Power Rankings evaluates where teams are now. It's a measure of momentum crossed with success, that's how I think of it. The last edition has a measure of who's got what momentum going at the end of the regular season, which is why the Golden State Warriors are No. 2 instead of No. 1. But there's something to be said for a measure of what team had the best season.
And that, my friends, was the Golden State Warriors -- No. 1 in defensive efficiency and pace. The presumptive MVP, Steph Curry (though that's going to be close) has lead them to an unbelievable season, 65 wins before Monday's games, the No. 1 seed in the most brutal conference structure we've seen since the mid-90s, and a reputation as the baddest team in the land, and the most fun to watch.
The Warriors deserve a ton of credit for what they've done. From drafting well with multiple key guys, to ownership being willing to shell out for big-name acquisitions and running up payroll, to management for forking over draft picks to Utah to help acquire Andre Iguodala, and for the organization's realization of how much Mark Jackson was holding this team back.
So before we get to this week's power rankings, a mini-meta-power rankings of the 10 best teams this season start to finish, if we looked at the whole year.
1. Golden State Warriors: Best of the best of the best in every way.
2. Atlanta Hawks: People that say they're challenging the idea you don't need stars don't realize how good their stars are.
3. Memphis Grizzlies: Until injuries and a late season swoon kicked them back, this team was just as much a group of bad asses as the Warriors. Incredible tenacity all season.
4. Houston Rockets: No matter the injuries, no matter the limitations, they found a way, over and over. Usually that way was "Follow the Beard."
5. Portland Trail Blazers: It's really awful that injuries have derailed them. This balanced squad could come up short despite being better than last season.
6. San Antonio Spurs: They were not that great for about four months. Then they kicked into hyperdrive and are leaving everyone in the dust.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers: Much like San Antonio, really unimpressive until they flipped the switch. Then? Destroyer of worlds. David Griffin deserves credit.
8. Los Angeles Clippers: Their inconsistency drove me nuts, but the way Doc Rivers kept this team together and piled up wins despite the failings of Doc Rivers in the front office was crazy.
9. Toronto Raptors: Very few teams have done more with less than the Raptors.
10. Chicago Bulls: Thibs kept grinding out wins, despite injuries, again.
This has been the best pro basketball season I've ever covered, and really one of the best overall in terms of talent and performance that I've ever witnessed as a fan. The competition level was so high, the basketball so much fun to watch (except for most of thhe East), the surprises unfolding every night. It's seasons like this that make me so thankful I get to write about it. Thanks for tagging along.
The playoffs begin later this week, and here are this week's power rankings, the final edition for this season.