top of page
  • Writer's pictureBen Ballard

Exploring NBA Teams’ 2024 Statistical Improvements and Declines: Western Conference

In the NBA, a lot changes from one year to the next. Each season brings new players, coaches, and strategies. This post seeks to find how teams have changed from last year by digging into their respective statistical rankings. By sorting through teams rankings, we can find different play styles and stories that may not yet be identified by media and fans.


Let’s first take a look across all statistical rankings for Western Conference Teams. The graphic below shows statistical rankings for each team and their overall NBA ranking. A ranking of 1 or nearly 1 will appear green. Rankings near the bottom of the league appear more red. 2023–24 Western Conference Statistical Rankings by Team


Heat Map of Top NBA Teams by Statistical Category
NBA Western Conference Statistical Rankings

Team Statistical Category Changes from 2023–2024 Seasons Let’s compare each team’s statistical rankings vs last year. This will help us find major changes between which may not be getting coverage yet.

Most Extreme Ranking Increases Year-to-year many teams make major improvements. The metrics and table below highlight the ten largest increases in ranking in any statistical ranking across all teams. Below are examples of teams that went from the bottom to the top of the league in a statistical category.

  • The Houston Rockets have seen a major turn-around in a few categories, going second to last to currently first in ‘Turnovers Rank’ and making a similar increase of 26 places in ‘Blocks Against Rank.’

  • The Golden State Warriors have seen a massive change in ‘Personal Fouls Drawn Rank’ 25), ‘Free Throws Made Rank’ (24), and ‘Free Throws Attempted Rank’ (24).

  • The Phoenix Suns made major gains in ‘Free Throws Made Rank’ (24) and ‘Free Throws Attempted Rank’ (22). So they’re both getting to the line at a much higher rate and knocking them down.

  • The San Antonio Spurs also improved in ‘Blocks Against Rank’ (24).

  • The Dallas Mavericks made major progress in ‘Personal Fouls Rank’ (22).

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder have had a major improvement of 21 places in ‘Field Goal Percentage Rank.’

Top 10 Statistical Rank Increase (Improvements)

Table of the largest statistical ranking improvements
Ten Largest Statistical Improvements

Most Extreme Ranking Decreases Of course, teams can regress in statistical categories year-to-year. And some teams really regress as a team. Below are the ten most extreme statistical ranking drops from last year 2022–23 to this current year. These teams went from among the best last year to the worst this year.

  • The Houston Rockets have of number of the largest ranking drops. They have seen major drops in rankings for ‘Offensive Rebounds,’ (28) ‘Free Throws Attempted,’ (26) ‘Total Rebounds,’ (25) and ‘Personal Fouls Drawn.’ (24).

  • The Memphis Grizzlies dropped by 26 positions in ‘Field Goals Made Rank’ and importantly ‘Win Percentage’ dropped by 22 places… not good.

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder has seen a big drop in ‘Field Goals Attempted Rank’ and ‘Offensive Rebounds Rank.’ (-26)

  • The Sacramento Kings dropped 23 places in ‘Field Goals Made’ and 26 places in the ‘Points Scored.’


10 Biggest Ranking Decreases in Team Profiles in Ranking Changes

Table of Biggest Decreases in Statistical Rankings for NBA
Ten Biggest Drops in Stat Ranking

Team Profiles in Ranking Changes


Dallas Mavericks The Dallas Mavericks improved their rankings by an average of 1.59 points. They showed the most improvement in “Personal Fouls Rank,” climbing 22 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Free Throws Attempted Rank,” where they dropped by 8 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: 1.59

  • Biggest Improvement: 22 (Personal Fouls Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -8 (Free Throws Attempted Rank)


Graphic showing Dallas Mavericks Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Dallas Mavericks Stat Ranking Changes

Denver Nuggets The Denver Nuggets improved their rankings by an average of 2.45 points. They showed the most improvement in “Field Goals Attempted Rank,” climbing 20 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Personal Fouls Rank,” where they dropped by 17 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: 2.45

  • Biggest Improvement: 20 (Field Goals Attempted Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -17 (Personal Fouls Rank)

Graphic showing Denver Nuggets Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Denver Nuggets Statistical Ranking Changes

Golden State Warriors The Golden State Warriors improved their rankings by an average of 1.95 points. They showed the most improvement in “Personal Fouls Drawn Rank,” climbing 25 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Field Goal Percentage Rank,” where they dropped by 13 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: 1.95

  • Biggest Improvement: 25 (Personal Fouls Drawn Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -13 (Field Goal Percentage Rank)

Graphic showing Golden State Warriors Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Golden State Warriors Statistical Category Ranking Changes

Los Angeles Lakers The Los Angeles Lakers improved their rankings by an average of 1.23 points. They showed the most improvement in “Blocks Against Rank,” climbing 15 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Turnovers Rank,” where they dropped by 9 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: 1.23

  • Biggest Improvement: 15 (Blocks Against Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -9 (Turnovers Rank)

Graphic showing Los Angeles Lakers Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Los Angeles Laker Statistical Rankings Changes

Houston Rockets The Houston Rockets experienced an average ranking change of -2.86 points. They showed the most improvement in “Turnovers Rank,” climbing 28 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Offensive Rebounds Rank,” where they dropped by 28 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -2.86

  • Biggest Improvement: 28 (Turnovers Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -28 (Offensive Rebounds Rank)

Graphic showing Houston Rockets Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Houston Rockets Changes in Statistical Rankings

LA Clippers The LA Clippers improved their rankings by an average of 1.05 points. They showed the most improvement in “Steals Rank,” climbing 17 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Personal Fouls Rank,” where they dropped by 15 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: 1.05

  • Biggest Improvement: 17 (Steals Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -15 (Personal Fouls Rank)

Graphic showing LA Clippers Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
LA Clippers Changes in Statistical Rankings

New Orleans Pelicans The New Orleans Pelicans experienced an average ranking change of -2.64 points. They showed the most improvement in “Field Goals Made Rank,” climbing 13 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Free Throw Percentage Rank,” where they dropped by 14 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -2.64

  • Biggest Improvement: 13 (Field Goals Made Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -14 (Free Throw Percentage Rank)

Graphic showing New Orleans Pelicans Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
New Orleans Pelicans Changes in Statistical Rankings

Memphis Grizzlies The Memphis Grizzlies experienced an average ranking change of -11.14 points. They showed the most improvement in “Free Throw Percentage Rank,” climbing 9 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Field Goals Made Rank,” where they dropped by 26 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -11.14

  • Biggest Improvement: 9 (Free Throw Percentage Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -26 (Field Goals Made Rank)

Graphic showing Memphis Grizzlies Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Graphic showing Memphis Grizzlies Changes in Statistical Rankings

Minnesota Timberwolves The Minnesota Timberwolves improved their rankings by an average of -2.32 points. They showed the most improvement in “Plus-Minus Rank,” climbing 16 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Steals Rank,” where they dropped by 11 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -2.32

  • Biggest Improvement: 16 (Plus-Minus Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -11 (Steals Rank)

Graphic showing Minnesota Timberwolves Changes in Statistical Rankings from 2023-2024 seasons.
Minnesota Timberwolves Changes in Statistical Rankings

Oklahoma City Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunder had an average ranking change of -0.50 points. They showed the most improvement in “Field Goal Percentage Rank,” climbing 21 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Field Goals Attempted Rank,” where they dropped by 26 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -0.50

  • Biggest Improvement: 21 (Field Goal Percentage Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -26 (Field Goals Attempted Rank)

Oklahoma City Thunder Changes in Statistical Rankings 2023-2024
Oklahoma City Thunder Changes in Statistical Rankings

Phoenix Suns The Phoenix Suns improved their rankings by an average of -1.64 points. They showed the most improvement in “Free Throws Made Rank,” climbing 24 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Blocks Against Rank,” where they dropped by 17 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -1.64

  • Biggest Improvement: 24 (Free Throws Made Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -17 (Blocks Against Rank)

Graphic of Phoenix Suns Changes in Statistical Rankings 2023-24
Phoenix Suns Changes in Statistical Rankings

Portland Trailblazers The Portland Trail Blazers experienced an average ranking change of -6.23 points. They showed the most improvement in “Steals Rank,” climbing 17 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “3-Point Field Goals Made Rank,” where they dropped by 22 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -6.23

  • Biggest Improvement: 17 (Steals Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -22 (3-Point Field Goals Made Rank)

Portland Trailblazers Changes in Statistical Rankings Data Visualization
Portland Trailblazers Changes in Statistical Rankings

Sacramento Kings The Sacramento Kings had an average ranking change of -9.14 points. They showed the most improvement in “Blocks Against Rank,” climbing 7 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Points Scored Rank,” where they dropped by 26 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -9.14

  • Biggest Improvement: 7 (Blocks Against Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -26 (Points Scored Rank)

Sacramento Kings Changes in Statistical Rankings 2023-24 Graphic
Sacramento Kings Changes in Statistical Rankings

San Antonio Spurs The San Antonio Spurs improved their rankings by an average of -3.23 points. They showed the most improvement in “Blocks Against Rank,” climbing 24 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Offensive Rebounds Rank,” where they dropped by 13 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -3.23

  • Biggest Improvement: 24 (Blocks Against Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -13 (Offensive Rebounds Rank)

San Antonio Spurs Changes in Statistical Rankings Graphic
San Antonio Spurs Changes in Statistical Rankings

Utah Jazz The Utah Jazz had an average ranking change of -2.64 points. They showed the most improvement in “Free Throw Percentage Rank,” climbing 8 positions. Conversely, their largest decline was in “Points Scored Rank,” where they dropped by 13 places.

  • Average Ranking Change: -2.64

  • Biggest Improvement: 8 (Free Throw Percentage Rank)

  • Biggest Drop Off: -13 (Points Scored Rank)


Utah Jazz Changes in Statistical Rankings Graphic
Utah Jazz Changes in Statistical Rankings

NBA Statistical Improvements and worsening is a great way to find the stories below the surface. I hope you enjoyed this post.


In an earlier post, I showed how I used the NBA API and a CustomGPT I created to pull the data. I provided the code I used to create the Heatmaps there. Let me know what you thought about the piece. I also building NBAanalytics.com. https://medium.com/data-science-cowboy/using-heat-maps-with-seaborn-on-nba-data-b6f4897c2def

8 views0 comments
bottom of page