Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jimmy Butler head up two of the East’s top teams for 2020-21.
The last eight days have been intense for the Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. In turning over the Pistons’ roster, new general manager Troy Weaver has already traded two guys who weren’t on his team when the transaction moratorium was lifted last Monday.
For a few other Eastern Conference teams — the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic — the last eight days have been pretty quiet. A couple of Draft picks, an end-of-the-roster trade and only the smallest bites in free agency.
The most important decision of this abbreviated offseason is the one in the hands of the two-time reigning Kia MVP. And if Giannis Antetokounmpo chooses not to sign his contract extension (he has until Dec. 21), things will take a dramatic turn in a few select markets around the league.
For now, while there have been a lot of changes, no team (in either conference) has acquired a huge talent upgrade. So the contenders remain the contenders, though the Brooklyn Nets are joining the fray with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both returning to health. The impact of coaching changes (in Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana, New York and Philadelphia, along with four teams in the West) might be just as interesting as the effects of trades and free agency.
There are other loose ends to tie and more trades could certainly go down at any point. We’re jumping the gun a little bit in that the Sacramento Kings have yet to make a decision on the offer sheet that Bogdan Bogdanovic has signed with the Hawks. But with training camps set to open in a week, it’s time to sort through where these teams stand.
Is there a clear favorite in the East? Is there a clear hierarchy within the top five? Should the Sixers be back in the middle of that group with better fitting pieces and a new coach? Time will tell and some of the rankings below are sure to look foolish five months from now. Last year’s offseason East rankings got the playoff teams right, but had the eventual conference champs at No. 7.
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For this year’s offseason rankings, we’re looking at each conference separately and we’ll have Western Conference rankings later this week. The rankings include reported moves that have not been officially announced. A complete list of official moves can be found here. All stats refer to the 2019-20 regular season unless otherwise noted.
Previous Power Rankings
• Aug. 10: West play-in race highlights final week before playoffs
• This time last offseason: Mid-Summer Power Rankings: Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers at the top of the East — Kawhi Leonard left the champs for L.A. and the Celtics lost half their playoff rotation. The Bucks led Malcolm Brogdon go, while the Sixers swapped Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick for Al Horford and Josh Richardson. The Nets landed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, but would have to wait on KD.
Pace: Possessions per 48 minutes (League Rank)
OffRtg: Points scored per 100 possessions (League Rank)
DefRtg: Points allowed per 100 possessions (League Rank)
NetRtg: Point differential per 100 possessions (League Rank)
The league averaged 100.8 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes and 110.1 points scored per 100 possessions last season.
NBA.com’s Power Rankings, released every Monday during the season, are just one man’s opinion. If you have an issue with the rankings, or have a question or comment for John Schuhmann, send him an e-mail or contact him via Twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or WarnerMedia.
2019-20 record: 56-17
Pace: 105.5 (1) OffRtg: 111.9 (8) DefRtg: 102.5 (1) NetRtg: +9.4 (1)
Key additions: Jrue Holiday, D.J. Augustin, Bobby Portis
Key departures: Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, George Hill
3 numbers to know:
• The conference semifinals was the Bucks' worst five-game stretch of defense (113.0 points allowed per 100 possessions) last season.
• The Bucks saw the biggest drop in drives per game, from 48.5 (seventh) in 2018-19 to 38.9 (27th) in '19-20.
• Giannis Antetokounmpo led the league in usage rate, using 36.3% of the Bucks' possessions (via field goal attempts, trips to the line and turnovers) while he was on the floor. That was the sixth highest usage rate in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data.
Key question: Will there be functional changes?
If Antetokounmpo signs a five-year extension in the next four weeks, nothing else matters much. Swapping Bledsoe and Hill for Holiday and Augustin is an upgrade, but just how big of one? (Bledsoe actually has a higher clutch effective field goal percentage -- 48.3% on 285 attempts -- than Holiday -- 45.0% on 340 -- over the last five years.)
Just as interesting could be any changes that coach Mike Budenholzer makes to his rotation or to how the Bucks play on either end of the floor. On offense, maybe Holiday's arrival makes Antetokounmpo a little more of a play finisher than he has been. And on defense, while protecting the rim much better than any other team leads to maximum success over 82 (or 72) games, being able to better adjust to the opponent might get you deeper in the postseason.
2019-20 record: 44-29
Pace: 98.7 (27) OffRtg: 111.9 (7) DefRtg: 109.3 (12) NetRtg: +2.7 (8)
Key additions: Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless
Key departures: Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr.
3 numbers to know:
• The Heat's regular-season point differential per 100 possessions of +2.7 was the third lowest mark among the 48 teams to reach The Finals in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data, higher than only the marks of the 2017-18 Cavs (+1.0) and the 1998-99 Knicks (+1.3).
• The Heat were the only team that ranked in the top five in both field goal percentage in the paint (58.0%, third) and effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (52.0%, fifth).
• In the regular season, Jimmy Butler was tied for the league lead with 15 field goal attempts to tie or take the lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, and shot just 1-for-15 on those shots. In the playoffs, he was 2-for-2 on shots to tie or take the lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter or OT, with both buckets coming in Game 1 of the conference finals.
Key question: How do they get better?
The Heat remain somewhat flexible financially should other opportunities arise, but a reported (and deserved) extension for Bam Adebayo seemingly takes them out of the mix in regard to signing a max free agent in 2021. But it also allows the Miami core to feel more settled as it tries to defend its Eastern Conference championship.
A full season of Bubble Tyler Herro (along with the occasional sneer) could be something special and an improved jumper from Adebayo (he shot 46% from mid-range in the playoffs, up from 22% in the regular season) would make this team even more difficult to defend. And there shouldn't be any shortage of motivation after injuries kept this team from really seeing what it could do in The Finals.
2019-20 record: 48-24
Pace: 99.9 (17) OffRtg: 112.8 (4) DefRtg: 106.5 (4) NetRtg: +6.3 (3)
Key additions: Tristan Thompson, Aaron Nesmith (14th overall pick)
Key departures: Gordon Hayward, Enes Kanter
3 numbers to know:
• The Celtics were the ninth team in the 24 years for which we have play-by-play data to finish in the top four in both offensive and defensive efficiency. (Only three of the nine have gone on to win the championship.)
• The Celtics allowed 114.2 points per 100 possessions in the conference finals after allowing just 101.9 through the first two rounds.
• The Celtics were 11.4 points per 100 possessions better with Tatum on the floor (+10.6) than they were with him off the floor (-0.8) in the regular season. That was the fifth biggest on-off-court NetRtg differential among 236 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team.
Key question: What's next for Tatum and Jaylen Brown?
Thompson gives the Celtics a rebounder, but not much offense (his 0.91 points per possession as a roll man was the second worst mark among 26 players who averaged at least 2.5 roll man possessions per game). He'll also have to wash the stink of the Cavs' defense (29th, 30th and 30th in the last three seasons) off him if he's going to earn minutes over Daniel Theis.
Depth remains an issue, especially on the perimeter, where, with the departure of Hayward, the Celtics won't be able to sustain injuries as well as they did last season. But if Tatum (who saw an intriguing jump in assist rate in the playoffs) and Brown continue to improve, and if Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart stay relatively healthy, the Celtics remain a serious contender to come out of the East. Those four guys actually played more minutes together in the playoffs (349, +5.4 points per 100 possessions) than they did in the regular season (255, +4.2).
2019-20 record: 35-37
Pace: 101.7 (10) OffRtg: 108.7 (22) DefRtg: 109.2 (10) NetRtg: -0.5 (15)
Key additions: Coach Steve Nash (still sounds weird), Healthy stars
Key departure: Patience
3 numbers to know:
• Joe Harris shot 62-for-115 (53.9%) on wide-open 3-pointers, the second best mark among 154 players who attempted at least 100. He was also one of seven players to shoot better than 50% on at least 50 corner 3-point attempts.
• Jarrett Allen scored 1.37 points per possession as a roll man, the best mark among 26 players who averaged at least 2.5 roll man possessions per game.
• Among 149 players who have averaged at least 10 points per game in 200 games or more over the last five seasons, DeAndre Jordan (65.8%), Allen (64.4%), Kevin Durant (63.8%) and Harris (61.8%) rank second, fourth, fifth and 10th in true shooting percentage.
Key question: Will they defend?
Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie (should they remain in Brooklyn) are not obvious complements to Irving and Durant. Both are seemingly much more comfortable with the ball in their hands, though Dinwiddie shot much better better on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (37.3%) than he did on pull-up 3-pointers (27.7%) last season. Heck, no matter what happens LeVert and Dinwiddie, it will be fascinating to just see if/how the two stars play off each other.
But with whatever Nash draws up, the talent will have the Nets near the top of the league in offensive efficiency. What will determine their ceiling (and you can say this about a lot of teams) is how well they defend. The Nets have improved defensively in each of the last four seasons (going from 29th to 10th on that end of the floor), but all that goes out the window with the coaching change and with such a huge transformation in the player hierarchy. Both Irving (three times, not including last season) and Durant (five times) have been a part of top-10 defenses, though one is obviously more of an impact defender than the other.
2019-20 record: 53-19
Pace: 101.2 (12) OffRtg: 110.8 (13) DefRtg: 104.7 (2) NetRtg: +6.4 (4)
Key additions: Aron Baynes
Key departures: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka
3 numbers to know:
• The Raptors are the only team that has had both a better-than-average offense and a better-than-average defense in each of the last five seasons.
• The 122.9 points per 100 possessions the Raptors scored in the first round vs. Brooklyn was the third highest mark for a team in any playoff series in the last 10 years. The 100.3 points per 100 possessions they scored in the conference semis vs. Boston was the worst mark for a team in a series in 2020.
• Pascal Siakam shot 10-for-53 (18.9%) from 3-point range in the playoffs. That was the second worst mark for any player with at least 50 3-point attempts in any postseason (552 instances). His 4-for-32 (12.5%) in the conference semifinals was the worst mark for any player with at least 30 3-point attempts in a single series in NBA history (714 instances).
Key question: Is Siakam a leading man?
Even if you attribute his postseason struggles from distance to an (excusable) inability to adjust to bubble basketball, there's a clear need for the 26-year-old to get more efficient in a leading role. His big jump in usage rate led to a true shooting percentage drop (from 62.8% in 2018-19 to 55.4% last season) that was the second biggest among 107 players with at least 500 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons.
Even with two more pieces of the championship core leaving for L.A., the Raptors will still have one of the league's best (and most cohesive) ensemble casts. Baynes should be a snug fit, OG Anunoby (only 23 years old) has the goods to take another step forward, and the Raptors should have a top-five defense for a fourth straight season. But there are times when you need a star to get (or create) a bucket.
2019-20 record: 43-30
Pace: 99.6 (20) OffRtg: 110.7 (14) DefRtg: 108.4 (8) NetRtg: +2.3 (10)
Key additions: Daryl Morey, Coach Doc Rivers, Seth Curry, Danny Green
Key departures: Al Horford, Josh Richardson
3 numbers to know:
• Only 13.2% of the Sixers' possessions, the league's second lowest rate, were pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions, according to Synergy play-type tracking. They ranked 28th in ball screens per game (62.9) and 26th in the percentage of their possessions that included at least one ball screen (46%).
• The Sixers allowed 8.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with Joel Embiid on the floor (102.0) than they did with him off the floor (110.5). That was the third biggest on-off-court DefRtg differential among 236 players (and the biggest among full-time starters) who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team. Opponents averaged 30.2 restricted-area points per 48 minutes with Embiid on the floor and 40.5 with him off the floor.
• Curry shot 48.1% on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers, the best mark among 209 players who attempted at least 100.
Key question: What's Doc Rivers got up his sleeve?
Morey did his part, swapping Richardson and Horford for pieces -- Curry and Green -- that fit better. And as long as Embiid and Ben Simmons are around, the Sixers' defense will be good. But the critical question remains: How do you build an offense in the modern NBA around a point guard who won't shoot from the outside and a big man who needs to eat in the paint?
The percentage of Embiid's shots coming in the paint dropped from 59% in 2018-19 to just 49% last season, when he had more mid-range attempts (239, shot at 40.2%) than attempts in the restricted area (238, 69.3%). Rivers has proven to be adaptable and he did have top-10 offenses in all seven of his seasons with the LA Clippers, but this is a tougher puzzle to solve.
2019-20 record: 45-28
Pace: 99.4 (22) OffRtg: 109.5 (19) DefRtg: 107.5 (6) NetRtg: +1.9 (13)
Key addition: Coach Nate Bjorkgren
Key departure: N/A
3 numbers to know:
• The Pacers have allowed fewer points per 100 possessions than the league average in each of the last 11 seasons. That's tied with Oklahoma City for the league's longest active streak of better-than-average defense.
• The Pacers ranked last in the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (31.7%) last season. They ranked in the bottom five in each of Nate McMillan's four seasons as coach.
• The Pacers' projected starting lineup - Malcolm Brogdon, Victor Oladipo, T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner - played just 86 minutes (in six games) together last season.
Key question: What's different?
It's a little surprising that Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner are both still here, but teams have had less than 10 days to make deals and the Nate-for-Nate coaching change offers a fresh start with a group that really hasn't played much together in the first place. It's fair to guess that Bjorkgren will open up the offense, and maybe Warren's transformation (more and better 3-point shooting) in the bubble was a head start.
It's also fair to wonder how you open up the offense with both Sabonis and Turner on the floor. The 99.5 points per 100 possessions the Pacers allowed in 605 total minutes with their four full-time starters -- Brogdon, Warren, Sabonis and Turner -- on the floor together was the best mark among non-Milwaukee or Toronto combinations that played at least 500 minutes together. But the Pacers took only 25.6% of their shots from 3-point range in those 605 minutes.
2019-20 record: 33-40
Pace: 99.0 (26) OffRtg: 107.9 (23) DefRtg: 109.2 (11) NetRtg: -1.3 (19)
Key additions: Cole Anthony (15th overall pick), Chuma Okeke (16th overall pick in 2019)
Key departure: D.J. Augustin
3 numbers to know:
• Only 13.8% of the Magic's opponents' possessions, the league's lowest opponent rate, were in transition.
• With the reported transactions as of Tuesday morning, the Magic are one of three teams -- the Warriors and Knicks are the others -- with only one of the 133 players who shot the league average (35.8%) or better on at least 100 3-point attempts last season. (Evan Fournier is the one guy.)
• Aaron Gordon's field goal percentage (107-for-367, 29.2%) and effective field goal percentage (39.1%) on shots from outside the paint were both the second worst marks among 190 players with at least 200 field goal attempts from the outside (not including backcourt shots).
Key question: When (and how) will they shake up their core?
The Magic appear to be on the dreaded "treadmill of mediocrity," running it back with a team that went 33-40 last season and will be without Jonathan Isaac all year. Their top four scorers all have very tradable contracts, so there should be available paths to a shake-up in the next eight months. Until that happens, we can expect them to be solid defensively and take care of business against bad teams. That doesn't sound like much fun, but the departure of Augustin could provide an opportunity for Anthony to sink or swim early on, and there remains a certain degree of intrigue with Markelle Fultz on the final year of his rookie contract.
2019-20 record: 25-47
Pace: 103.4 (5) OffRtg: 110.2 (16) DefRtg: 114.7 (29) NetRtg: -4.5 (25)
Key additions: Healthy John Wall, Deni Avdija (9th overall pick), Robin Lopez
Key departure: N/A
3 numbers to know:
• The Wizards were the only team that ranked in the bottom five in both opponent field goal percentage in the paint (59.4%, 29th) and opponent effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (52.4%, 26th).
• The Wizards scored 118.7 points per 100 possessions with Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans on the floor together. That was the highest on-court OffRtg mark among 345 two-man combinations that played at least 750 minutes.
• Opponents shot just 46.1% at the rim when Lopez was there to protect it. That was the best rim protection mark among 82 players who defended at least 200 shots at the rim.
Key question: Can John Wall and Bradley Beal revive the Wizards?
The Wizards have the ingredients -- Wall, Beal, Troy Brown Jr., Bertans and Lopez -- for a solid lineup that can score and defend (Lopez is a huge upgrade over Thomas Bryant in regard to the latter). But it's tough to foresee the team-wide commitment to defense they'll need to climb into the top seven in the East, given that we've already heard trade chatter about Wall, who hasn't played in 22 months. GM Tommy Sheppard tried to abate that chatter on Monday, but the "blow it up" cloud will hang over this team unless the return of its point guard results in significant improvement.
2019-20 record: 20-47
Pace: 103.3 (7) OffRtg: 107.0 (25) DefRtg: 114.4 (28) NetRtg: -7.4 (28)
Key additions: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari, Onyeka Okongwu (6th overall pick), Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn
Key departures: Vince Carter
3 numbers to know:
• Last season's Hawks were outscored by 17.2 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter, the worst mark for any team in any quarter in the last four seasons.
• The Hawks were the only team that got more than half of its minutes (53%) from rookies (27%, second highest rate) and second-year players (26%, fourth highest).
• Dunn's 2.9 steals per 36 minutes and 5.4 deflections per 36 minutes were both the most among 300 players who played at least 750 minutes last season.
Key question: What's the future of John Collins?
Collins averaged 5.1 roll-man possessions per game, third most in the league last season, and the 1.31 points per possession he scored as a roll man ranked second among 26 players who averaged at least 2.5 roll man possessions per game. But three of the Hawks' last four major acquisitions have been another roll man (Clint Capela) at the trade deadline, another 4/5 (Okongwu) in the Lottery, and a floor-spacing four (Gallinari) in free agency.
Whether Collins stays or not, the veteran additions and the development of the Hawks' young core should make this a more competent team. But it's a long way from 20-47 (the Hawks had the point differential of a team that was 16-51) to playoff contention, even in the East.
More: Free Agent Film Study - Danilo Gallinari
2019-20 record: 22-43
Pace: 100.5 (16) OffRtg: 105.8 (29) DefRtg: 108.9 (9) NetRtg: -3.1 (22)
Key additions: Billy Donovan, Patrick Williams (4th overall pick)
Key departure: Kris Dunn
3 numbers to know:
• The Bulls are the only team that has ranked in the bottom five in offensive efficiency in each of the last three seasons.
• Last season, 19.8% of the Bulls' points, the league's highest rate by a wide margin (and the highest rate of the last eight seasons), came off turnovers.
• Zach LaVine led the league in clutch usage rate, using 44.9% of the Bulls' clutch possessions via his own field goal attempts, turnovers and trips to the line.
Key question: How important was the coaching change?
New Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas has yet to make much of an imprint on the roster, which allows us to see if Donovan can ...
1. Bring out the best in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., perhaps with better balance on offense. They both saw big drops in usage rate last season.
2. Provide defensive consistency with a different scheme. The Bulls were the most improved defensive team last season (allowing 3.9 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in 2018-19), but they allowed their opponents to take 38.0% of their shots in the restricted area. That was the highest opponent rate of the last eight seasons.
3. Get Otto Porter playing like he did in his two (full) seasons in Washington. Remember that Otto Porter? He averaged 14.1 points on an effective field goal percentage of 59.4%, ranking in the top five in 3-point percentage both years.
2019-20 record: 23-42
Pace: 96.2 (30) OffRtg: 105.9 (28) DefRtg: 112.8 (25) NetRtg: -7.0 (27)
Key additions: Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball (3rd overall pick)
Key departures: Bismack Biyombo's contract (but not Bismack Biyombo)
3 numbers to know:
• The Hornets' lineup of Terry Rozier, Devonte' Graham, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Bismack Biyombo scored just 101.9 points per 100 possessions, the worst mark among 39 lineups that played at least 200 minutes together.
• Rozier had an effective field goal percentage of 68.2% on catch-and-shoot jumpers, the fourth best mark among 101 players who attempted at least 200. Graham had the 14th best mark (63.2%).
• Hayward shot 91-for-174 (52.3%) on pull-up 2-pointers, the third best mark among 97 players who attempted at least 100.
Key question: Will they play faster?
The 96.2 possessions per 48 minutes the Hornets averaged last season was 4.6 fewer than the league average (100.8), and that was the 10th biggest negative differential in the 24 seasons for which we have play-by-play data. If Ball is anything like his oldest brother (who led the league in pass-ahead passes per game), he'll get the Hornets some more transition opportunities.
It seems like a weird spot in their timeline for the Hornets to splurge on a free agent, but a healthy Hayward is a huge upgrade at the three. And if Graham and Rozier are shooting more off the catch than they are off the dribble, that's a good thing.
2019-20 record: 21-45
Pace: 99.1 (25) OffRtg: 105.9 (27) DefRtg: 112.4 (23) NetRtg: -6.5 (26)
Key additions: Coach Tom Thibodeau, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Obi Toppin
Key departures: Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson
3 numbers to know:
• The Knicks were the only team that ranked in the bottom five in both 3-point percentage (33.7%, 27th) and the percentage of their shots that came from 3-point range (31.8%, 29th). The Wolves ranked 30th in the latter in each of Thibodeau's two full seasons in Minnesota.
• Burks shot 65-for-165 (39.4%) on pull-up 3-pointers, the sixth best mark among 64 players who attempted at least 100.
• Noel averaged 4.79 steals + blocks per 36 minutes, the second highest mark among 300 players that played at least 750 total minutes. His 5.1 deflections per 36 also ranked second among that same group.
Key question: Who's creating?
The Knicks have some finishers. Mitchell Robinson had the highest (qualified) field goal percentage in NBA history, Noel's 84.5% in the restricted area was the best mark for any player with at least 100 restricted-area attempts in the 24 seasons for which we have shot-location data, and Toppin was one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball. But, unless RJ Barrett makes a huge leap, the Knicks are seriously lacking perimeter offense. They were much better offensively (109.4 points scored per 100 possessions) with Payton on the floor last season, but it says a lot that they needed to bring him back to ensure that they'd have a competent point guard on the roster.
2019-20 record: 20-46
Pace: 97.9 (28) OffRtg: 108.8 (20) DefRtg: 112.3 (22) NetRtg: -3.5 (23)
Key additions: Jerami Grant, Killian Hayes (7th overall pick), Mason Plumlee, Delon Wright, Trevor ...
Key departures: ... Ariza, Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood
3 numbers to know:
• The Pistons' most-used lineup last season included Blake Griffin (who played in only 18 games) and played only 117 total minutes, the fewest for any team's most-used lineup.
• Grant had an effective field goal percentage of 57.3% on catch-and-shoot jumpers and just 32.1% on pull-up jumpers. That was the fifth biggest differential among 160 players who attempted at least 75 of each.
• Wright accounted for 39.5% of the Mavs' steals while he was on the floor, the second highest rate among 300 players who played at least 750 minutes.
Key question: What happens if, by chance, Griffin is healthy?
New GM Troy Weaver has turned over more than two thirds of the Pistons' roster, though exactly how it all plays out (in regard to sign-and-trade deals and what new faces end up getting waived) is TBD. You can certainly quibble with the contracts given to Grant and Plumlee, but the two central pieces to watch when the season starts are the 19-year-old Hayes and the 31-year-old Griffin. It's been 20 months since we last saw a healthy Griffin in the NBA, but not long enough to forget that he's really good when he has his legs under him. A few months of All-Star-ish basketball might not be enough to make that contract (he has a $39 million player option for 2021-22) much easier to deal, but it would still be nice to see.
2019-20 record: 19-46
Pace: 99.2 (23) OffRtg: 106.9 (26) DefRtg: 114.8 (30) NetRtg: -7.9 (29)
Key addition: Isaac Okoro (5th overall pick)
Key departure: Tristan Thompson
3 numbers to know:
• The Cavs' marks for opponent effective field goal percentage in the last two seasons - 56.4% in 2018-19, 56.0% last season - are the two highest opponent marks in NBA history.
• The Cavs allowed 42.8 points per game in the restricted area, the most any team has allowed in the last 23 seasons. They were the only team last season that ranked in the bottom five in both opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (66.9%, 29th) and the percentage of opponent shots coming from the restricted area (35.8%, 27th).
• The Cavs were outscored by 10.8 points per 100 possessions in 1,255 minutes with both Darius Garland and Collin Sexton on the floor, but were outscored by just 5.8 per 100 in 1,456 total minutes with one on the floor without the other.
Key question: How much work have Garland and Sexton put in over the last eight months?
Drummond didn't really improve the defense upon his arrival in February. In fact, the 120 points per 100 possessions the Cavs allowed with him on the floor was the second highest on-court mark among 228 players who averaged at least 20 minutes in five games or more between the trade deadline and the hiatus. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff has had eight months to make some changes on that end of the floor, but he still doesn't have great personnel to work with and a rookie wing (Okoro) can only make so much of an impact. A third straight season of ranking last in defensive efficiency is certainly possible, but significant development from the young guards would make it more palatable.