Projecting the five best NBA lineups for the 2023-24 season

The best teams usually have the best five-man lineups, but not always. These are the five NBA teams who project to have the best five-man units this season.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers / Harry How/GettyImages
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3. Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney

If it ain’t broke, don't fix it. The Warriors’ lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Kevon Looney was the best five-man lineup by net rating to play over 100 minutes last season. In 331 minutes, they produced a plus-23.6 net rating,132.1 offensive rating, and 108.5 defensive rating. In most cases, a 46.8 percent 3-point shooting mark is ripe for regression, and it is, but with Curry and Thompson on the court, converting 40 percent of your triples is realistically in play. 

As long as the Warriors' championship core remains intact, it gives them a fighting chance in every game. While fans will dream of lineups with Chris Paul instead of Looney, it’s unlikely those lineup combinations will be as effective. Paul plays at a methodical pace and needs the ball to be effective, but the Warriors' offense is at its best when it’s flying around Curry’s non-stop chaos-inducing movement or the ball is in his hands. Paul doesn’t accentuate those principles, and the best use of his talents is to help stabilize their bench units. Looney isn’t a sexy player, but he does all the dirty little things that make teams tick. 

The only reason the Warriors don’t rank higher is the reality that time is undefeated. No matter what you’re told, Curry, Green, and Thompson are in decline. They’re still great players, but they’ve all shown steady decline from their peaks. Another concern is the Warriors' incredible reliance on Draymond Green to anchor their defense. While Curry’s game-breaking offense has been the storytelling focal point of the Warriors’ dynasty, their defense has been just as good. If Green starts to slip or simply starts conserving more energy, it’ll show up in their defensive rating. The Warriors aren’t done yet, but this is probably their last best chance to add title number five with this core.