Top teams show strength of NBA

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Adam Silver is taking over the NBA at a good time.

All-Star forward Paul George (right) and the Pacers have the best record in the NBA. Entering play Monday, five teams had a winning percentage of .700 or better.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
All-Star forward Paul George (right) and the Pacers have the best record in the NBA. Entering play Monday, five teams had a winning percentage of .700 or better.

In fact, for five teams, it’s a really good time.

Indiana, Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Portland all entered the week with winning percentages of .700 or better, and that’s significant.

Only one other time in league history – 1997-98 – have as many as five teams won at such a rate, that coming in a season when Chicago, Indiana, Utah, Seattle and the Los Angeles Lakers did the honors. It’s not inconceivable that more than five finish with that good a record, with the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston still having realistic shots, too.

So in a season where so much of the narrative has been about how bad many NBA teams are, there’s another end of the spectrum to consider as well.

At their current rates, Indiana and Oklahoma City are on pace to finish with two of the top 25 records in NBA history. Milwaukee, meanwhile, would have the 11th-worst mark ever if the season was ending now. And going back to last season, including playoffs, the Bucks have lost 55 of their past 67 games (while the Heat have won 63 times in that same span, starting on March 20).

Yes, there are some very bad teams in the league, and that obviously plays a role in helping everyone else’s record.

But there are probably very few people who would deny that the top of the top in the NBA this season is as good as the league has seen in quite some time. And the first championship that will be awarded in Silver’s era as the league’s commissioner could very well go to a team with a case to say that it had one of the best seasons the NBA ever saw.


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