With opening night of the NBA Orlando restart just around the corner, it's all the basketball community can talk about right now. Excitement and buzz are quickly rising as people analyze and predict which team is best equipped to make a big run and which will come out on top when it's all said and done.
Obviously, folks are inclined to give teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks the benefit of the doubt, but in a ranking of the best starting lineups for teams in the Orlando bubble, Bleacher Report topped off the list with an interesting selection: not the Lakers, Bucks, or even the defending Champs but, rather, the New Orleans Pelicans.
Anyone who ha spayed attention to what the Pelicans have been doing this year will tell you that their starting five is, indeed, one of the best in the NBA. Their total net rating is a league-high 26.3 in 230 minutes and the recent hiatus has only given them a chance to get healthy and get in shape.
These Pelicans are for real.
Even with Williamson playing just 19 games, this is already the most-used five-man lineup the Pelicans have. They've already spent over 100 more minutes together than the second-place Los Angeles Clippers and have produced a net rating nearly seven points per 100 possessions higher.
Holiday is an elite defender in the backcourt, Ball has become a good outside shooter, and Ingram is already an All-Star. Mix in a defensive anchor like Favors and a budding superstar in Williamson, and New Orleans has the best starting five in the entire NBA.
In case you're interested in how other lineups ranked, here's the list from worst to best:
Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, and L.A. Clippers.
Bear in mind that the rankings seemed to based almost completely off of net rating and, yes, it does take into account lineups in which players are missing (like Beal for Washington and Kyrie for Brooklyn).
As for the highest-ranked Pels, the stats don't lie and they definitely deserve credit for their effectiveness together. But whether or not they've got enough talent or experience to actually hoist that Larry O'Brien trophy this season is something else entirely.