In the last five weeks, I've been ranking the Mavericks among the Western Conference by positions. Here's the one wrapping up centers last week. Someone asked for a overall ranking, which I was hesitate to do at first. But I went ahead and calculated it out, and I'll go ahead and share them here.
Before checking them, please understand the problems with this. These rankings aren't created equally -- for example, Oklahoma City's no. 1 ranking at SF is equally as valuable as Portland's no. 1 in PF, even though Kevin Durant is way past other SF than Aldridge is past other Western Conference PF's. Or for the point guards, there's a bridge between the no. 1, 2 and 3 ranked point guard units as compared to no. 4 on down.
Even if that was more accurate, remember the rankings are totally subjective on my opinion. So yeah, don't take too much stock into this; I'm not actually predicting Golden State will win the West. It's just a different look at how the conference shakes out.
Again, with the admission that these numbers don't mean much without context, I'll point a few things I found interesting.
- I bolded the top eight teams, and honestly, that's a pretty decent guess at who will be making the playoffs in the West. You'd need to reseed Oklahoma City higher and Golden State lower, but the rest it looks believable.
- Team play or coaching didn't get fairly assessed in the breakdown. San Antonio won the title last year because every piece fit and because Popovich does great things with them as a unit. Memphis doesn't have the most talented backcourt, but their team defense wears you down. Phoenix was also a team that benefited from coaching and a system that fit them and amplified talent that was perhaps lesser than other Western Conference opponents.
- Golden State, Portland, Dallas, San Antonio and Denver are the four most "well-rounded" teams, who didn't have a position dip into the bottom third of the conference.