ESPN crunched some numbers and ranked teams in terms of how they’d fare against the Warriors. You’re gonna hate it.
The Celtics ranked 16th (!) on the list, meaning ESPN projects 14 teams to be better-suited to play Golden State. (The Warriors were on the list at No. 1, meaning Boston would actually be the 15th-ranked competitor).
The rankings was made rating players based on projected offensive and defensive ratings using ESPN’s real plus-minus compared to the average player at that position. ESPN used those numbers to project how the team would fare per 100 possessions in a head-to-head matchup. The top-ranked Warriors competitor was the Rockets, whom the Warriors only project to outscore by 1.6 points per possessions head-to-head. That left the Rockets with a 44.8 percent chance of beating the Warriors.
The Cavaliers ranked as the No. 2 competitor and top Eastern Conference competitor. Other teams in the East ranked higher than the C’s were the Heat (No. 10; ninth-ranked competitor), Raptors (No. 11; 10th-ranked competitor), Wizards (No. 12; 11th-ranked competitor) and Hornets (No. 14; 13th-ranked competitor). Get out of here, ESPN.
To answer the obvious question of “What the heck, idiots?” ESPN’s calculations think that overlooked in the hype of adding Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (and Jayson Tatum, dummies) are the defensive losses of Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
The calculations yielded a 115-107 Warriors win on average, leaving the Celtics with a 26.9 percent chance to the beat the Warriors.
In the “Best asset” category, ESPN lists Brad Stevens for the Celtics. Marcus Morris vs. Draymond Green is listed as Boston’s biggest weakness vs. the Warriors.
As for what trade the Celtics could make them better-suited to beat Golden State, ESPN writes that Danny Ainge “could put all his chips in the middle” to land Anthony Davis by putting together a package consisting of Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and two first-round picks. Admittedly I’ve just recently become a basketball genius, but there’s no way that would be enough to get Davis, right?