Posted Dec 2 2011 12:24PM
To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.
The 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers did their best (worst, actually) to prove just how much of an MVP that LeBron James was, winning just 19 games in the wake of James' departure for South Beach. Along the way, the Cavs set an NBA record with 26 consecutive losses between Dec. 20 and Feb. 9.
The Cavs are now hoping that some lottery luck will accelerate their rebuilding process. They'll add two of the four top picks from the 2011 Draft to a group of pricey veterans and questionable role players.
Pace: 95.7 (10)
Offense: 99.5 (29)
Defense: 109.1 (29)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
Short on talent, it's understandable that the Cavs struggled offensively. Their roster was built around James and lacked any sort of offensive focal point once he was gone.
But there's not much of an excuse for the Cavs being as terrible defensively as they were offensively last season, even though they lost a guy who's been the All-Defensive Team for each of the last three years. The Cavs' defense allowed 7.6 points per 100 possessions more than they did in 2009-10, easily the biggest regression in the league.
An ankle injury ended the season of renowned defender Anderson Varejao in January, but the Cavs were still a pretty bad defensive team (allowing 107 points per 100 possessions) in Varejao's 994 minutes.
With major regression on both ends of the floor, Cleveland became the first team in six years to finish in the bottom two of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
|Teams that have finished in the bottom two, both offensively and defensively, last 20 seasons|
So yeah, it wasn't a good year for Byron Scott, who took over as Cavs coach last summer and lost three times as many games as his predecessor Mike Brown did in his final season in Cleveland. But Scott has a history of recovering well from a rough first season in an NBA city.
Scott's first coaching job was in New Jersey, where he went 26-56 in his first season. But then the Nets acquired Jason Kidd and went to The Finals the next two seasons.
In Scott's first year in New Orleans, the Hornets went 18-64. Then they drafted Chris Paul, improved 20 games, and eventually reached the Western Conference semifinals in Scott's fourth season as coach.
Have a terrible first year. Acquire a star point guard. Make a vast improvement.
That's a pattern that Scott and the Cavs would love to repeat once more, with Kyrie Irving in the role of star point guard.
Irving is obviously the point guard of the Cavs' future, but they still have Baron Davis under contract for more than $28 million over the next two seasons. Even if the Cavs choose not to use the amnesty clause on Davis, the veteran will likely take a backseat to the rookie.
But the Cavs were actually a pretty good offensive team with Davis on the floor at the end of last season, though he played less than 400 minutes with his new team.
|Cavs' post-trade efficiency|
In his 380 minutes, Davis scored or assisted on 167 of the Cavs' 287 field goals. It's a small sample size, but that rate of 58.2 percent was greater than Chris Paul had with the Hornets (55.0 percent) last season.
Twenty-five of Davis' assists went to J.J. Hickson, who was the Cav who logged the most minutes (268) with their new point guard. Davis and Hickson proved to be a pretty potent offensive combo, with the Cavs scoring 111 points per 100 possessions in those 268 minutes they spent on the floor together.
|Highest on-court offensive efficiency, Cavs' two-man combinations|
|Minimum 250 minutes|
But on the last day before the lockout, the Cavs sent Hickson to Sacramento in exchange for Omri Casspi and a lottery-protected pick. Hickson was a defensive liability and his departure makes room for No. 4 pick Tristan Thompson in the rotation, while Casspi might fill the void at the three left by Anthony Parker, who is an unrestricted free agent.
After a solid rookie year, Casspi regressed in almost every offensive category last season. But among players who attempted at least 75 corner 3-pointers, Casspi ranked sixth in percentage.
|Highest percentage on corner 3-pointers|
|Minimum 75 attempts|
That helped make up for his 28 percent shooting from mid-range, which was worst among those who attempted at least 100 shots from outside the paint and inside the arc.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.
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