NBA standings based on net rating: Lakers are concerningly low

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Lakers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The 2023-24 NBA season is one quarter of the way in the books and the hierarchy of the league is starting to take shape. The NBA standings are not engrained in concrete, but fans are starting to get an idea of who is legitimate and who is not.

A team's win-loss record does not tell the entire story, though. Some teams have had to deal with injuries and bad scheduling early on in the season. The Los Angeles Lakers have had to deal with both as several rotation players have been hurt while the Lakers have trekked through a gauntlet of a schedule.

Sometimes we have to dive deeper than win-loss record to see how good a team has played this season. One stat that does a good job blanketing a team's performance is net rating, which can further shape the hierarchy of the league. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, the team doesn't look great in terms of net rating.

NBA standings based on net rating:

For those who are unfamiliar, net rating is a combination of a team's offensive rating and defensive rating. This measures a team's point differential per every 100 possessions. Anything in the plus is considered good, anything in the negative is considered bad.

Western Conference:

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder: +8.3
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: +7.0
  3. Denver Nuggets +4.2
  4. Los Angeles Clippers: +3.3
  5. Phoenix Suns: +2.9
  6. Houston Rockets: +2.9
  7. New Orleans Pelicans: +0.8
  8. Golden State Warriors: +0.4
  9. Dallas Mavericks: +0.2
  10. Sacramento Kings: -0.2
  11. Los Angeles Lakers: -1.0
  12. Memphis Grizzlies: -6.0
  13. Utah Jazz: -6.4
  14. Portland Trail Blazers: -6.8
  15. San Antonio Spurs: -12.0

Seeing the Lakers with the 11th-best net rating is somewhat concerning for fans but there are multiple things to consider. This Lakers team has had to play some of the best teams in the league and has done so without most of the rotation and still has a winning record.

Plus, the team's 44-point loss to the 76ers probably skews this number a tad. The Lakers are right in the same ballpark as the teams ahead of them. One solid three-game stretch and they could jump all the way to seventh.

Eastern Conference:

  1. Boston Celtics: +9.4
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: +7.0
  3. New York Knicks: +5.7
  4. Orlando Magic: +4.3
  5. Milwaukee Bucks: +2.9
  6. Brooklyn Nets: +2.8
  7. Indiana Pacers: +2.7
  8. Miami Heat: +1.1
  9. Atlanta Hawks: +0.4
  10. Cleveland Cavaliers: -0.4
  11. Toronto Raptors: -1.4
  12. Chicago Bulls: -5.6
  13. Washington Wizards: -8.1
  14. Charlotte Hornets: -8.3
  15. Detroit Pistons: -8.9

Just like in the Western Conference, there is a big divide between the 11th-ranked team and the 12th-ranked team as the net rating drops 4.2 points. That is the difference between the fringe teams competing for a play-in spot and the teams who will compete for the first overall pick.

It is a bit surprising to see the Bucks as low as they are considering they are the three seed and have one of the most talented duos in the sport. But that is what happens when a team can't defend and that could catch up to the Bucks in May.

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