2021-22 Kia Season Preview

1 key stat for all 30 teams this season

Get ready for the start of the 2021-22 NBA season with 1 key stat to know for each team.

From NBA.com Staff

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic will continue to be the fulcrum of their team’s offense.

NBA.com senior advanced stats writer John Schuhmann sets the stage for the 2021-22 NBA season with one key stat to know for each team.

> Complete 2021-22 NBA Season Preview


Atlanta Hawks

160 — Trae Young has led the league in assists on dunks in each of his three seasons in the league, registering 160 (34 more than any other player) last season. He was the only player with at least 125 total assists to multiple teammates: 141 to John Collins and 136 to Clint Capela.

• Hawks Season Preview 

Boston Celtics

44-15 — Over the last two seasons, the Celtics are 40-45 (0.471) in games that were within five points in the last five minutes and 44-15 (0.746) otherwise. That’s the league’s biggest such differential.

Celtics Season Preview

Brooklyn Nets

+23.1 — In the first round of the playoffs, the Nets outscored the Boston Celtics by 23.1 points per 100 possessions in 130 minutes with James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant all on the floor, scoring 136.9 per 100. The trio played just 43 seconds together in the conference semifinals, with Harden re-injuring his hamstring on their first offensive possession and Irving spraining his ankle in the second quarter of Game 4.

Nets Season Preview

Charlotte Hornets

47.4% — Terry Rozier has shot 46-for-97 (47.4%) on clutch 3s in his career, the best mark (by a healthy margin) for any player with as many attempts in the 25 years for which we have clutch data. He’s ranked second in clutch 3-point percentage (minimum 25 attempts) in each of the last two seasons, shooting 15-for-33 (45.5%) in 2019-20 and 14-for-31 (45.2%) in 2020-21.

Hornets Season Preview

Chicago Bulls

50/40 — Zach LaVine (57.1%, 41.9%) was one of six players who shot 50% or better on at least 500 2-point attempts and 40% or better on at least 250 3-point attempts last season. Nikola Vucevic (39.9% from 3) was one 3-point make from being the seventh.

Bulls Season Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers

1 — The Cavs were the only team that ranked in the bottom five in field goal percentage in the paint (53.4%, 27th), mid-range field goal percentage (37.2%, 27th), and 3-point percentage (33.6%, 30th) last season.

Cavaliers Season Preview

Dallas Mavericks

12.1 — In the regular season, Luka Doncic led the league in time of possession at 8.9 minutes per game. He averaged 12.1 minutes of possession in the playoffs.

Mavericks Season Preview

Denver Nuggets

16.8 — The Nuggets scored 16.8 more points per 100 possessions with Nikola Jokic on the floor (120.2) than they did with him off the floor (103.4). That was the biggest on-off differential for offensive efficiency (by a wide margin) among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.

Nuggets Season Preview

Detroit Pistons

+10.1% — Jerami Grant saw the biggest jump in usage rate – from 17.7% in 2019-20 to 27.8% last season – among 280 players who played at least 500 minutes in each of the last two seasons. He saw the fifth biggest drop in effective field goal percentage (from 55.5% to 49.1%) among 183 players with at least 300 field goal attempts in each season.

Pistons Season Preview

Golden State Warriors

194 — Draymond Green had 194 assists to Stephen Curry last season, 51 more than any other player had to a single teammate. Green himself averaged just 8.1 field goal attempts per 100 touches, fewest among 325 players with at least 1,000 touches. Juan Toscano-Anderson (9.2) and Kevon Looney (10.9) averaged the second and fourth fewest, respectively.

Warriors Season Preview

Houston Rockets

+7.1%, +32 — The Rockets saw the league’s biggest jump in assist percentage (AST/FGM) from 2019-20 (53.0%, 29th) to last season (60.1%, 16th). They also saw the biggest jump in total ball movement, from 296 passes per 24 minutes of possession (29th) to 328 (20th).

Rockets Season Preview

Indiana Pacers

53.8 — Last season, the Pacers allowed 53.8 points in the paint per game, the highest opponent mark for any team in the 25 years for which points in the paint have been tracked.

Pacers Season Preview

LA Clippers

12.3 — In the regular season, the Clippers were 12.3 points per 100 possessions better with Kawhi Leonard on the floor (+12.2) than they were with him off the floor (-0.1). That was the third biggest differential among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team. In the playoffs, the Clippers were better with Leonard off the floor (+5.8) than they were with him on the floor (+3.3) and outscored their opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions in Paul George’s 414 minutes on the floor without Leonard.

Clippers Season Preview

Los Angeles Lakers

47.7% — Russell Westbrook assisted on 47.7% of his teammates’ buckets while he was on the floor, the highest rate among 345 players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game last season. LeBron James (39.4%) and Rajon Rondo (37.5%) had the sixth and eighth highest rates, respectively.

Lakers Season Preview

Memphis Grizzlies

23.3 — The Grizzlies ranked first in the percentage of their shots that came in the paint (56%), but just 25th in free throw rate (23.2 attempts per 100 shots from the field) last season.

Grizzlies Season Preview

Miami Heat

11.1 — The Heat were 11.1 points per 100 possessions better with Jimmy Butler on the floor (+5.2) than they were with him off the floor (-5.9). That was the sixth biggest differential among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team. Butler was one of two players – Rudy Gobert was the other – who played at least 1,000 minutes, with on-off differential of five points per 100 possessions on both ends of the floor. Miami ranked 22nd (worst among playoff teams) in aggregate bench point differential per 100 possessions (-1.4).

Heat Season Preview

Milwaukee Bucks

60% — Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player to have averaged at least 25 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 60% or better in each of the last three seasons.

Bucks Season Preview

Minnesota Timberwolves

+9.7%, +11.2 — Among 197 players with at least 150 field goal attempts both before and after the All-Star break last season, Anthony Edwards saw the fourth biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (43.4% before the break, 53.0% after), along with the 11th biggest jump in free throw rate (16.2 attempts per 100 shots from the field before the break, 27.4 after it).

Timberwolves Season Preview

New Orleans Pelicans

20.3 — Zion Williamson’s 20.3 points in the paint per game last season were the highest average for any player in the last 21 years (since Shaquille O’Neal averaged 22.5 in 1999-00). Williamson’s 22.0 points in the paint per 36 minutes were the most for any player in the 25 years for which points in the paint have been tracked, with his 21.7 per 36 as a rookie being the second most.

Pelicans Season Preview

New York Knicks

1 — The Knicks were the only team that ranked in the top 10 in 3-point percentage (39.2%, third), but in the bottom 10 in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (34.7%, 24th). They led the league in clutch 3-point percentage, shooting 40-for-95 (42.1%) from beyond the arc with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Knicks Season Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder

1.12 — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the league with 25.2 drives per game, 4.4 more than any other player has averaged in the eight seasons of player tracking. He scored 1.12 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, the third best mark for a player with at least 300 ball-handler possessions in the 17 years of Synergy play-type tracking.

Thunder Season Preview

Orlando Magic

17 — Chuma Okeke ranked third among rookies in both deflections per 36 minutes (3.1) and was the first rookie in the last 17 years to play at least 1,000 minutes with as many (or more) steals (48) as personal fouls (48).

Magic Season Preview

Philadelphia 76ers

+39.0 — The Sixers’ starting lineup outscored its opponents (Washington and Atlanta) by 39.0 points per 100 possessions. That was the best mark for any lineup that played at least 100 playoff minutes in the 14 years for which we have lineup data.

76ers Season Preview

Phoenix Suns

48.7% — The Suns shot 50.0% on non-restricted area shots in the paint and 47.4% on mid-range shots. Those were both the best marks for any team in the last 24 years.

Suns Season Preview

Portland Trail Blazers

1.00 — The Blazers were the first team in 17 years of Synergy play-type tracking to score more than a point per possession on pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions. Damian Lillard (1.07) and CJ McCollum (1.02) ranked third and ninth in ball-handler points per possession among 43 players with at least 300 total possessions.

Trail Blazers Season Preview

Sacramento Kings

51.5% — De’Aaron Fox was the only player with a usage rate over 50% in a game last season, registering a rate of 51.5% in a loss in Miami on Jan. 30. For the season, he accounted for 43.1% of the Kings’ clutch field goal attempts while he was on the floor. That was the fourth highest rate among 163 players who played at least 50 clutch minutes.

Kings Season Preview

San Antonio Spurs

0.485 — Bryn Forbes (0.507) and Doug McDermott (0.468) ranked first and third in points per touch among 325 players with at least 1,000 touches last season.

Spurs Season Preview

Toronto Raptors

1 — The Raptors were the only team that finished in the bottom five in both clutch offense (27th) and clutch defense (26th). They had a positive point differential (with a 27-41 record) until the final four games of the season.

Raptors Season Preview

Utah Jazz

17.9 — Last season, the Jazz were 17.9 points per 100 possessions better with Rudy Gobert on the floor (+15.9) than they were with him off the floor (-2.0). That was the biggest on-off differential (by a wide margin) among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.

Jazz Season Preview

Washington Wizards

27.0% — Bradley Beal has ranked second in the league in scoring in each of the last two seasons. But last season, he took only 27.0% of his shots from 3-point range, down from 36.9% in 2019-20. That was the fifth biggest drop among 110 players with at least 500 field goal attempts each season. Beal shot a career-low 34.9% from beyond the arc last season.

Wizards Season Preview

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John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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