Bench the Bench: Finding the NBA's Best Starting Five

Wes WardContributor IMarch 12, 2008

What would happen if each team in the NBA could only play their starting five?

See where your team ranks on the list of the Best Starting Fives in the NBA.

Each unit is ranked according to how well they perform as a unit (based on highly effective analyses...and my opinions). This is not an analysis of the team as a whole or of the talent of the individual players, but of the ability and chemistry the players have with one another.

30. Miami Heat (11-51)

Heat fans had to deal with Dwyane Wade's departure soon after Shaq's, and Shawn Marion's numbers have dipped a bit since the trade.

29. Seattle Sonics (16-48)

Sonics depend on rookie Kevin Durant for offense and lack consistency in pretty much everything they do on the court.

28. Memphis Grizzlies (15-48) 

Mike Miller is the vet holding this team together, but he has been the focus of several trade talks for quite some time.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (14-49)

Al Jefferson is becoming a proven threat down low, and he has some developing young talent supporting him.

26. New York Knicks (18-46)

Could easily be lower or higher. The chemistry is just awful here. It seems as though Jamal Crawford, Quentin Richardson and Zach Randolph could do more.

25. Indiana Pacers (25-39)

Defensively, this unit is lacking quite a bit. And the offense needs someone the run it.

24. L.A. Clippers (21-41)

Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette have been unsuccessful in stepping up their game in the absence of Elton Brand. However, multiple perimeter threats make them dangerous.

23. Milwuakee Bucks (23-41)

Michael Redd struggles every night to carry his team. Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva have made little progress from their rookie seasons to enhance this team.

22. Charlotte Bobcats (24-39)

Jason Richardson should have stayed in Oakland, but he continues to play well alongside Gerald Wallace. Emeka Okafor is turning out to be a monster on the boards.

21. Chicago Bulls (26-38)

The Bulls have disappointed this year, and throwing Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden into the rotation this late has not helped their chemistry issues.

20. New Jersey Nets (26-38)

Rookie Sean Williams and Devin Harris are struggling to make adjustments after Jason Kidd's departure. Guard Vince Carter looks ready to move on. The Nets need to start thinking about rebuilding.

19. Sacramento Kings (28-35)

Kevin Martin has turned into a premier scorer in the league, and Ron Artest and Brad Miller make a decent core. Also, Beno Udrih has continued to improve throughout the season, boosting the Kings.

18. Atlanta Hawks (26-37)

Mike Bibby's addition has been greatly appreciated in Atlanta. The young talents, Josh Smith and Al Horford, not to mention Joe Johnson, are all feeling relief with a veteran at point guard.

17. Philadelphia 76ers (30-34)

Andre Miller has been Philadelphia's backbone all season. And even before Miller, Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert had played well together for multiple years. Willie Green has also been very consistent this year, starting in every game.

16. Portland Trail Blazers (34-31)

Brandon Roy had this bunch fired up earlier in the season, but it seems like old habits never die. Youth and inexperience are starting to get the best of them, especially in such a tight Western Conference.

15 Washington Wizards (31-32)

The Wiz have somehow managed to stay in the playoff hunt without Caron Butler or Gilbert Arenas thanks to the elevated play Antawn Jamison and Antonio Daniels. Brendan Haywood has also been able to step up this year, posting the best numbers of his career.

14. Toronto Raptors (34-29)

Bosh, Bosh, and more Bosh. The Raptors have plenty of young capable talent in Jamario Moon, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, but they would be nowhere without their All-Star.

13. Orlando Magic (41-24)

Dwight Howard is an absolute beast. If he had more consistent play around him, the Magic would be a larger threat. That is not to say that they are not a threat now; Hedo Turkoglu is having his best season yet and Rashard Lewis is always a deep threat. But if the rest could step it up, Orlando would soar.

12. Denver Nuggets (37-26)

Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony can beat any team by themselves. With the help of the three other guys, Marcus Camby, Kenyon Martin and Anthony Carter, they should be unstoppable.  The only problem? They haven't been.

11. Cleveland Cavaliers (37-27)

LeBron James is the MVP (along with 2 others) but his team must step up to match his level of play. He can beat five Knicks single-handedly, but can he beat five Spurs? Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas add defensive and offensive help, respectively, but Delonte West is probably is not the man LeBron hoped would be at the point after the trade deadline.

Look for the Top 10 tomorrow.