Apr 22 2016

Silver Lining 2016: What I’ll Miss About the 2016 NBA Teams Out of Playoffs

(PC: Jordan Austin)

(PC: Jordan Austin)

Last week, The NU came through with The 6th Annual Bandwagon Report. Not included were the squads too weak to make the 2016 NBA postseason.

While their challenges will define their season and guide their offseason, the Networks United will make the effort to highlight a positive takeaway from teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs. And as a programming note, the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery will be held Tuesday, May 17:

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls can at least take some pride in the fact that they still had a winning record at 42-40. They were the only team to miss the playoffs with a winning record this season, and the 2015-2016 Bulls are the first Eastern Conference team to miss the playoffs with a winning record since the 2004-2005 Cleveland Cavaliers went 42-40. Chicago may not have C Pau Gasol back next season, but Gasol gave the team two All-Star seasons. He averaged a double-double with 4.1 assists and 2.0 blocks per game at age 35, the only player to do that in the NBA at that age since at least 1973. 1

Washington Wizards: The Wizards have failed to string three consecutive winning seasons together since 1979. All-Star PG John Wall didn’t have his best season, 2 but he did have career-high averages in points (19.9), rebounds (4.9), assists (10.2), steals (1.9), and threes (1.5) per game.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz have missed the postseason four years in a row, and they have had three losing seasons in a row for the first time since 1983. Only the Suns and 76ers were worse defensively or overall late in close games than the Jazz this season, despite Utah’s top-10 defense overall. Don’t get it twisted – this team didn’t deserve a playoff spot. They did see PF Derrick Favors take another step, as he averaged a career-high 16.4 points per game this season.

Orlando Magic: The Magic haven’t made the playoffs since trading C Dwight Howard in 2012, and the team has averaged an NBA-low 19.2 free throw attempts per game in that time span. Despite the team’s complete inability to get to the line, C Nikola Vucevic continues to be a bright spot from the Howard trade, averaging career-highs in assists (2.8) and blocks (1.1) per game this season.

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks still haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. The addition of C Greg Monroe didn’t help the defense, but he still averaged 15.3 points per game on 52 percent shooting from the field, and a career-high 1.38 assists-turnover ratio.

Denver Nuggets: A silver lining for the Nuggets is that their best rookie wasn’t 2015 lottery pick PG Emmanuel Mudiay. 2014 2nd-round pick C Nikola Jokic joined the team this season and averaged 10.0 points per game on 51 percent shooting from the field in only 21.7 minutes per game. He had 16 double-doubles, which ranked third among rookies this season.

Sacramento Kings: The Kings join the Timberwolves as the only teams to have simultaneous postseason droughts of at least ten seasons. PF DeMarcus Cousins unfortunately added a three-point shot, which resulted in him averaging a career-low 2.4 offensive rebounds per game. But Cousins still found a way to get to the free throw line for a career-high 10.2 attempts per game, which resulted in a career-high 26.9 points per game. Cousins still averaged 11.5 rebounds per game while making 70-of-210 three-pointers 3 in 65 games, and he is the only player in NBA history to average 10.0 rebounds, 10.0 free throw attempts, and 1.0 made three-pointers per game in a season.

New York Knicks: It wasn’t all good for SF Carmelo Anthony, as he averaged a career-low 5.6 free throw attempts per game. But Anthony was an All-Star for the seventh straight season, and he averaged a career-high 4.2 assists per game, an impressive feat for a 13-year veteran.

New Orleans Pelicans: New Orleans had an extremely rough season with injury, as PF Anthony Davis was one of only two players to play more than 2,000 minutes for the team. Even Davis missed a career-high 21 games. In a “down year”, Davis still averaged 24.3 points, a career-high 10.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game. Davis is one of four players since at least 1973 to average 20 points, 10 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game in at least three NBA seasons. Hall-of-Fame centers Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the other three. Davis is 23 years old.

Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves have missed the playoffs in each of the last 12 seasons, the longest drought in the NBA. But they have a gem in C Karl-Anthony Towns, the first pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. Towns averaged 18.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field. The only other rookies to put up those numbers since 1973: Tim Duncan and Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal.

Phoenix Suns: The Suns are coming off their worst season since they went 16-66 in their first year in the NBA (1968-1969), and their current six-year playoff drought is the longest in franchise history. Phoenix has hit rock bottom. They’ll be hoping that PG Eric Bledsoe can come back strong after tearing his left meniscus in December. Bledsoe only made it through 31 games, but the only other players to average at least 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 made threes per game this season were All-Star PGs Stephen Curry and Kyle Lowry.

Brooklyn Nets: The Nets have gotten worse each season in Brooklyn, and they finally bottomed out with a 61-loss season. To make matters worse, their lottery pick is going to Boston. C Brook Lopez stayed healthy again, and while the Nets continue to waste his prime, he averaged another 20.6 points and 1.7 blocks per game. Lopez would be on pace to set the Nets franchise record for points and blocks if he’s back for a ninth season.

Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers won 65 games in the 2008-2009 NBA season. They’ve won 65 games in the last three NBA seasons combined. The Lakers missed the postseason for the third straight season for the first time in franchise history. They hit rock bottom in 2015-2016 with 65 losses, most in the Western Conference. The Lakers decided to start PG Lou Williams, the 2014-2015 Sixth Man of the Year, 35 times despite Williams having only 16 combined starts the previous five seasons. But Williams responded with 15.3 points per game while attempting a career-high 6.3 free throw attempts per game. 4

Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers now own the two worst 82-game seasons in NBA history after going 10-72 in 2015-2016. Both the 76ers and Magic haven’t made the playoffs since the Andre Iguodala trade in 2012, which ties both teams for the longest postseason drought in the Eastern Conference. 5 Rookie C Jahlil Okafor had a rough season marred by suspension, poor defense, injury, and the fact that the team used the previous two lottery picks on Cs Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. But Okafor did average 17.5 points per game on 50.8 percent shooting from the field. He joins Jerry Stackhouse and Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson as the only 76ers rookies to average at least 17.0 points per game.




Show 5 footnotes

  1. Steals and blocks became official NBA statistics starting in the 1973-1974 season.
  2. Wall averaged a career-low 4.5 free throw attempts per game and a career-high 4.1 turnovers per game.
  3. Cousins made only 11-of-69 three-pointers in his first five NBA seasons combined, while averaging 3.2 offensive rebounds per game.
  4. As for Kobe Bryant: worst field goal percentage (36.8 percent) since the merger for players who attempted at least 1,000 field goals in a season, and worst three-point percentage (28.5 percent) ever for a player with at least 400 three-point attempts in a season.
  5. The 76ers and Nuggets haven’t made the playoffs since Iguodala left, while the Magic and Lakers haven’t made the postseason since Dwight Howard left. That four-team trade has been disastrous.

1 ping

  1. 2016 NBA Offseason Maintenance Report »

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