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The 90% Club Rankings: First Month

90% of the last twenty NBA Champions were ranked in the top 12 in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings. So who qualifies a month into the 16-17 Season?

The 90% Club Rankings: First Month

  90% Club Graphic Dirk



A month into the season, it’s time to check in on the 90% Club Rankings and which teams have a chance to win the NBA Title.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Dallas Mavericks are nowhere close to a spot on these rankings but we’re tracking them all the same1.  The 90% Club Rankings are based off a statistic that:


90% of the last twenty NBA Champions were ranked in the top 12 in both Offensive and Defensive Ratings.


A full introduction of what the Off/Def Ratings are, what the 90% Club Rankings are, a list of the past 20 NBA Champions with their Off/Def Ratings, and how we’ll track them can be found here.


First Month 90% Rankings 2016



90% Club Power Rankings



1. Clippers (16-5) | Off: 5th | Def: 1st


The Clippers started off the year scorching at 14-2, including a 124-104 shellacking2 of the Mavericks in American Airlines Center the day before Thanksgiving.  However, immediately after that game, the Clips went on a three-game losing streak, dropping games to the Pistons, Pacers, and a double OT thriller to the Nets.  The Clippers have, deservedly, inserted themselves into the Finals conversation that seemed to only include one team in the Western Conference at the beginning of the season… 


2. Warriors (16-3) | Off: 1st | Def: 9th


Their defensive ranking appears to say that the Warriors miss the rim protection of Andrew Bogut, but the Dubs are only 0.9 points per 100 possession worse than last year.  And that heralded offense that everyone said would be the best in history?


It is.  


The Warriors are 2 points per 100 possessions better than last season. Giving them the best offensive rating since 73-74 when possession statistics were first recorded3 topping the 86-87 “Showtime” Lakers, 91-92 Jordan-led Bulls, 87-88 Bird-led Celtics, and the 09-10 Nash-led Suns.


3. Bulls (11-7) | Off: 8th | Def: 5th


The Mavericks opponents tonight4 are the most surprising5 member of the 90% Club.  The fit between Rajon Rondo6, Dwyane Wade7, and Jimmy Butler didn’t appear seamless on paper but in execution the Bulls are tops in the League in a few crucial categories.  They grab the most offensive rebounds, foul the least, and (in turn) allow the least number of free throw attempts in the NBA.  It would be more surprising if the Bulls kept up this success with Rondo running the ship because everyone knows how that story ends… 


4. Jazz (11-9) | Off: 9th | Def: 7th


The Jazz’s acceptance into the 90% Club may surprise some but they have been really good even with all of their injury battles.  George Hill, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, and Rodney Hood have missed a combined 26 games.  Hill & Hayward have only played five games together out of the teams 20 games so far and won all five8 by an average of 17 points. 


NR: Mavericks (3-15) | Off: 30th | Def: 16th


9The Mavericks’ rankings are the most surprising of any team, but to be fair to the D-Town Ballers10 their players have missed a combined 38 games11 (8th in the League).   That doesn’t excuse their poor play by any means, but with a healthy Dirk Nowitzki, JJ Barea, Deron Williams, and Devin Harris this team isn’t the worst offensive team in the League.  But they are right now…


Defensively the Mavericks are right where they were last year (0.2 points per 100 possessions worse) which isn’t a surprise because Barnes, Matthews, Anderson, and Finney-Smith (Arguably the Mavs four best perimeter defenders) have all played at least 17-of-18 games.


Keep checking back on as we continue to track the 90% Club throughout the year.



  1. How’s that for optimism…?
  2. Cowabunga
  3. According to Basketball-Reference
  4. Dec 3rd
  5. At least to me
  6. The Boo Birds are going to be flocking in droves tonight
  7. Who sadly won’t be playing tonight
  8. Rockets, Hawks, T-Wolves, Knicks, and Nuggets
  9. Oh boy…where to start
  10. I’m aware no one calls them that
  11. As of November 27th according to

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