Power Rankings

Offseason Power Rankings: Western Conference

See where all 15 teams in the West rank after a wild flurry of offseason moves.

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

Despite vastly different postseason outcomes, the two L.A. teams appear to be the cream of the Western Conference crop.

This offseason has been wild, but it’s nothing like what we saw last year when Anthony Davis, Paul George, Brandon Ingram, Kawhi Leonard, Ja Morant, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Zion Williamson all landed with new teams in the Western Conference.

Paul is on the move again, but the landscape hasn’t been altered all that much. And that sounds like good news for the Lakers, who made some upgrades around Davis, LeBron James and Alex Caruso.

Though last season’s No. 5 seed (Oklahoma City) took a major step backward, the West remains deep. There are six teams sure to make the playoffs. The Houston Rockets would be a seventh if they can keep their stars somewhat focused.

And then things get really interesting, with the Phoenix Suns adding Paul and the Golden State Warriors getting Stephen Curry back. They’re joined on a tier by the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans, two squads that were surprisingly competitive last season. At least two of those teams are going to miss the playoffs.

The play-in tournament will make things even more interesting. The Lakers remain at the top of the West, but there’s a lot to watch for beyond the champs.

***

For these offseason rankings, we’re looking at each conference separately, with the Eastern Conference rankings having been published on Monday. All stats refer to the 2019-20 regular season unless otherwise noted.


Previous Power Rankings…

Aug. 10: West play-in race highlights final week before playoffs

This time last year: Mid-Summer Power Rankings: Clippers sit atop new-look Western Conference — The Lakers landed Anthony Davis, while Kawhi Leonard brought Paul George with him to the Clippers. The Rockets and Thunder made an interesting trade, the Warriors replaced Kevin Durant with D’Angelo Russell, and some dummy ranked the eventual champs at No. 4 in the conference.


Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)

The league averaged 100.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 110.1 points scored per 100 possessions last season.


NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or WarnerMedia.


 

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 52-19
Pace: 101.2 (11) OffRtg: 111.7 (11) DefRtg: 106.1 (3) NetRtg: +5.6 (5)


Key addition(s): Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Schroder
Key departure(s): Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo

Three numbers to know...

The Lakers ranked first in field goal percentage in the restricted area (69.0%) and second in the percentage of their shots that came in the restricted area (36.1%). No other team ranked in the top 10 in both.

Their three most-used playoff lineups all scored more than 121 points per 100 possessions, the three best marks among the 22 lineups that played at least 50 postseason minutes. LeBron James was the only player in all three lineups.

In the regular season, Anthony Davis shot 34.9% from mid-range, the second worst mark among 25 players with at least 200 mid-range attempts. In the playoffs, he shot 57-for-116 (49.6%) from mid-range, the fifth best mark among 16 players with at least 35 mid-range attempts. His 3-point percentage also improved from 33.0% (below average) to 38.3% (above average).

Key question: Will there be any defensive slippage?

The Lakers had their flaws last season and, had the offseason gone differently, weren't an obvious favorite to repeat. But they got younger with players -- Schroder and Harrell -- who can take some of the offensive load off the shoulders of James and Davis. Last season's Lakers ranked third in minutes played, but 11th in scoring off the bench.

The offense was still good enough to score more efficiently in every round of the playoffs (114.4 points per 100 possessions or better) than it did in the regular season (111.7). But the Lakers' defense was there throughout the season when the jumpers weren't falling. It was Frank Vogel's fourth top-five defense in his eight seasons as a head coach, but the key departures could all be missed on that end of the floor and James' championship teams have ranked lower defensively the following season: The 2012-13 Heat dropped from fourth to ninth, the '13-14 Heat dropped from ninth to 11th, and the '16-17 Cavs dropped from 10th to 21st.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 49-23
Pace: 102.2 (8) OffRtg: 113.3 (2) DefRtg: 106.9 (5) NetRtg: +6.3 (2)


Key addition(s): Serge Ibaka, Luke Kennard
Key departure(s): Coach Doc Rivers, JaMychal Green, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet

Three numbers to know...

The Clippers had the best record (20-12) in regular-season games played between the 13 teams that finished over .500.

After scoring 121.5 points per 100 possessions through their first seven playoff games, the Clippers scored just 105.2 over their last six.

Ibaka is one of four players - Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kelly Olynyk are the others — that have shot 70% or better on at least 500 attempts in the restricted area and 35% or better on at least 500 3-point attempts over the last four seasons.

Key question: Is there another move?

There's a reason that almost every contender had interest in Ibaka, and a healthy Kennard — one of 10 players who averaged at least five catch-and-shoot points and five pull-up points per game — would give the Clippers a little more punch offensively. But it sure feels like this team still has at least one more move to make between now and the trade deadline. At this point, the Clippers' 10-man depth chart seems to include Terance Mann and Patrick Patterson, who combined to play a total of 37 minutes in the postseason.

The Clippers are the Bucks of the Western Conference in that, no matter what they do in the regular season, they'll have a lot to prove come the playoffs. But it would still be good to see an extended stretch of the Clippers at their best at some point. We never got that last season and maybe that mattered when the season was on the line.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 46-27
Pace: 97.6 (29) OffRtg: 112.6 (5) DefRtg: 110.4 (16) NetRtg: +2.2 (11)


Key addition(s): JaMychal Green, Facundo Campazzo dimes
Key departure(s): Torrey Craig, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Three numbers to know...

Nikola Jokic was one of two players -- Giannis Antetokounmpo was the other -- who led their team in points, rebounds and assists per game.

For the second straight season, Jokic and Jamal Murray were the only pair of teammates with at least 100 assists to each other. The 129 from Jokic to Murray were the third most from one player to a single teammate and the 116 from Murray to Jokic were tied for the eighth most.

In their first-round series against Utah, the Nuggets allowed 120.3 points per 100 possessions, the most a team has allowed in a playoff series it has won in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data.

Key question: What becomes of Michael Porter Jr.?

The days of Porter getting the "DNP - Lack of trust" are over. The 22-year-old has a permanent spot in the Nuggets' rotation. Now, it's a matter of what he does with it ... on both ends of the floor. The Nuggets are one of three teams -- Houston (five seasons) and the Clippers (nine seasons) are the others -- that have ranked in the top 10 in offensive efficiency in each of the last four seasons, and they're sure to make it five with a bigger role for Porter.

The other end of the floor will determine the Nuggets' ceiling, though. Porter seemingly made some strides in that regard, and the team will further benefit from a healthy Gary Harris and the return of Paul Millsap. Denver's defense went from atrocious to not-so terrible once Harris returned in the bubble, and it was much better (in the regular season) when Millsap was playing alongside Jokic (105.2 points allowed per 100 possessions in 1,128 minutes) than when he wasn't (110.3 in 1,208 minutes).

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 44-28
Pace: 99.1 (24) OffRtg: 111.8 (9) DefRtg: 109.3 (13) NetRtg: +2.5 (9)


Key addition(s): Derrick Favors (cue Peaches & Herb)
Key departure(s): N/A

Three numbers to know...

The Jazz led both the regular season (38.0%) and the playoffs (42.1%) in 3-point percentage.

Only 64.4% of their opponents' shots, the league's lowest rate, came from the restricted area or 3-point range. They were the only team that ranked in the top five in regard to the (lowest) percentage of their opponents' shots that came from the restricted area (29.5%, third) and the (lowest) percentage that came from 3-point range (34.8%, fourth). They also ranked second in the (lowest) percentage of their opponents 3-point attempts that came from the corners (18%).

The Jazz had the league's second best record (28-13, .683) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, up from 15-18 (.455) in 2018-19. That was the biggest increase in clutch winning percentage.

Key question: How real was Mitchell's postseason leap?

Mitchell's points-per-game jump (from 24.0 in the regular season to 36.3 in the playoffs) was the league's biggest. But more intriguing was that a big jump in usage came with a equal leap in efficiency, and that Mitchell's pull-up game was at a new level. After registering an effective field goal percentage of 48.1% on 9.2 pull-up jumpers per game in the regular season, he had a mark of 61.9% on 12.0 per game in the thrilling, seven-game, Denver-Utah series.

Mitchell had already showed some progress with his mid-range game and it's fair to assume that 26-for-51 (51%) on pull-up 3-pointers is unsustainable, but if he can approach Curry or Lillard-level potency from beyond the arc, that's the kind of leap that can make a huge difference for both the player and his team.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 35-39
Pace: 101.2 (13) OffRtg: 113.2 (3) DefRtg: 114.3 (27) NetRtg: -1.2 (18)


Key addition(s): Robert Covington, Derrick Jones Jr., Enes Kanter
Key departure(s): Trevor Ariza, Hassan Whiteside

Three numbers to know...

The Blazers the most efficient offense (112.4 points scored per 100 possessions in 24 games) against the league's top 10 defenses.

The Blazers saw the league's biggest jump in points allowed per 100 possessions, from 109.5 (16th) in 2018-19 to 114.3 (27th) in '19-20.

The 1.15 points per possession Damian Lillard scored on pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions was the highest mark (minimum five possessions per game) in 15 seasons of Synergy play-type tracking.

Key question: Can they keep Lillard and CJ McCollum fresh?

Covington is exactly what the Blazers needed, though one guy isn't going to turn a defense that ranked last (by a wide margin) after Christmas into league average by himself. A full season of Nurkic and fewer minutes for Anthony will also help on that end of the floor.

Seemingly at the peak of his powers (read that last bullet point again), the 30-year old Lillard will keep the Blazers in the top 10 offensively. But while the frontcourt is deep, the backcourt depth comes with some questions and, in a somewhat condensed season, it would be good if the starting guards don't rank first and second in minutes per game again. To keep them fresh with secondary playmaking, the Blazers will need Rodney Hood to recover strongly from a torn Achilles and/or Anfernee Simons (still only 21 years old) to have the breakout we thought he might have a year ago.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 43-32
Pace: 99.8 (18) OffRtg: 115.9 (1) DefRtg: 111.2 (18) NetRtg: +4.8 (6)


Key addition(s): James Johnson, Josh Richardson
Key departure(s): Seth Curry, Delon Wright

Three numbers to know...

The Mavs' 115.9 points per 100 possessions was the best mark in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data and, likely, NBA history. But their differential vs. the league average (5.8 points per 100 possessions) ranks as just the 24th best mark of the last 24 seasons.

The Mavs had the league's biggest differential between "expected" wins (based on point differential) and actual wins. They were 43-32, with the point differential of a team that was 50-25. They had a league-high 19 losses (they were 8-19) in games that were within three points in the final minute.

Luka Doncic saw the second biggest jump in points per 36 minutes (from 23.7 to 30.9) and the fourth biggest jump in assists per 36 minutes (from 6.7 to 9.5) among 273 players who played at least 500 minutes in each of the last two seasons.

Key question: Will Doncic turn Richardson into a shooter?

Last season, Tim Hardaway Jr. (from 47.4% to 55.0%), Dorian Finney-Smith (from 50.7% to 57.5%), and Seth Curry (from 57.7% to 62.1%) saw the fourth and seventh-biggest jumps in effective field goal percentage among 218 players with at least 250 field goal attempts in both 2018-19 and '19-20. That's a good sign for Richardson, who shot just 34.6% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last season and could similarly benefit from Doncic's pick-and-roll playmaking while helping a defense that ranked last in opponent turnover rate (11.9 per 100 possessions).

Johnson will help on that end of the floor as well, but even if he can play some back-up center (as he did in Minnesota), there are some worries with the frontline. Dwight Powell could be ready to go on opening night, but that will still be just 11 months since he tore his Achilles. And Kristaps Porzingis (who had meniscus surgery in early October) will be out to start the season.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 44-28
Pace: 104.0 (2) OffRtg: 112.5 (6) DefRtg: 109.8 (15) NetRtg: +2.7 (7)


Key addition(s): Coach Stephen Silas, Christian Wood, DeMarcus Cousins, Trevor ...
Key departure(s): ... Ariza, Coach Mike D'Antoni, Robert Covington, Austin Rivers, Jeff Green

Three numbers to know...

The Rockets had the smallest difference between their winning percentage against the 17 teams under .500 (26-15, .634) and their winning percentage against the 13 teams with winning records (18-13, .581).

They ranked 16th offensively (111.4 points scored per 100 possessions) and ninth defensively (110.4 allowed) after committing to small-ball (Jan. 31).

James Harden led the league (for the third straight season) with 34.3 points per game, the fifth highest scoring average of the last 45 seasons. His 33.9 points per 36 minutes was the fifth highest mark (minimum 750 minutes played) in NBA history. He had 21 40-point games, 10 more than any other player, and the Rockets were 18-3 in those games. But he didn't score 40-plus in any of their 12 playoff games.

Key question: Will Stephen Silas change things up?

The Rockets have the league's longest active playoff streak, having reached the postseason in each of the last eight seasons. A healthy James Harden and some shooters should lead to an elite offense, and Wood appears to be a great fit. He can finish at the rim (his 77% in the restricted area ranked second among 102 players with at least 200 restricted area attempts) and shoot from the perimeter (39% on 140 3-point attempts).

But no good team feels more fragile than this one. And all eyes will be on Harden and Russell Westbrook to see how they handle themselves amid speculation and in the wake of the leadership changes in Houston. It would be interesting if Silas encouraged (and Harden went along with) more balance and ball movement in the offense.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 34-39
Pace: 101.7 (9) OffRtg: 111.3 (12) DefRtg: 110.8 (17) NetRtg: +0.5 (14)


Key addition(s): Chris Paul, Jae Crowder
Key departure(s): Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, Aron Baynes

Three numbers to know...

The Suns' jump in point differential per 100 possessions, from -8.9 (29th) in 2018-19 to +0.5 (14th) in '19-20, was the third largest of the last 10 seasons.

The Suns' free throw percentage of 83.4% was the best mark in NBA history. Devin Booker's 91.9% (468-for-509) was the best mark for a player with at least 500 free throw attempts in NBA history.

Chris Paul's team has outscored its opponents by no less than 6.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor in each of the last nine seasons. Last season was the lowest of those marks (+6.9), but it was the third time in the last six seasons that Paul had (or tied for) the league's biggest on-off differential, with the Thunder being 13.4 points per 100 possessions worse with him off the floor (-6.5).

Key question: How much better do Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges get?

The Suns are a tantalizing team, especially when you think about Ayton and Bridges both improving in their third season and with Paul as a mentor. Ayton actually saw a dip in efficiency last season, but Bridges saw the 10th biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (from 52.3% to 58.3%) among 218 players with at least 250 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons.

The Phoenix rotation seems to have all the necessary ingredients, though a lot is riding on the 35-year-old Paul being able to recreate his success -- durability, shooting, clutchness -- from last season.

More: Film study - Chris Paul in Phoenix

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 15-50
Pace: 101.0 (15) OffRtg: 104.4 (30) DefRtg: 113.0 (26) NetRtg: -8.6 (30)


Key addition(s): James Wiseman, Kelly Oubre, Kent Bazemore, Brad Wanamaker
Key departure(s): Ky Bowman

Three numbers to know...

The Warriors saw the fourth biggest season-to-season drop in winning percentage (from .695 to .231) in NBA history.

They were one of three teams that ranked in the top five in both ball movement (389 passes per 24 minutes of possessions, first) and player movement (11.5 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession, fifth), according to Second Spectrum tracking.

They shot worse on open or wide-open 3-pointers (34.1%, 30th) than two teams (Indiana and San Antonio) shot on tightly or very-tightly guarded 3-pointers.

Key question: Can Curry carry the load?

With Klay Thompson suffering another catastrophic injury, the Warriors are in a similar position as last season, when the prevailing thought was that Stephen Curry's offense and Draymond Green's defense were enough of a foundation for a top-eight finish in the West. Four games is just four games, but the Warriors were 1-2 and losing to the Suns by 29 points when Curry broke his hand. And that was that.

This version of the Warriors is deeper than last year's. Not only has more talent been added with the selection of Wiseman and the trade for Oubre, but Eric Paschall and Damion Lee, two guys that used last season to develop into legit rotation players, have that year of experience under their belt. They're still counting on Curry to carry a heavy load offensively. He's consistently had one of the league's biggest on-off differentials (in regard to team performance) and it should be huge again this season.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 34-39
Pace: 103.3 (6) OffRtg: 108.7 (21) DefRtg: 109.7 (14) NetRtg: -1.0 (17)


Key addition(s): N/A
Key departure(s): N/A

Three numbers to know...

The Grizzlies led the league with 55.9 points in the paint per game, having seen the biggest jump from 2018-19 (46.3, 21st). They also saw the league's biggest jumps in fast break points per game (from 12.3 in 2018-19 to 17.2 in '19-20) and second chance points per game (from 11.2 to 13.2).

Ja Morant ranked fifth in drives per game (19.4) and his 22.6 drives per 36 minutes ranked second (behind Derrick Rose's 24.3) among 339 players who played at least 500 total minutes.

Brandon Clarke and Jonas Valanciunas were two of the four players who shot 70% or better on at least 200 attempts in the restricted area and 50% or better on at least 100 attempts elsewhere in the paint.

Key question: Can they get more offense from the wings?

Ja Morant is the real deal and the Grizzlies have a trio of efficient bigs in Clarke, Valanciunas and Jaren Jackson Jr. But there's a dearth of offense on the wings. The lineup of Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jackson and Valanciunas scored just 91.5 points per 100 possessions, the lowest mark (by a wide margin) among 53 lineups that played at least 150 minutes last season.

Brooks struggles to finish at the rim -- his 52.1% in the restricted area was the fifth worst mark among 102 players with at least 200 restricted-area attempts -- and is a little too eager to shoot mid-range jumpers off the dribble. Anderson, meanwhile, is as hesitant as he is inaccurate from beyond the arc. Maybe Justise Winslow -- who, along with Jackson, is expected to miss the start of the season -- can help when he eventually makes his Grizzlies debut, but it's not a great sign when you're hoping for Winslow to be an upgrade offensively.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 30-42
Pace: 103.9 (4) OffRtg: 110.5 (15) DefRtg: 111.8 (21) NetRtg: -1.3 (20)


Key addition(s): Coach Stan Van Gundy, Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Kira Lewis Jr.
Key departure(s): Derrick Favors, Jrue Holiday

Three numbers to know...

The Pelicans ranked in the top 10 in pace in each of Alvin Gentry's four seasons as coach. Last season's Pelicans led the league (by a wide margin) with 19.2 "pass-ahead" passes per game, according to Second Spectrum tracking. Stan Van Gundy has never had a team in the top 10 in pace and his last seven teams have ranked in the bottom 10.

The Pelicans led the league in player movement (12.2 miles per 24 minutes of possession) and ranked second in ball movement (383 passes per 24 minutes of possession).

36.1% of Pelicans' opponents' shots, the league's second highest opponent rate, came in the restricted area.

Key question: Will the Pelicans get all of Zion Williamson?

Williamson and Adams will be the bruisingest frontline in the league, and if the Pels are nearly as successful with that pairing as they were with Williamson and Favors (+12.1 points per 100 possessions in 368 minutes), they're in good shape. But there are legit questions about their fit offensively. Adams and Williamson took 96% and 93% of their shots in the paint, with those being the sixth and 10th highest rates, respectively, among 248 players with at least 300 field goal attempts last season. (Favors' 90% was the 15th highest rate.)

More important is that the Pelicans play defense with more cohesion and effort than they had last season, when they were 10-35 when they didn't score at least 114 points per 100 possessions. And that goes back to the health and conditioning of their 20-year-old star. If Williamson is healthy and in shape for most of the season, it can make a world of difference on both ends of the floor.

More: Free agent film study - Brandon Ingram

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 19-45
Pace: 104.0 (3) OffRtg: 107.6 (24) DefRtg: 111.6 (20) NetRtg: -4.0 (24)


Key addition(s): Anthony Edwards, Ricky Rubio
Key departure(s): James Johnson

Three numbers to know...

20th is the highest the Wolves have ranked defensively in the last six seasons, but they ranked 28th (116.7 points allowed per 100 possessions) between the trade deadline and the hiatus.

The Wolves ranked fifth in ball movement (353 passes per 24 minutes of possession), having seen the biggest increase from 2018-19 (326, 23rd).

Karl-Anthony Towns had a true shooting percentage of 64.2%, the highest mark among 41 players with a usage rate of 25% or higher.

Key question: Can Towns shoot all the threes?

In Ryan Saunders' first season as coach, the Wolves saw the league's biggest jump in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range, from 31.5% (26th) in '18-19 to 43.3% (third) in '19-20. But they ranked 28th in 3-point percentage (33.6%), with five guys (three still on the team) who shot worse than 30% on at least 75 attempts.

Rubio's passing will help, but he's weirdly never shot better than 31.1% from 3-point range in a season ending with an odd number, and Edwards shot just 29% on 3-pointers at Georgia last season. If the Wolves are going to compete for a spot in the play-in games and the defense isn't going to be very good (a safe bet), improvement will have to come from within and from Towns (fifth in 3-point percentage among player with at least seven attempts per game) accounting for more of the shots.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 32-39
Pace: 101.1 (14) OffRtg: 111.7 (10) DefRtg: 112.6 (24) NetRtg: -0.9 (16)


Key addition(s): Devin Vassell
Key departure(s): N/A

Three numbers to know...

The Spurs were the 34th team in the 41 years of the 3-point line to rank in the top 5 in field goal percentage (47.2%, fifth), 3-point percentage (37.6%, fourth), and free throw percentage (81.0%, second). They were only the second of those 34 teams to miss the playoffs, joining the 1979-80 Jazz (first year of the 3-point line).

Only 57.7% of their shots, the league's lowest rate by a wide margin, came from the restricted area or 3-point range. The Spurs were the only team that ranked in the bottom five in the percentage of their shots that came from the restricted area (25.9%, 30th) and the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (31.8%, 28th). It was the fifth straight season they ranked in the bottom five and second straight season ranking last in the percentage of their shots that came from the restricted area.

Dejounte Murray's 2.4 steals and 4.4 deflections per 36 minutes were both the fourth highest marks among 300 players who played at least 750 minutes. He accounted for 40.7% of the Spurs' steals while he was on the floor, the highest rate among those 300 players.

Key question: How much do the vets play?

The Spurs' playoff streak is over and LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are all in the final year of their contracts. The page is being turned. Bryn Forbes and Marco Belinelli are no longer in the way of the young wings, but will Aldridge and DeRozan see a reduction from their 33.1 and 34.1 minutes per game in this year of transition?

The Bubble Spurs went 5-3, with Dejounte Murray and Derrick White -- playing more minutes together (137) than they did prior to the hiatus (102) -- paired alongside starters Lonnie Walker IV and Jakob Poeltl and with Keldon Johnson in the rotation. It would be fun if most of that carried over to this season.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 31-41
Pace: 99.6 (19) OffRtg: 109.5 (18) DefRtg: 111.4 (19) NetRtg: -1.9 (21)


Key addition(s): Tyrese Haliburton
Key departure(s): Kent Bazemore, Bogdan Bogdanovic

Three numbers to know...

The Kings have allowed more points per 100 possessions than the league average in each of the last 14 seasons. That's the league's longest active streak of worse-than-average defense by six years, and they've also been a worse-than-average offensive team for the last seven seasons (tied for the third longest active streak).

The Kings saw the league's biggest drop in pace, from 103.9 possessions per 48 minutes (third) in 2018-19 to 99.6 (19th) in '19-20. They did see the second biggest jump in pace from prior to the hiatus (99.1 per 48, 23rd of 30) to the restart (103.8, fourth of 22).

The Kings got only 8% of last season's minutes, the league's fifth lowest rate (and the lowest among teams that didn't reach the playoffs), from rookies or second-year players.

Key question: Where art thou, Marvin Bagley III?

The consensus is that the Kings did well in having Haliburton fall to them at No. 12. But it's unlikely that a rookie guard is going to help them avoid tying the Clippers (1977-91) for the longest playoff drought in NBA history. (The play-in is not the playoffs, FYI.) Choosing not to match the Atlanta Hawks' offer sheet for Bogdanovic keeps them from being completely handcuffed financially, but it also pushes their timeline for being competitive a little further out, and they still have the somewhat burdensome contracts of Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield on the books for the next three and four years, respectively.

De'Aaron Fox still has a lot of room to grow -- his 26.7% on pull-up 3-pointers was the worst mark among 64 players who attempted at least 100 -- and we'd all feel better about the Kings' future if Bagley could stay healthy and make strides on either end of the floor.

Last Week: 0

2019-20 record: 44-28
Pace: 99.4 (21) OffRtg: 110.1 (17) DefRtg: 108.1 (7) NetRtg: +2.1 (12)


Key addition(s): George Hill, Al Horford, All The Picks
Key departure(s): Everybody from the league's best lineup, except Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Three numbers to know...

The Thunder are the only team that has ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in each of the last four seasons.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played just 135 minutes with neither Chris Paul nor Dennis Schroder on the floor last season, and the Thunder were outscored by 13.6 points per 100 possessions in those 135 minutes.

Luguentz Dort had a usage rate of 23.5% in the playoffs, up from 13.9% in the regular season. That was the biggest jump among 119 players who played at least 500 regular-season minutes and at least 100 postseason minutes.

Key question: When does this conveyor belt stop?

As expected, the Thunder chose to go south after a surprisingly fun and successful season with the (human) pieces they acquired for Paul George and Russell Westbrook. It's hard to imagine anything close to that kind of success with the pieces they acquired for Paul and Adams. And those pieces -- namely Hill and Horford -- could eventually be moving on.

GM Sam Presti has triumphed in the demolition phase of this renovation, but at some point, he'll have to start rebuilding a competitive basketball team instead of what is now a motley crew of discarded pieces. Of course, whenever a team blows it up, their most valuable Draft picks are their own.

Latest