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Every NBA Champion Ranked by Pythagorean Record+Strength of Schedule

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's pythagorean day, you can get to the previous lists here.

This is a ranking of every NBA Champ by regular season pythagorean wins (normalized for an 82 game season) if you click that above link you can work your way to the methodology.  Included with each team is a list of its players who had Win Shares of 10 or over (Win Shares is an aggregate performance metric).  I combined regular season and playoff performance for that number. I'm now adding strength of schedule as well, the combination of those two numbers is reflected in the simple rating system from pro-basketball-reference.

So - what's the best team in NBA history?




1. 1971 Bucks 11.91
Abdul-Jabbar 25.6, Robertson 14.7, Dandridge 11.3, McGlocklin 10.7, (d. Bullets .91 let’s see how far we go to find another team this bad)

2. 1996 Bulls 11.8
Jordan 25.1, Pippen 15.3, Kukoc 11.4 (d. Sonics 7.4)

3. 1972 Lakers 11.65
Chamberlain 18.8, West 14.3, Goodrich 14.3, Hairston 11, (d. Knicks 2.28)

4. 1997 Bulls 10.7
Jordan 22.2, Pippen 15.4, (d. Jazz 7.97)

5. 1992 Bulls 10.07
Jordan 21.8, Grant 17.4, Pippen 15.8, (d. Blazers 6.94). 3 Bulls teams in the top 5.

6. 2015 Warriors 10.01
Curry 19.8, Green 11.1, Thompson 10.7 (d. Cavs 4.08) How about that?

7. 2008 Celtics 9.31
Garnett 17, Pierce 15.4, Allen 12.8, (d. Lakers 7.34). Would you have guessed this as the best Celtics team of all time?

8. 1986 Celtics 9.06
Bird 20, McHale 14.2, Parish 10.2 (d. Rockets 2.1)

9. 1991 Bulls 8.57
Jordan 25.1, Pippen 14.1, Grant 12.9, (d. Lakers 6.73). 4th MJ team.

10. 1967 Sixers 8.5
Chamberlain 25.7, Walker 12.4, (d. Warriors 2.58)

11. 1970 Knicks 8.42
Frazier 17.8, Reed 17.4, (d. Lakers 1.76)

12. 2000 Lakers 8.41
O’Neal 23.3, Bryant 12.7, Rice 10.1, (d. Pacers 4.15).

13. 2007 Spurs 8.35
Duncan 16.3, Ginobli 13.2, Parker 11.2, (d. Cavs 3.33)

14. 1987 Lakers 8.32
Johnson 19.6, Worthy 12 (d. Celtics 6.57)

15. 1950 Lakers 8.25
Mikan (21.1) (d. Nationals 6.48)

16. 1962 Celtics 8.25
Russell 19.1, SJones 11.1, Heinsohn 10.3, (d. Lakers 1.8)

17. 2014 Spurs 8.0
Duncan 10.6 (d. Heat 4.15)

18. 2005 Spurs 7.83
Ginobli 15.2, Duncan 14.7, (d. Pistons 3.31).

19. 1960 Celtics 7.62
Russell 16.8, (d. Lakers 1.77)

20. 1983 Sixers 7.53
Malone 17.9, Erving 12.1, Cheeks 11, (d. Lakers 5.06)

21. 1965 Celtics 7.47
Russell 14.9, SJones 12.2, (d. Lakers 1.7)

22. 1998 Bulls 7.24
Jordan 20.6, (d. Jazz 5.73)

23. 2002 Lakers 7.14
O’Neal 17, Bryant 15.3, (d. Nets 3.67)

24. 1999 Spurs 7.12
Duncan 12.4, Robinson 11.4, (d. Knicks 1.45)

25. 2009 Lakers 7.11
Gasol 18.2, Bryant 17.6, (d. Magic 6.48)

26. 2013 Heat 7.03
James 24.5, Wade 11.4, Bosh 11.2 (d.Spurs 6.67)

27. 1964 Celtics 6.93
Russell 19.2, SJones 11 (d. Warriors 4.41)

28. 1985 Lakers 6.48
Johnson 15.7, Abdul-Jabbar 13.7, Worthy 10.1, (d. Celtics 6.46)

29. 1984 Celtics 6.42
Bird 18.3, McHale 12.6, Parish 12.4, (d. Lakers 3.32)

30. 1963 Celtics 6.38
Russell 16, SJones 11.5, (d. Lakers 2.67)

31. 1989 Pistons 6.24
Laimbeer 10.6, (d. Lakers 6.38, that's the first upset, albeit as small as one could be)

32. 1993 Bulls 6.19
Jordan 21.6, Grant 11.5, Pippen 10.2, (d. Suns 6.27, upset, but barely so)

33. 1973 Knicks 6.07
Frazier 16, (d. Lakers 8.16, that's a healthy upset, this Laker team would be in the top 20 of championship teams; only team with an 8+ SRS to lose a title to an inferior team)

34. 1981 Celtics 6.05
Bird 13.9, Maxwell 13.5, Parish 12.3, (d. Rockets -.2 – the Celtics played some bad Rockets teams in the 80s)

35. 1959 Celtics 5.84
Russell 14.8, (d. Lakers -1.42, okay, this will almost certainly be the worst team ever to make an NBA Final – and since I’ve already done the SB, I know it’s worse than any team ever to win the SB. I’ve done WS winners already, one team, out of 106 WS champs, was under .500 – the ’87 Twins – I haven’t done losers yet, but right now, this Lakers team is the worst team ever in a title game. Note, I didn’t do NFL Champs before SB era.)

36. 2012 Heat 5.72
James 20.3 (d. OKC 6.44, another upset)

37. 2003 Spurs 5.65
Duncan 22.4, (d. Nets 4.42)

38. 1953 Lakers 5.53
Mikan 16.6, Mikkelsen 13.2, (d. Knicks 4.39)

39. 1980 Lakers 5.39
Abdul-Jabbar 18.1, Johnson 13.3, Wilkes 11.7, (d. Sixers 4.04)

40. 1969 Celtics 5.35
Howell 12.9, Russell 12.3, Havlicek 10.1 (d. Lakers 3.84)

41. 1977 Blazers 5.39
Walton 12.7, Lucas 11.3, (d. Sixers 3.78)

42. 1952 Lakers 5.28
MIkan 16.8, Mikkelsen 15.1, (d. Knicks .67)

43. 2004 Pistons 5.04
Billups 15, Wallace 13.8, Hamilton 11.6, Prince 10.3 (d. Lakers 4.35)

44. 1961 Celtics 4.93 
Russell 14.9, (d. Hawks 2.99)

45. 1988 Lakers 4.81
Johnson 14.9, Scott 13, Worthy 10.7, (d. Pistons 5.46)

46. 1957 Celtics 4.79
Sharman 11.7, (d. Hawks -.27)

47. 2010 Lakers 4.78
Gasol 15.3, Bryant 13, (d. Celtics 3.37)

48. 2011 Mavericks 4.41
Nowitzki 14.8 (d. Heat 6.76, that's a good upset a sub 5 SRS team beating a 6+ team)

49. 1982 Lakers 4.37
Johnson 15.6, Abdul-Jabbar 12.6, (d. Sixers 5.74)

50. 1966 Celtics 4.34
Russell 14.9, SJones 12.2, (d. Lakers 2.76)

51. 1994 Rockets 4.19
Olajuwon 18.6, Thorpe 12.2, (d. Knicks 6.48, see 2011)

52. 1968 Celtics 3.87
Howell 12.3, (d. Lakers 4.99)

53. 1956 Warriors 3.82
Johnston 15.5, Arizin 14.4, (d. Pistons .45)

54. 2001 Lakers 3.74
O’Neal 18.6, Bryant 15.1, (d. Sixers 3.63)

55. 2006 Heat 3.59
Wade 19.6 (d. Mavs 5.96)

56. 1974 Celtics 3.42
Havlicek 13.2, Cowens 11.4, (d. Bucks 7.61, now that's an upset)

57. 1975 GSW 2.86
Warriors! Sure, I was 4 and therefore have not a single memory of it. But it’s GSW! GSW! GSW!! Barry 15.8, (d. Bullets 6.53 – and a significant upset to boot)

58. 1954 Lakers 2.7
Mikan 16.2, (d. Nationals 4.27)

59. 1979 Sonics 2.69
Williams 11, Sikma 10.6, (d. Bullets 4.75)

60. 1951 Royals 2.54
Risen (9.3, this is the first team on the list without a 10 WS player) (d. Knicks .49– The Knicks have had some really bad finals teams)

61. 1995 Rockets 2.32
Olajuwon 14, (d. Magic 59 6.44, that's a nice upset)

62. 1976 Celtics 2.24
Cowens 13.4, (d Suns .59, xtra bad matchup)

63. 1955 Nationals 1.23
Schayes 13.8, (d. Pistons 2.01)

64. 1958 Hawks .82
Pettit 12.2, Hagan 12.7 (d. Celtics 5.01, that's a bad Hawks title team)

65. 1978 Bullets .82
Hayes 11.4, (d. Sonics 1.48).  This is the first NBA Finals of my memory; I was 7 - it's a wonder I kept watching.

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