A generational genius in Dallas and endless drama in Los Angeles ensure top-10 finishes for the Mavericks and Lakers in this year's League Pass Rankings. Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
3:00 PM AST

We have the top 10 in our league pass rankings. You can read about the rankings formula when we revealed No. 30-11 on Tuesday.


This person is a soul-snatcher.

The person who knows he has you smiles. The Mavs' offense is a one-dimensional one, but it has many dimensions. Doncic can do the spread pick-and-roll with any of the Dallas bigs. He can make all the passes blindfolded

Doncic's size and comfort in the middle of the paint allow for many possibilities. He drags small defenders into pick-and-rolls. He mashed them in the post with a smirk. In the playoffs, he brutalized Patrick Beverley. He will pick you apart if you send help.

Doncic is a three-step-ahead genius even against defenders. Over the past two seasons, his step-back is borderline unblockable, and he has hit 50% from the floater range.

Doncic's passing is unlocked by the threats of those shots. He understands how defenders use up-fakes, pivots, and half-spin freaks to make them think they should swarm. He began to throw backwards overhead passes to pick-and-pop bigs. They need to be ready at all times.

I like this piece of Mavs art the most.

The navy is singing against the whitewashed floor.

Josh Green will look at the rim. The Mavs have a top 10 defense. Will Theo Pinson violate the decorum rule?


The idea of the Lakers was more intriguing than the experience.

The Lakers were boring because they were disorganized and disorganized. There isn't much reason to think the product will be different than it is now. L.A.'s watchability could be boosted by starting Anthony Davis at center, according toarvin ham. It's not possible to play a traditional center like Thomas Bryant or Damian Jones with decent range like Anthony Davis. Don't sleep on the death of Jones.

They got this high because of their art and comedy. Is there really a friendship between Beverly and Westbrook? Really? Is the tension boiling over? Last season, when the Kings blared "Cold as Ice!" on every jumper and layup, we reached the point where comedy can become pathos.

If the Lakers are toast, will James engage in lip service? Before the trade deadline last year, James was so angry that he realized the team was dead. It was quite fascinating.

The jerseys the team wore in their first game were replicas of the white ones. They have fake belt loops. It's always good to have powder blue.

He is going to careen into 1-on-4 attacks that will make James angry. Stand up!


The Wolves were first in pace and second in scoring efficiency after the new year. AnthonyEdwards is a three-level scorer as his confidence soars on pull-up and step-backs.

The bigger the better. He thinks he can dunk people at the rim, and they will fall under him.

Chris Finch, one of the league's keenest offensive tinkerers, has to figure out how to mesh Karl- Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in an unusual double-center look, given the Wolves traded everything short of the old Metrodome baggie for Gobert.

Finch will have a lot of creativity on defense. On some nights, the Wolves might move Towns to the center so he can be a shot-blocker. We might see some of last season's defensive changes.

Kyle Anderson uses his slowness to his advantage, as defenders try to slow him down. Some of the league's cleanest live-ibble steals were snatched by him. Jaden McDaniels is Minnesota's swing factor. Jaylen Nowell jacks and plays with a gun. If D'Angelo Russell is pulled for Jordan McLaughlin again, how will he react?

The Wolves wore a new jersey with a lot of green.

The "M" and "V" were given a standing ovation.

Towns has an average of 19 points, 12 rebound, 2 assists, 3.5 turnovers, and many silly fouls in the playoffs. He has three single-digit scoring games and a dud in the play-in. Time is running out.

7. Milwaukee Bucks (35.5)

One-of-one is the name of the player. Each season he gets more floaters, more screening in the pick-and-roll and snappier passing. He gives highlights that are both ridiculous and violent. The rudest act in the sport is when Antetokounmpo rises from under the rim, off two feet, and crams on someone's head.

He spoke about the importance of will over skill. There was a time when it was fashionable to compare Antetokounmpo and Simmons. If the 76ers surrounded Simmons with shooters, what would he do?

The comparison failed the smell test before Antetokounmpo cracked the top five. Antetokounmpo was larger and faster. He was a tough guy. Simmons' struggles at the line turned into something of a fear and Antetokounmpo kept coming. It's will.

The half-court offense of the Bucks was dead last in points per possession in the playoffs. That raised alarm even with Khris out. I think the Bucks will experiment with new looks on defense and use anti-switch devices on offense.

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George Hill, Jevon Carter, Joe Ingles, Jordan Nwora, and Serge Ibaka are playoff players. Critical depth issues could be faced if the answer is no. We don't know how much Antetokounmpo will be at center.

When an opposing player annoys Jrue Holiday, they draw out Holiday's defense as punishment. It's a nightmare.

A five-time All-Star, a supporting role in "White Men Can't Jump," and one of the best analysts in any sport, is what Marques Johnson is today. It's not right.

6. Boston Celtics (36.5)

Boston's stars have different styles, but they don't always fit together. Holy hell, the defense. They're huge, mean, smart and they have to bet on who takes the most charges.

They are also unconventional. Robert Williams III was freed as a free safety when the Celtics shifted him onto wings.

Time Lord was willing to accept shots. They were destroyed by him. He spiked some before the shooting started. He smashed against the backboard with such force that you almost expected them to die. Boston allowed more points per 100 possessions than the league's second-ranked defense.

The Celtics became one of the greatest defenses of all time, even as smart opponents began exploring counters to Boston's scheme, using more false actions. Now that opponents have had time to study, expect more of that cat and mouse game.

Boston was able to find its way on offense. The three of them cooperated in more two-man actions that forced the other two to exploit them. There is a perfect contrast between Brown's straight-line power and Tatum's liquid grace. White made quick decisions.

The Celtics' green uniforms are the best in sports, and they improved their historic court by removing the white circle from under the leprechaun.

There is a tribute to Bill Russell that is very nice.

Grant Williams doesn't stop. They are tremendous. Boston is under a lot of pressure with a coach thrust into the spotlight. What is the topic of the film? The players respond.


If you are good and watchable, you can rise here.

I don't care if these guys don't make a shot. I want to see Zion Williamson pinballing to the rim, bodies flying everywhere after making contact with him. He gets from the 3-point line to the rim in less than a second, out of every action: pick-and-rolls as screener or ball handler, or post-ups in which he plows through smaller opponents like wider James Worthy. The players have played at ridiculous speeds.

The roster isn't built for it, but please, Willie Green, give us something at center.

Second jumps are not worth the time. He has the league's fastest jumps. The fools who box out Valanciunas are a disgrace. It's a good idea to put them in the cold tub.

At any time, a defender could be put on his butt. He connects complex dribbles with floaters with either hand. Brandon's arsenal is almost the same as his simpler one.

On Wednesday, October 19th.

Knicks vs. Grizzlies, 7:30 p.m.

Mavericks vs Suns, 10 p.m.

The day of Friday, October 21.

The Celtics are playing the Heat at 7:30pm.

Nuggets vs Warriors, 10 p.m.

It's all times Eastern.

Larry Nance Jr. is a big man who plays a lot of crunch time center. Herbert Jones' arms actually typed this column from New Orleans, instead of shooting 3s, should he just reach all the way from the arcs and put the ball in?

Jose Alvarado's backcourt steals are amazing. Even when he's not in the game, he'll have ball handler looking over their shoulder. Keyser Soze is his name.

The pelicans are in need of new art. There are players on the bench. Dyson Daniels is hoping to win the race.


Jokic is the most inventive passer in basketball history. He dares passes everyone else who is scared to try, slips to cutters where the passing window is no bigger than the basketball itself.

Jokic imagines passes that nobody else will see. He added dunks and tornado baseline spins as he got in better shape.

Jokic needs to find the right balance of defensive schemes. The Nuggets need everything in place for the playoffs, this is the biggest season they have had.

Jokic has a partner in crime. Murray's role in the two men's destruction has been under appreciated. He is an ace pull up shooter with a knack for pocket passes that lead Jokic into open space.

The give-and-go partnership is the prettiest in the league. Murray ran away from handoffs and Jokic lofted him.

They also make routine pick-and-rolls into give-and-gos.

That is a great work of art. Denver is an alternative to 3s-and-dunks spread-pick-and-roll hegemony. Murray's celebration is cool.

It's possible that Michael Porter Jr. is the X factor of the season. Is he going to accept third banana status? The starting five are locked into place. Bruce Brown gives Denver flexibility when it comes to lineups. Jeff Green posters people once every 10 games.

Do you worry about the bench offense? That's not the case with Bones Hyland.


Ja Morant is a star. The highlight of last season was when he jumped over and through the other player.

From the beginning, Morant's swagger set the tone. The puffed-chest arrogance of the Grizzlies is real. They don't think of themselves as the little guy. They don't like trash-talking. They think they are a giant now.

Morant was good at chasing points, dominating the ball, and hunting the spectacular. He uses the attention he draws to create shots for his teammates, instead of empowering them. Morant is a smart cutter who is willing to cut as a decoy. He slows down in transition.

Everyone is going chest to chest with each other as Memphis defends with ferocious force. The Grizz ran at the league's second-fastest pace. Look away from the machine.

Ray Allen has a high level of precision in his jumpers. Steven Adams carried Tony Bradley away from a fight as if he were going to take him to Suplex City. It's a legend.

The young guys will get a chance to fill in. The opposing commentator expresses shock at John Konchar's jumping ability.

Can you tell the difference between last season's court and this one?

To their new car?

The baseline had a silver-blue racing stripe.


Draymond Green providing a new, unfortunate reason to tune in to Golden State's basketball symphony was the reason the Warriors came so close to regaining their top spot.

Green may have been going through personal issues losing control and punching his foil. It became more so because of the deep human and literary arcs one could project onto it.

The last year of Green's contract may be his last chance to build a dynasty. Jordan Poole is a keystone in extending the dynasty beyond Green's NBA career. When this all started a decade ago, Green was the low draft pick who was trash talking his elders and refusing to show respect. That is what Green is related to now.

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There is no way to win a title. Tension will linger over what happened last week. What will happen to it? What time will it last?

There is a chance that Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry will finish their careers together as the Warriors. It is supposed to be that way. Understanding one another's tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses so deep is the reason we follow sports. Every simple action between them has a dozen counter, and they choose them in the moment, in step, always connected.

If you share tens of thousands of reps at the highest level, the bond of winks and nod can be formed. It is beautiful to look at.

Iguodala gets another chance at a swan song because he's part of their fabric. There is an army of lottery picks. Golden State's chances of repeating will be determined by whether they are ready. You can't see what's happening until Jonathan Kuminga is at the rim.

The Golden State Warriors are a top five art team. Curry, Green, and Thompson will be wearing captain "Cs" on their jerseys.

The new alternates are pleasant.

The Warriors are dressed in bright colors. The clean navy look is very similar to the University of California, Berkeley's color scheme. The shorts echo the team's theme of bridge wiring.


If the light-hearted categories lift them higher than they deserve, I can reduce the Nets score. The Nets three-peat as League Pass champion has really worked out for them in the Kevin Durant -Kyrie Irving era.

The entire era could be destroyed in 30 games. Irving is a basketball player who does not play basketball. Ben Simmons flinched at the threat of contact and held a missed free throw contest. In the playoffs, Claaxton is 6-of-26 from the line. At which point theBarclays Center may as well collapse into a hole because of all that, Kevin Durant renewing his trade request.

The downside is severe. The Nets are run-of-the-mill good but not strong enough to lift their spirits.

Disaster movies are great for the journey to either of those places. Simmons hasn't played a real game in 16 months and there is a lot of interest in his moves. Two flashbulb attractions are included in the functional downside scenario.

Irving is a magician with a bottomless bag of soft floaters and twisting layups. Your breath is taken by his lefty runner. Irving was the one who made the Nets run in transition.

One of the dozen greatest players of all time, and perhaps the most well-rounded offensive force in the game's history, is Kevin Durant. He is an elite at almost all offenses. He can do whatever he wants at any time. It may not be the classical beauty of his game that draws you in. The sheer invincibility of it, the way it exercises total control over everything, is what really hits you in the gut.

That is the downside. The melodramatic can make you forget. It's possible that they are happy. There is a chance that they could be redeemed. Simmons could be unstoppable on offense, as he could be tapped into his inner Draymond Green. There is joy in watching a team sink its teeth into a challenge, because they will take risks and innovate to survive.

The broadcast is as good as it gets, and the art is solid, including this alternate court that matches the ABA-era stars-and-stripes uniforms the Nets are bringing back.

The painted areas are different colors and work here.

You have to watch this team.