Which NBA Backcourt Added the Most Wins Last Season?

It's the most popular debate right now -- who has the best backcourt? But what do advanced statistics say?

Ever since Dion Waiters and John Wall have publicly sparred over which city holds the title of best backcourt, the media has begun to play along as well. Fans and writers alike have been very vocal about which backcourt is best, and what sort of criteria - whether offense or defense is more important - should be used to judge such a thing.

What if we used an advanced statistic like's win shares? It has flaws, sure, but it might be the best "how many wins did player X add to his team" statistic that we currently have. Other advanced stats, like PER, for example, are per minute statistics, and can thus be inflated or deflated depending on minutes. Win shares, however, are cumulative, which works for a game like this.

Since win shares are cumulative, players will obviously be dinged for missing games. Russell Westbrook had the same amount of win shares as Jeff Teague this season. This is not saying they are equivalent players. Rather, Teague and Westbrook added the same amount wins to their respective teams. Using context - the fact that Teague played more games - helps illuminate the statistic even more.

Without further ado, here's the table of backcourt rankings. It's not perfect, as I had to use judgement in some of them. Courtney Lee is listed as the guard along with Mike Conley for the Grizzlies, although you probably will say that Tony Allen should be a part of the backcourt. However, Lee played more minutes at that spot than Allen did this year, so I gave him the nod. You'll see similar decisions with guys like Victor Oladipo, JJ Redick, Eric Bledsoe, and Patrick Beverley.

RankTeamPGSGCombined WS
1RaptorsKyle LowryDeMar DeRozan20.5
2WarriorsStephen CurryKlay Thompson20.1
3Trail BlazersDamian LillardWesley Matthews17.8
4ClippersChris PaulJamal Crawford17.5
5RocketsJeremy LinJames Harden17.2
6SunsGoran DragicGerald Green16.4
7PacersGeorge HillLance Stephenson15.2
8WizardsJohn WallBradley Beal11.9
8GrizzliesMike ConleyCourtney Lee11.9
10TimberwolvesRicky RubioKevin Martin11.2
10MavericksJose CalderonMonta Ellis11.2
12HawksJeff TeagueKyle Korver11.1
13BullsKirk HinrichJimmy Butler10.9
13NuggetsTy LawsonRandy Foye10.9
15NetsDeron WilliamsJoe Johnson10.3
15HeatMario ChalmersDwyane Wade10.3
17ThunderRussell WestbrookReggie Jackson10.1
17SpursTony ParkerDanny Green10.1
19HornetsKemba WalkerGerald Henderson8.7
20KingsIsaiah ThomasBen McLemore8.5
21CavaliersKyrie IrvingDion Waiters8.3
22MagicJameer NelsonArron Afflalo8.1
23PistonsBrandon JenningsRodney Stuckey6.1
24LakersKendall MarshallJodie Meeks5.4
25PelicansBrian RobertsEric Gordon4.7
26KnicksRaymond FeltonIman Shumpert4.2
26CelticsAvery BradleyJordan Crawford4.2
28BucksBrandon KnightGiannis Antetokounmpo4.0
29JazzTrey BurkeRichard Jefferson3.6
3076ersMichael Carter-WilliamsJames Anderson3.2

It may be a bit surprising to the casual fan to find the Toronto Raptors duo atop these rankings, but they are indeed a formidable backcourt. In fact, they might be the best defensive duo in this group, unless you want to switch out Courtney Lee for Tony Allen and count the Grizz.

The Thunder are down at number 17, but that's pretty much because of Russell Westbrook missing extended time last season. If he had been his usual self, they would've slotted in about the six or seven range.

It's amazing that the Suns backcourt of Goran Dragic and Gerald Green were able to have so much production last season. If you had told any basketball analyst prior to the season that Eric Bledsoe would be out a significant chunk of the year, but Dragic and Green would still be the sixth-best backcourt, they would have thought you were crazy.

And regarding our confident friends in Cleveland -- well, they still have some work to do if they want to be considered one of the best. Irving and Waiters only combined for 8.3 win shares, which was several wins below their Washington counterparts. Perhaps the addition of LeBron James and Kevin Love, however, will raise everyone's game in Cleveland and they can get into the top-10. Until then, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan sit as kings.