How do we define worst? If we're talking talent, then the 11 Mavs are the clear choice with the 14 Spurs right behind them. They had 57 wins, tied with the '10 Lakers and the Cavs while the Raptors and 18 Warriors had only one more win. They weren't the top of the conference, same with the Raptors and the 18 Warriors. The Celtics had the worst post season record with 10 losses while the Raptors were the closest one with 8.
What if there was a tournament where each champion faced the others in 7 game series? Rules would be that each team would have the same health they did during their run. That means no Caron Butler for the Mavs.
Off the bat we can just say the KD Warriors handily beat most if not all the teams.
The Mavs would have interesting series against the Celtics, Cavs, and Raptors. Although they beat the Heat in their run, the next year's Heat were a different animal and I don't think the Mavs replicate those results.
The Heat sound like they would be the next most dominant team. None of the other teams have an answer for the changed Lebron and Bosh toughened up. Not sure how Bosh would fair against the poundings the Lakers would dish though, but I don't think he would have issues with most other front courts.
Moving onto the other Lebron team. This team probably has the most defensive liabilities in Irving and Love. Even though they beat the 73 win Warriors, I think a good amount of teams could dissect them.
The Spurs were a better offensive version of the Mavs. These guys could beat anyone outside of the KD Warriors.
Now for the most spirited topic, the Raptors. This was a really good defensive team but really needed Kawhi to give them that offensive push. They could beat the Mavs even with Dirk cooking. I think the size of the Lakers and Celtics would really bother them. Embiid by himself was an issue, imagine having to go against a team that started two big and a team that had triplet towers. The Raps could hang defensively against most teams, but they would lose control of most series with an offense that would spudder when the defensive screws tightened in the playoffs. A series against the Cavs may even be in the Raps favor. The series against the 15 Warriors may be a tossup with how the Raptors could guard the splash brothers. Weirdly they might matchup with the Heat decently since they have Kawhi, but I think the Heat take care of business.
The 10 Lakers are the one case where health is a big issue. Bynum was breaking down during their finals. He had to get frequent shots and knee drains. They imploded the next year to the Mavs and they were of course somewhat different by that time with all the circus. This Lakers could match up with the Cavs very well.
The Celtics would have tossups against the 09 Lakers and the Cavs. The Lakers did improve in their first win with the return of Bynum and the promotion of Ariza. It's a tougher series for the Celtics because there isn't a Radmonovic to abuse. The Cavs with maybe the best version of Lebron is tough for the Celtics. It was a close series against a shot deficit Lebron, but LeBron's early Cavs were defensive teams. Love could very well be punked.
The 15 Warriors are low key polarizing. The Warriors in general have been highly regarded, but this particular team has questions. They choked to the Cavs the next season and it stands to question whether they had the mental fortitude to win against these other championship teams. That Cavs lost really seemed like a storm of misfortune and I don't see it happening more often than not. Iggy is really the one piece that gives them strong chances against the teams with star wings.
So here's the tally:
Celtics - beat the 10 Lakers, Mavs, and Raptors. Tossups with the 09 Lakers and the Cavs.
09 Lakers - they beat the 10 Lakers, Mavs, and the Raptors. Tossups with the Celtics and Cavs.
10 Lakers - They beat the Raptors. Tossup with the Cavs and Mavs.
Mavs - Tossups with the 10 Lakers, Cavs, and the Raptors.
Heat - beats Celtics, Lakers, Mavs, Cavs. Tossup with the 15 Warriors.
Spurs - Beats all but KD Warriors.
15 Warriors - Beats the Mavs, Celtics, Lakers, Cavs, and Raptors. Tossup with the Heat.
Cavs - Tossup with the Celtics, Lakers, Mavs, and Raptors.
KD Warriors - moving on
Raptors - Tossup with the Mavs and Cavs.
In the end, the Raptors have the least favorable matchups by a hair to the Mavs.
With all these criteria combined, it really is the Mavs that are the "weakest", which is still silly to say kinda like how people clown the last pick of the all Star draft.
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