to Sacramento and the 123-107 schalaking[note]It’s a word[/note] at the hands of James Harden and the Houston Rockets…
Keep checking MavsFanatic.com as we continue to track The 90% Club throughout the year. All stats via Basketball-Reference.com and current as of Jan 2, 2017, at 2:50 pm. You can follow the author @NickAngstadt