Who is the Most Dominant NBA Team?


In the first post I explained this site’s “new metric.” If you have not looked, it is worth the read, even if it is just so you can criticize it. If you are in a “tl;dr” mood, though, I will sum up the metric here.

Essentially, this and future posts will attempt to determine how dominant a team is when it is playing at average efficiency on the offensive and/or defensive side of the basketball court. To do this it will look at each team’s quarterly statistics. In quarter’s where a team’s Offensive eFG% is above 50% or Defensive eFG% is lower than 50%, the quarterly Net Rating will be examined. This is then averaged and presented in graphs which detail a team’s Net Rating in quarters where they have a 50% or higher Offensive eFG%; a team’s Net Rating in quarters where they have a 50% or below Defensive eFG%; and finally, a team’s Net Rating in quarters where their Offensive eFG% is higher than 50% and Defensive eFG% is lower than 50%.

Please keep in mind this is not meant to serve as a “Power Ranking,” but rather, an estimate of how dominant a specific team is when they are playing their best. Now, after considering every game through December 13, 2015, let’s begin.

In order to narrow down the field, this article takes a look at the eight most efficient teams on both sides of the ball. Those numbers are seen in the graph below.

Statmuse graph game 25Figure 1: Graph via Statmuse


What Figure 1 tells us is that, in terms of net rating, out of the top-8 most efficient teams, Golden State and San Antonio are tied for most dominant, that is followed by Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Charlotte, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta, and Portland. Moving forward, let’s examine how these teams stack up on a quarterly basis.

First, let’s look at the Net Ratings when these eight teams have solely offensive eFG% above 50%:


Chart Offensive Efficiency Above 50%

Figure 2


What this tells us is that, when a team has solely an Offensive eFG% above 50%, the Warriors are the most dominant, followed by the Hornets. After a fairly sizeable drop-off the next most dominant team’s are the Spurs, Thunder, and Cavs. Following another significant drop-off, the chart is closed out by the Hawks, Trailblazer, and lastly the Clippers.

Moving onto the Net Rating when a team’s Defensive eFG% is above 50%, let’s see any differences.

Chart Defensive Efficiency Below 50%

Figure 3


Thus, there are a few minor differences. First, the Warriors are far more dominant when their Defensive eFG% than any other team. Secondly, the order of the chart is a bit different. In Figure 3 the Warriors are clearly the most dominant, followed by the Spurs, Thunder and Hornets, after a small drop-off these teams are followed by the Cavs, Clippers, Trailblazers, and finally the Hawks.

Moving onto the chart where both Offensive eFG% is above 50% and Defensive eFG% is below 50%, one would assume, utilizing the information from both of the previous charts, we would see the Warriors as the most dominant. Let’s look for closer examination below:

Chart OE above 50% and DE below 50%

Figure 4


Now for the surprise: the Spurs are the most dominant team when they hit their Offensive and Defensive eFG%. This is for a few reasons. First, the Spurs achieve this milestone in only 19% of quarters, which is by far the lowest of all eight teams pictured. For comparisons sake, the Warriors achieve their Optimal Team Net Rating in 26% of quarters.

Secondly, though, the Spurs are still adjusting to Lamarcus Aldridge, which limits the amount of times their team can achieve this metric; however, also demonstrates how dominant the Spurs will be when Aldridge is perfectly integrated into the team.

Regardless, after a drop-off, the Warriors and Hornets follow the Spurs. After an even longer drop-off we see the Hawks and Cavaliers. Finally, this chart concludes with the Thunder, Trailblazers, and Clippers. Overall, out of the eight teams pictured, the Spurs, at their best, are the most dominant whereas the Clippers are the least.

Thus, three main takeaways from this article are: the Spurs are currently the most dominant when playing optimally; the Warriors are most dominant when achieving one of the efficiency metrics; and the Hornets are an incredibly underrated team.

This week, readers can expect to see posts breaking down each of the aforementioned teams as well as at least one “surprise post” examining a different sport.


  1. […] Today we bring you an update in the metric we looked at in the previous two weeks. For a brief rehash, the metric measures teams that have an offensive eFG% above 50% and a defensive eFG% below 50% when they are most dominant. Essentially, when each team performs above its average eFG% and defensive eFG%, we then measure their net rating. For more information see the original article here. […]


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