Regardless of which NBA team you believe is the greatest of all time, you have to admit that the 2017 Golden State Warriors are near the top of the list.
There are multiple contenders for best NBA team ever, including the 1986 Boston Celtics and 1996 Chicago Bulls, but none of those squads were better than the recently crowned champs, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo stat.
The stat, which FiveThirtyEight says measures “a team’s strength over time,” has the 2017 Dubs as the greatest NBA squad ever with an 1828 Elo blend — FiveThirtyEight describes its Elo blend as the “team’s peak Elo, average daily Elo during the season and its final, end-of-season Elo” — after their 4-1 series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals.
Michael Jordan’s 1996 Chicago Bulls were a close second at 1815, and so were the 1997 Bulls at No. 3. The Warriors actually rounded out the top five, as the 2016 squad, which didn’t even win the championship, had the fourth-best Elo blend, followed by the 2015 Dubs at No. 5. Boston fans can find their 1986 Celtics at No. 6 with a 1784 Elo blend.
However, not every statistical ranking is as kind to the 2017 Warriors. As FiveThirtyEight pointed out, Basketball-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS) has Golden State’s 2017 team at No. 2 behind the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers. That stat, according to FiveThirtyEight, “adjusts a team’s point differential for the strength of schedule it faced.”
So, the Warriors either are the best team or the No. 2 squad of all time.
Not bad. Math!
Thumbnail photo via Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports Images