The Best Team on Paper: Part 1 West

The Best Team on Paper: Part 1 West:


Who has the best team on paper? Who has the deepest team? Both questions are rather subjective. As talent is impressionable and not fixed, we never truly know who has the most talent on their roster. In a perfect world the first player in the draft, would be the most talented player of the class, and it would be a simple matter of addition to see who had the most talent suiting up for them on a nightly basis. For fun let’s live in that world for a moment, the Philadelphia 76ers sure do.

The following charts have taken the average draft slot of every teams players and compared it to the team’s win percentage. I added up the draft selection of every player on each roster and divided the total number by the number of players under contract. That is the formula for the ADS (Average Draft Selection) per team. Any player undrafted was awarded a value of 61, one pick outside of the second round.



ADS (Average Draft Selection)

Rank in Western Conference

 1) Clippers

17.61 5
2) Thunder 18.87 8
3) Warriors 19.38 1
4) Suns 19.43 9
5) Nuggets 21.91 12
6) Pelicans 22.80 10
7) Kings 23.78 13
8) Mavericks 23.80 7
9) Trail Blazers 24.42 4
10) Rockets 25.76 3
11) Timberwolves 25.80 15
12) Grizzlies 26.69 2
13) Jazz 30.50 11
14) Spurs 33.46 7
15) Lakers 33.90 14


Some of my observations:

Half the current slotted playoff teams sit outside the top eight in ADS, making it far from a perfect formula.

Coaching clearly matters; the Spurs trail only the Lakers in ADP, yet sit at seventh in the West. It’s nothing short of remarkable, and a testament to the Spurs franchise top to bottom. The same can be said for the Grizzlies who are second in the vicious Western conference yet fall near the bottom in ADP.

While the chart illustrates a culture of winning for Memphis and San Antonio, it paints an ugly picture for teams like Denver and Sacramento. It suggests that either the coaching aren’t getting the most out of their players, or the in house evaluators of talent have missed continually.

Age is also a big factor, perennial losers have stockpiled a number of lottery players that haven’t fully developed or didn’t pan out. The Kings stand out in this regard; they’ve cashed in on a top 12 pick in each of the past eight seasons, and still are on course to miss the playoffs for a franchise tying ninth straight year.

I’d feel good looking at the chart if I was a Thunder, Warriors, or Suns fan. All three teams sit in the top four for ADS, with key player’s entering or only part way through their primes.

We know the game of basketball is so much more than a game of numbers, there are those (Charles Barkley) who probably wouldn’t take anything away from this. But anytime you have a chance to see a different perspective I believe you should at least ponder a moment and take a look.


Questions? Comments? Hit Josh up @josheberley on twitter.


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