Which group is your greatest of all time? To answer that question with much more rigor than it’s typically debated in sports pubs, in 2015 I rated every team since minutes played were first tracked in 1951-52 (sorry to the 1949-50 Minneapolis Lakers) according to their performance in both the regular season and playoffs.
Three decades after, it is time for an update with a new No. 1, plus a lot of other newcomers to the record as a result of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors dominating the competition in their respective conventions.
For winners, I took the average of their point differential during the regular season and their point differential in the playoffs plus the point differential of their opponents. That tells us just how many points per game better than an average team each winner was, giving equal weight to the postseason as the regular time to reward the most significant games.
For non-champions, the beginning point is exactly the same, but their playoff differential was also adjusted by effectively giving them a five-point reduction for every game they came up short of the name. That has little impact on teams like the 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs, who lost in Game 7 of the Finals, but it harshly penalizes teams which rolled up big success margins early in the playoffs before falling short in the conference finals.
The adjustment deals with leaguewide caliber of play. It’s no surprise that some of the greatest single-season team performances in NBA history came in the early 1970s, when the league had expanded rapidly and also battled the ABA for incoming draft picks. The redistribution of talent allowed stars to glow even more brightly. For every season, I measured how gamers saw their moments per match increase or decrease the following season compared to what we’d expect given their era. More minutes suggests a weaker league, while fewer minutes indicates one that’s gotten stronger.
Each season is rated relative to 2017-18, from a high of 21 percent more powerful in 1965-66, the last year that the NBA had only nine teams, to a low of 10 percent weaker in 2004-05, the last time that the league expanded. That adjustment is multiplied from the group’s average regular-season and playoff scores to provide a last score better than an ordinary team this year.
Read more: nflbetsports.com