There are two types of greatness that every championship team wants from its roster: Great players and great teammates.
Now, if you can land a great player who is also a great teammate, well then, that is about as great as it gets.
I have my own little rating system—based on Player Efficiency Rating, along with On and On-Off plus-minus numbers (on-court and on-minus-off-court net plus-minus per 100 possessions)—that I like to call SUPERGLOOO ratings.
It’s got the aforementioned metrics in the acronym (SUPERGLOOO) and spotlights ultimate team players, the ones who combine the efficient productivity of a “superstar” with the team chemistry positive numbers of a “glue” guy, someone who keeps his team together and makes his teammates better.
With that in mind, I thought I would share each NBA team’s top player/teammates for 2017-18, thus far.
For what it’s worth, any players that average 30-plus SUPERGLOOO scores are All-NBA-type players; 25-29 scores are considered All-Star-caliber players; 20-24 scores are considered Good starters; 15-19 scores, Good role players.
30. Sacramento Kings
He’s no Boogie, but Willie Cauley-Stein has proven to be a serviceable big man in replacing his former Kings teammate and Kentucky alum DeMarcus Cousins. He leads Sacramento with a 16.18 SUPERGLOOO score, while averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds in 27 minutes per game as part of Sacramento’s two-headed tandem at center, along with Kosta Koufos, who averages 19 minutes per game.
Nikola Vucevic (22.20 SUPERGLOOO score) and his hand injury should keep him out of action until at least mid-March. In the meantime, the Magic will probably enter into full-tank mode, so … do not be surprised if Orlando’s star player sees his injury extended throughout the rest of the season.
28. Phoenix Suns
In limited action, center Alex Len (17.15 SUPERGLOOO score) has been as steady as they come in Phoenix, averaging 9 points and 8 rebounds in 21 minutes per game. Whether he ever gets elevated to first-string center, only God knows.
John Collins is the one NBA rookie who is leading his team in SUPERGLOOO rating (19.6), thanks in part to his 11-point, 7-rebound, 2-rebound performances in only 22 minutes per game.
26. Chicago Bulls
Since their practice fight, Nikola Mirotic has been dealt to New Orleans, while Bobby Portis (24.8 SUPERGLOOO) has emerged as Chicago’s best player. Go figure. In his new role as Bulls leader, Portis is averaging 12 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes per game.
Role players Salah Mejri (23.35) and Dwight Powell (23.15) may not get the run of the aforementioned bigs, but they put up team-best SUPERGLOOO averages that make them building blocks of the future for the Mavericks to build around.
Technically, Tyreke Evans (24.9 SUPERGLOOO score) is still in Memphis, even though Evans and the Grizzlies organization have agreed not to play him until he is traded to another team. Granted, Evans is disappointed that Memphis has turned into a tanking team, but nobody can deny Evans gave his best to the Grit-’n-Grind up until this point.
23. Brooklyn Nets
Brooklyn point guard Spencer Dinwiddie (18.95 SUPERGLOOO score) has been a revelation this season, averaging 13 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds in 28 minutes per game after never being a majority-minutes player during his first three seasons in the League.
22. Los Angeles Lakers
Power forward Larry Nance (18.83 SUPERGLOOO score) may not be getting the rookie hype that teammate Kyle Kuzma garners, nor does he receive the free-agent updates that Julius Randle attracts. But when it comes down to which Lakers power forward—scratch that—which Lakers player is outperforming his peers, it is quite evident the quiet efficiency of Nance triumphs over all Lakers.
Rudy Gobert (19.00 SUPERGLOOO score) is back in the Jazz lineup after missing half of Utah’s 48 games, thus far. In 30 minutes per game this season, Gobert is averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.
20. Charlotte Hornets
You are not going to find a better player past his rookie deal who is making less on his contract than bang-for-buck point guard Kemba Walker (28.70 SUPERGLOOO score). Walker, who makes $12 million annually, averages 22 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds in 35 minutes per game
19. New York Knicks
First-time All-Star Kristaps Porzingis (22.18 SUPERGLOOO) has taken to his newfound scoring role, averaging 23 points in 33 minutes per game, following the departure of former Knicks teammate and mentor Carmelo Anthony.
With DeMarcus Cousins lost for the season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, five-time All-Star Anthony Davis (32.23 SUPERGLOO score) will go back to placing every load on his tray again, as he hopes to carry New Orleans to an era of relevance.
Lou Williams (22.63 SUPERGLOOO score) was the best player on his team when he played for Los Angeles Lakers last season, and he is even better this season, as the top Clipper in L.A. as he resumes his customary position as NBA sixth man. The scoring guard averages 24 points in 32 minutes per game.
First-time All-Star Bradley Beal’s consistent ascension up the NBA’s hierarchy (23.98 SUPERGLOOO score) comes at the right time, especially with fellow All-Star guard John Wall being lost to left knee surgery until March.
15. Philadelphia 76ers
First-time All-Star center Joel Embiid (32.00 SUPERGLOOO score) is the straw that stirs the drink, making Robert Covington’s rise and Ben Smmons’ emergence that much easier. It is not every day the NBA comes across a 23 year old who averages 24 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 32 minutes per game.
With Blake Griffin (21.78 SUPERGLOOO score with the Clippers) joining two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond (22.72) in Detroit, the Pistons undoubtedly have the most athletic set of big in the NBA, not to mention more size and strength than any team in the East or West can handle.
13. Denver Nuggets
The NBA’s only point center, Nikola Jokic (25.75 SUPERGLOOO score), is the rare center to average 15-plus points (he averages 16), 10-plus rebounds (he averages 10) and 5-plus assists (he averages 5) for multiple seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens and DeMarcus Cousins on the list.
First-time All-Star Victor Oladipo will be the first to tell you that in order to put up SUPERGLOOO numbers (31.30) like Russell Westbrook, he had to first learn from Westbrook how to work, act and play like a Dream Teamer. Now the Pacers have their very own dynamo who can average 25 points per game.
Second-time All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo (35.93 SUPERGLOOO score) has entered the MVP realm where very few 23-year-old stars roam, carrying a 30.0 PER, +4.5 On rating and +14.7 On-Off rating. To get a full grasp on that type of productivity, compare those numbers to 23-year-old LeBron James (29.1, +2.4, +10.9).
10. Portland Trail Blazers
Two-time All-Star Damian Lillard (career-best 27.15 SUPERGLOOO score) has been snubbed the past two All-Star Games, but he was not going to let that happen a third time, after posting career-high efficiency numbers in true shooting percentage (.591) and free throw percentage (.915).
First-time All-Star point guard Goran Dragic got the All-Star nod, but center Hassan Whiteside (22.85 SUPERGLOOO) posted the better statistical numbers with a 24.8 PER, complemented with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks in 26 minutes per game.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
You would have to go to 14-time All-Star LeBron James’ rookie season to find negative On and On-Off numbers, which is the reason LeBron James’ SUPERGLOOO score was in major decline this season (from 35.48 to 26.55). That said, there still is plenty of time for a 33-year-old LeBron to right the ship, for himself and for Cleveland.
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
Four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler (32.05 SUPERGLOOO score) has been everything his old head coach Tom Thibodeau was hoping he would be. Butler has been a Godsend for first-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns (30.35), who is posting his finest On (+6.6) and On-Off (+12.6) numbers by far in his three seasons as a Timberwolf. Consequently, the T-Wolves are having their finest season since the last time they made the playoffs in the Kevin Garnett era, reaching the 2004 Western Conference Finals.
Though seven-time All-Star Russell Westbrook’s SUPERGLOOO numbers may be down (32.40) from his 2016-17 NBA MVP season (35.73), there is no denying he remains one of the game’s true superstars, despite what Mavs owner Mark Cuban says. Meanwhile, his longtime teammate, center Steven Adams’s SUPERGLOOO score (26.8) illustrates on of the reasons why OKC has a top-5 defense.
5. San Antonio Spurs
Six-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge (27.18 SUPERGLOOO score), who is averaging 22 points and 9 rebounds this season, has been the very same player the Spurs signed in Summer 2015, posting similar stellar metrics in San Antonio the last three seasons to what he did in Portland during five All-Star seasons there.
Thanks in part to improvements in three-point shooting—in both shots (he now shoots 3.2 per game, up from 1.7) and accuracy (he now makes 34 percent, up from 27 percent)—four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is posting career-best SUPERGLOOO numbers this season (26.05).
3. Boston Celtics
Look no further than the SUPERGLOOO metrics of five-time All-Stars Kyrie Irving (career-best 29.78) and Al Horford (near career-best 25.27) to see why Boston has been able to stay ranked atop the Eastern Conference standings despite the sidelining-injury to 2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward in October.
2. Houston Rockets
When you look at the SUPERGLOOO scores of 10-time All-Star Chris Paul (39.08), six-time All-Star James Harden (35.35) and Clint Capela (30.88), your takeaways are this: Paul, at age 32, is still at the top of his game; Harden, at age 28, indeed had no problems adjusting his game for CP3, and as a result, Houston is now a perennial power for years to come, as long as Paul signs long-term with the Rockets this summer; Capela, at age 23, not only should win the 2017-18 NBA Most Improved Player award, he should be a shoo-in for All-NBA second or third team, as well.
1. Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry’s 39.98 SUPERGLOOO score is so awesome—even better than his marvelous metrics from last season (37.58)—he easily tops nine-time All-Star Kevin Durant’s numbers from both this season (31.10) and last (37.43). Even though Curry has missed 14 games in 2017-18, the five-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA MVP has been more impactful (+15.1 On rating) and efficient (29.5 PER) than any player in the League, in my opinion.