At 36-3, The Golden State Warriors Aren’t The Best Team In The NBA

Sitting comfortably at 36-2, there’s no denying how dominant the Warriors have been. But despite their ability to accumulate wins, the Dubs aren’t even the best team in their own conference. That title would belong to the San Antonio Spurs, who currently sit a mere three games back of the Warriors in the Western Conference standings.

This isn’t a knock on the Warriors – a team on pace to break the Bulls’ historic 72-10 regular season record – but a testament to how good the Spurs are. Let’s take a closer look at how these teams stack up, and why the Spurs get the nod.

Offense

No one can contend with Golden State’s high-octane offense which ranks first in offensive efficiency. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s ability to make shots, combined with the playmaking of Draymond Green explains why the Warriors score 5.5 more points than the second highest scoring team in the league. If it’s any consolation though, the Spurs rank third in offensive efficiency.


Advantage: Golden State

Defense

Last season, Golden State ranked first in defensive efficiency, but has slipped to sixth this year. San Antonio is by far the most efficient defensive team, allowing the fewest points per possession (0.929) since the 2003-2004 season. Led by the best defensive player in the league in forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs have only allowed opponents to score 100+ points in seven of their 40 games – a remarkable feat in today’s up-tempo, pace-and-space style of basketball.


Advantage: San Antonio

Bench

Golden State is revered for its tremendous depth, but the Spurs actually employ an even stronger second unit. San Antonio’s bench accounts for 40.4 points per game (3rd), while Golden State’s only provides 34.3 (17th). San Antonio’s bench leads all second units in assists (11.8), field goal percentage (0.496), offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.


Advantage: San Antonio

Coaching

Steve Kerr had the best head coaching debut season in NBA history, but he’s no match for Gregg Popovich – the best coach in the NBA.


Advantage: San Antonio

Despite the Warriors’ 36-2 start, the Spurs (34-6) actually own the league’s largest plus-minus differential at +14.1. With the two teams rivaling for the top seed in the Western Conference, all we can do is hope for a seven game series with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line.

Regular season record aside, the Spurs would have the advantage.

Source: Sports Journal, Bleacher Report, HoopsCritic, Rant Sports, USA Today