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Tag:San Antonio Spurs
Posted on: December 28, 2011 11:40 pm
 

Report Card 12.28.11: Spurs ground Lob City

Posted by Royce Young


A: San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are too old right? THIS is the year it all starts coming apart for them, right? Yeah, right. The Clippers came to town bringing their lightshow of dunks and alley-oops, but the old, slow Spurs had no problems handling all that noise. San Antonio used a 38-point third quarter to pull away from the Clips and really highlighted a lot of issues Lob City has. They need a shooter and some depth, badly. The Spurs seem to have it all together once again, as long as the old guys can stay healthy. Doubt them all you want. Pay attention to the young, excited kids running and jumping and dunking. But the Spurs will just keep winning no matter how boring you may find that, thank you very much. The Spurs are 2-0 with blowout wins over Memphis and the Clippers. No big.

A: LeBron James and Chris Bosh

The Heat got a tougher than anticipated test from the Bobcats, but LeBron and Bosh were terrific for Miami. LeBron had 35 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Bosh had 11 of his 25 in the fourth. And he also had this incredibly awkward and awesome dunk.

B: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder picked up a third straight win, beating Memphis 98-95 on the road, but it's a bit tainted as Mike Conley injured his ankle on the very first possession of the game. And on top of it, the Thunder shot just 37 percent from the floor and gave up 19 offensive rebounds. But winning is winning and it's always good. Especially when it's on the road against a contender. Kevin Durant dropped a beautiful 32 points and carried OKC down the stretch.

C: New Orleans Hornets

They beat the Celtics to start 2-0. And they did this one without Eric Gordon. That really deserves an A. But you're supposed to be doing bad, New Orleans! You're supposed to be tanking this season away! You're supposed to be setting yourselves up for the Anthony Davis sweepstakes! Each win will be bittersweet this season for that stupid reason. It's supposed to be about the future and every win hurts that a bit. It's a horrible thing, but reality.

D: Russell Westbrook

How's this for a line: Four points, 0-13 shooting, four turnovers. Yikes. So why isn't this an F? Because Westbrook picked up six assists, hit two very important free throws in the final seconds and his team won.

F: Boston Celtics

What can you say? The Celtics are 0-3 and just lost to the Hornets despite their best player sitting. And it wasn't even a close game as they lost by 19. Yeah, Paul Pierce is hurt. Yeah, it's a night after that tough game in Miami. That's not supposed to be an excuse for a team like the Celtics though.

E for Effort: Charlotte Bobcats

So, sooooo close to knocking off the Heat. Miami was dragging a bit and probably overlooked Charlotte a bit as the Heat were coming off a game the night before against Boston, but the Bobcats were ready to go. Charlottle held a one-point lead with a few seconds left and if not for Dwyane Wade being ridiculous, the Bobcats would've registered the upset of the early NBA season. Things to be encouraged about though if you're Paul Silas and the Bobcats though. Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo and D.J. Augustin should give Bobcat fans something to be excited about.

Incomplete: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are 2-0, but have wins over the Pistons and Raptors, with both games being relatively close. Are they good or just beating who they're supposed to beat? It's hard to know right now.
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 9:46 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Posted by Eye on Basketball



The season is finally, mercifully, just around the corner. In two days the 2011-2012 season kicks off. For all the lockout, legality, and lost games, there will be basketball. But we find a dramatically different NBA than we left. The Lakers are in disarray, the Celtics are fading, the Clippers are a potential powerhouse, and the Raptors... okay, the Raptors are still terrible.

So how is this all going to work out? We bring you our predictions for the 2011-2012 season, along with some random predictions on how things will go according to our crystal ball. (Note: We got our crystal ball at a flea market in southern Missouri. It also says "Get 'Er Done" on it.)

Three Random Predictions from Eye on Basketball

Royce Young:
1. Monta Ellis will be the biggest name traded this season. You can probably read between the lines there. That means Dwight Howard isn't getting dealt. The Magic are going to spend the first two months of the season trying to convince Howard to go to free agency, mainly because there isn't a suitable package on the market at this point. The Warriors though have been dangling Ellis on the market for a while, coming close to trading him for Andre Iguodala last season. They want to turn the backcourt over to Stephen Curry entirely and moving Ellis is what needs to happen to both Curry and the organization's development.

2. Flip Saunders will be the first coach fired. The Wizards are sort of a mess. John Wall has a ton of talent and young guys like Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Jordan Crawford have potential. But they don't appear to be moving forward as a team. Saunders is a really good coach and him being fired wouldn't be an indictment on his ability to coach. Sometimes young players just need a new direction, a new voice to listen to. You can't risk stunting development with young players and if the Wizards start slow and more importantly, sloppy, Saunders will get the axe.

3. Kevin Durant will win a third straight scoring title. Only six players in NBA history have ever won three consecutive scoring titles (Michael Jordan, George Gervin, Bob McAdoo, Wilt Chamberlain, Neil Johnston, George Mikan). So it's not some small task. I could see Durant's scoring decrease a bit because of James Harden’s emergence as a legit third scorer. That doesn’t mean Durant won’t average 27 or 28 a game, but I don’t see him bursting into 33 or 34 points per game range. He’ll take another scoring title simply because he just can’t help it. Dude could score 27 a game if he was in a full body cast.

Ben Golliver:
1. The Lakers will land Dwight Howard. The Lakers have dealt from a position of power for as long as anyone can remember, but the last month's insanity has now pushed them into desperation mode. This group, even if perfectly healthy, can't win a title this year and there are so many dead weight contracts a handful of amnesty clauses still wouldn't be enough. Put that together with Kobe Bryant's increasing age and the Lakers have no choice but to swing for the fences and deal every last tradable asset for Dwight Howard. Magic GM Otis Smith has been taking his time, as he should, but there's so much writing on this wall it looks like a New York City subway car covered in graffiti. Gasol, Bynum and whatever else L.A. can muster will head East.

2. We'll have a tank-off for the ages. Given the weirdness of the shortened season and the absolutely loaded 2012 NBA Draft, there's never been a better time for below-average teams to write off a season in hopes of landing a top draft pick. The Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are your top-3 contenders for tankapalooza, but the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets are one injury away from being in combustion mode too. The smart money is on the Bobcats but brace yourself for some truly hideous basketball.

3. Erik Spoelstra will win Coach of the Year. Miami enters the season on what feels like a perfect storm: they key players are in shape, healthy, motivated, focused and extremely, extremely talented. Importantly, they bring with them a mindset of "We've been through the worst of it and we know what to expect now" and also realize that the only team that stood between them and the 2011 championship, the Dallas Mavericks, lost its most important defensive player in Tyson Chandler. Add up all of those factors and we're looking at the possibility of Miami making a mockery of the regular season, running off lengthy winning streaks and only slowing down if they get to the point where homecourt advantage is already wrapped up. A 50-win season is well within reach and, if that benchmark is met, look for Spoelstra, who dealt with rumors about his job last season, getting tapped for Coach of the Year honors.

Matt Moore:
1. The Lakers will figure something out. This franchise does not rebuild. It reloads. And with the assets they have and under the urgent leadership of the younger Buss, something will go down. Maybe it's Dwight Howard, maybe it's a solution we can't see yet that comes out of nowhere. But the Lakers have been a dominant franchise since the inception of the league. They will not go down quietly, not with Kobe Bryant facing the end of his career. Something will shake out for the Purple and Gold.

2. One of the superteams will self-destruct. It's not that superteams are inherently flawed. On the contrary, they have an obscenely high probability of success. But they are not 100 percent proof. And the very problems that can help more complete team efforts topple the superteams (chemistry, selfless play, ball movement, defense) will spell a blowup of one of the juggernauts. Maybe it's the Heat who simply find that they can win a ton of games but never be truly great with the 1-2-3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Maybe it's the Knicks who find that they truly do need a creator to run an offense geared around front-court scoring. Maybe it's the Clippers and Lob City turns out to be the Wizards' Oz. Or maybe it will be the Nets who find that Deron Williams and Dwight Howard aren't enough with the horrible roster they have around them should they land Howard. But one team will find that their experiment with overwhelming firepower was a mistake.

3. Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala will be with new teams by year's end. I'm a believer that situations that reveal themselves as untenable will not hold. And both of those players have been on the trade block for far too long. Smith has wanted off the Hawks, the Sixers have wanted to move Iguodala for a scoring punch for multiple seasons. It's simply unlikely that both teams will elect to stay put the whole year through, especially since both teams are in direct competition for the mid-to-late playoff spots in the East. Where those two end up could have significant impacts on the playoffs.

2011-12 NBA Season Predictions
Prediction Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
Atlantic Division Winner
Central Division Winner
Southeast Division Winner
Southwest Division Winner
Northwest Division Winner
Pacific Division Winner
Eastern Conference Winners
Bulls over Heat

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls
Western Conference Winners
Thunder over Mavericks

Thunder over Lakers

Thunder over Clippers

Thunder over Grizzlies
Finals Winner
Most Valuable Player
Dwyane Wade
Heat, SG

Kevin Durant
Thunder, SF

LeBron James
Heat, SF

Blake Griffin
Clippers, PF
Rookie of the Year
Kyrie Irving
Cavaliers, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Derrick Williams
Timberwolves, PF


Predictions: 2011-12 Eastern Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8


Predictions: 2011-12 Western Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8
Posted on: December 21, 2011 1:39 am
Edited on: December 27, 2011 1:39 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

los-angeles-clippers

The 2011-2012 NBA season starts on Sunday, and with that comes the inaugural batch of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Memphis Grizzlies at No. 7
Let's pump the brakes just a bit on the Grizzlies bandwagon right now. They look good and they made a lot of noise in the postseason, but how much of that was overachievement? How much of that was because of favorable matchups? The Grizzlies could be a really nice team, but a top eight power? I'm not ready to go there until they show they're actually something to be taken seriously. -- RY

2. Too Low: Portland Trail Blazers at No. 17 The Blazers had about as sucky an offseason as you could have. And we're talking about the Blazers here, a team that's had their fair share of sucky things. Greg Oden had his annual setback, Brandon Roy retired and the team still doesn't have a general manager. That said, Jamal Crawford is a perfect signing, LaMarcus Aldridge may be the West's best power forward and Nate McMillan seems to keep winning despite all the crap that falls down around him. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Boston Celtics at No. 6 The roster is worse at virtually every position, injuries are mounting and Father Time is grasping to claim this group with both hands. The Celtics were dropkicked out of the playoffs by the Miami Heat, and the gap between the two teams has transformed into a canyon. The Big 4 can still get it done but they aren't scaring teams like they once did. It's possible to show the veterans too much respect, and that's what happened here. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Indiana Pacers at No. 12
The small-market Pacers have the best roster that no one is talking about. With talent at all five positions, a former All-Star added to the mix in David West plus expected growth from Paul George, Indiana could wind up being a top-5 team in the East. Their frontcourt has sneaky depth thanks to Jeff Foster, Jeff Pendergraph, Lou Amundson and Tyler Hansbrough, four guys who will do the dirty work and make life easier for West and franchise guy Danny Granger. More credit due! -- BG

5. Sure Thing: Toronto Raptors at No. 30 They stink. There's no way around it. I like DeMar DeRozan. I like Andrea Bargnani. I like Dwane Casey. I want to like the Raptors. But they aren't going to be good. -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 9 Take one look at the highlights from their preseason opening win over the Lakers and it's tempting to think the Clippers should be much higher than the No. 9 spot. Is No. 3 or No. 4 really out of the question for the league's latest and greatest flavor of the month? Of course, it's one thing to fill up highlight tapes and it's another to stack up wins. Where the Clippers settle in the West's hiearchy will be one of the biggest NBA questions to watch in January. -- BG
Posted on: December 19, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 5:13 pm
 

Spurs waive Antonio McDyess, who plans to retire

Posted by Ben Golliverantonio-mcdyess

One of the NBA's oldest players is done in San Antonio.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the Spurs officially waived veteran forward Antonio McDyess and avoided guaranteeing the rest of his 2011-2012 contract on Monday.
The Spurs had until the end of business Monday to guarantee the other half of veteran big man Antonio McDyess’ $5.2 million contract, but they won’t drag the process to the end of the day. The teams acknowledged that McDyess won’t be back, and the club will get to remove $2.6 million, the non=guaranteed portion of his contract, off its player payroll for the 2011-12 season.

“This was not at all how I wanted it to end, but signing here was one of the best things I did in my career,” he said then. “I wouldn’t trade these two years for the world, one of the greatest times of my whole career. I just wish we would have gone farther.”
The paper reports that McDyess announced after the 2011 playoffs that he planned to retire.  

McDyess, 37, was a 15-year NBA veteran who played for the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons prior to joining the Spurs in 2009-2010. Once a premier athlete and 20-points, 10-rebound producer, McDyess transitioned smoothly into a savvy veteran role as knee injuries and age caught up with him. For his career, McDyess posted career averages of 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in 1,015 appearances.

His departure leaves San Antonio short-handed in the frontcourt. In addition to perennial All-Star Tim Duncan, who is 35-years-old and in the final year of his contract, San Antonio's frontline rotation is expected to include 3-point specialist Matt Bonner and relatively untested Brazilian big man Tiago Splitter
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:28 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 4:01 pm
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Southwest Division Preview

Posted by Royce Young



We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Southeast Division.

2011 Standings:
San Antonio Spurs, 61-21, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs to Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks, 57-25, won the NBA title
New Orleans Hornets, 46-36, lost in first round of Western Conference playoffs to Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies, 46-36, lost in second round of Western Conference playoffs to Oklahoma City Thunder
Houston Rockets, 43-39, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Dallas Mavericks

Here's the situation for the Mavericks: They're the defending champions, but they lost a major piece of that puzzle in Tyson Chandler to free agency. They replaced him with Lamar Odom, who they had to give up nothing to get, and added Delonte West and Vince Carter to make up for Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea.

Question is, are they better than last season? My answer: No idea. Nobody really knew how good the Mavs were until the postseason last year and that might be the case again. But with Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, this group will win its share of games, get a nice seed and set itself up for another run at a title.

Worst team: New Orleans Hornets


And that's maybe even before they get Chris Paul traded. Forget the fact that the Hornets only have six NBA players on their roster right now. Losing David West really hurts. Losing Carl Landry really hurts. Heck, losing Aaron Gray really hurts. And you know you're not in good shape when losing Aaron Gray really hurts.

Even if CP3 is handcuffed to The Big Easy for this season, the Hornets are headed for the bottom of the Southwest and most definitely the lottery. That's what's so frustrating about the original trade that fell apart. With Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Lamar Odom, this team was a playoff contender. Now, it'll be a battle to win 30.

Biggest surprise: Houston Rockets

Did you know: Last season the Rockets finished with 43 wins in maybe the toughest division in basketball? Did you know that would've put them as the sixth seed in the East? And yet they missed the postseason in the West. Such is life. General manager Daryl Morey is trying to do everything to ramp up the roster a bit and while it looks like he'll be hanging on to Scola and Martin for a while, he's got a group that can win. Kyle Lowry really came into his own last season and if the Rockets can somehow figure out how to get into the Nene sweepstakes, this team is a playoff contender. Heck, it already is.

Three Best Players: Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, Zach Randolph

Chris Paul is included because as of right now, he's still in the Southwest Division. Dirk was a no-brainer, but Zach Randolph was a tough choice. Because you'll notice a key name omitted. Starts with "Tim" and ends with "Multiple Championships." Reason for Duncan being left off is that with the crammed 66-game schedule, this season could really wear on him. He was already sitting out the second game of back-to-backs in the normal 82-game set. But this could really affect his game. Randolph blossomed into one of the league's premier power forwards in the postseason, working over Duncan's Spurs.

Biggest Question: Does New Orleans start the season with Chris Paul?

A week ago, the answer to that was "Duh, no." Now, it's looking like there could actually be that awkward moment where Chris Paul has to take the floor in New Orleans in front of a home crowd. Nothing is hanging over the NBA quite like this trade saga and it will greatly impact the balance of power in this division. Chris Paul is good enough to win the Hornets games on his own. Take him away and replace him with a rebuilding group of youngsters and you just added four more wins to each team in this division. Everyone wants to know where CP3 is going. We know it's not going to be New Orleans, but right now he's chained to the water heater in the basement of New Orleans Arena. It's just a matter of when he'll be set free.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Dallas Mavericks
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Memphis Grizzlies
4. Houston Rockets
5. New Orleans Hornets

Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Spurs to waive Jefferson with amnesty clause

Posted by Ben Golliverrichard-jefferson

We have our first victim of the dreaded amnesty clause.

Yahoo Sports reports that the San Antonio Spurs will waive forward Richard Jefferson with their amnesty, a provision in the new collective bargaining agreement that allows a team to wipe one current contract from its salary cap number (and luxury tax payments, if applicable). The Spurs recently restructured Jefferson's contract, which is worth $30 million over three years (including a player option for 2013-2014), and are now able to wipe his $9.2 million salary from their books.

Jefferson, 31, never delivered up to expectations in San Antonio. Twice a 22 points per game scorer for the New Jersey Nets, his looks and production predictably took a big hit when he transitioned into an auxiliary role for the Spurs and it never seemed like a very good fit. He was able to improve where the Spurs needed him most -- upping his 3-point shooting from 31.6 percent in 2009-2010 to 44.0 percent in 2010-2011 -- but the Spurs traded guard George Hill for the rights to rookie Kawhi Leonard, a multi-talented forward, and are in the hunt for free agent forward Caron Butler according to ESPN.com.  

The move allows the Spurs some cushion between their salary cap position and the luxury tax line, affording them the ability to spend a full Mid-Level Exception on someone like Butler without needing to shed any other contracts to avoid the tax.

Jefferson will certainly have suitors in the bid process set up for amnesty casualties, althoug he must now prepare to play for a significantly worse team, as only teams under the cap can bid for his services. There will be bids. Jefferson is on the decline but not yet washed up, and he's a proven commodity who can likely be had for less than half of his previous salary. 

Why use the clause now? The Spurs simply don't have any other bad contracts on their books. It was always going to be Jefferson if they used it. Using the clause now instead of after the 2011-2012 season provides the maximum benefit in terms of flexibility and potential recouped savings as Spurs owner Peter Holt will recover the bidded portion of Jefferson's contract. San Antonio won 61 games last season and is likely facing one final run for franchise big man Tim Duncan, who is in the final year of his contract. Jefferson was paid as San Antonio's fourth best player; the team has now made it clear that they would prefer to free up their books and spend a portion of his money more wisely elsewhere.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 10:52 pm
 

2011-2012 NBA schedule: strength analysis

Posted by Ben Golliver

bulls-spurs
Aside from cutting the 2011-2012 NBA regular season length down from 82 games to 66 games, the lockout had one major impact on this year's schedule: every Western Conference team is no longer able to play a home-and-home series with every Eastern Conference team, and vice versa. Instead, each team gets just 18 non-conference games instead of 30, playing just three non-conference opponents twice.

Is this a big deal? Imagine you're the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, coming off one of the worst seasons any NBA team has every played. Would you rather play the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks twice each or would you prefer the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets? Obviously, your preference would be to stack up as many games as possible against poor teams.

There was no perfect solution for the NBA to balance this aspect of the schedule. Thanks to player movement, back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs, and the like, just about every team in the league feels like it's getting a raw deal this year. The distribution of non-conference opponents is sure to be a sore spot for some fanbases and a point of happiness for others.

So who are the first glance winners and losers? Let's take a look using a simple method.

Elite Winners: San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls

There are two clear winners when it comes to this aspect of the schedule and it just so happens that the winners were the league's top-2 teams during the regular season last year. Let's pencil it out using a straightforward win differential based on last season's performance.

The Spurs won 61 games last year and their three repeated non-conference opponents are Cleveland, Orlando and Philadelphia. Those three teams averaged a combined 37 wins last season. 61-37 gives you a differential of +24, the highest of any team in the league.

Chicago, who won 62 games last year, got similarly good luck, facing New Orleans, Memphis and Sacramento, who averaged 39 wins last year, yielding a +23 differential. If the Hornets wind up trading Chris Paul prior to their games with the Bulls, Chicago's advantage here becomes even more pronounced.

Elite Losers: Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder

Boston, with 57 wins, and Oklahoma City, with 56 wins, both were among the NBA's elite last year. However, both drew exceedingly difficult home-and-home opponents, likely by virtue of their television-friendly teams. 

Boston plays the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Thunder twice each. The Thunder is set to play the Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic twice each. If Tyson Chandler and/or Dwight Howard change teams prior to the start of the season that would probably be appreciated in Massachusetts and Oklahoma. 

Both Boston and Oklahoma City, despite being well above .500 last year, have differentials of zero thanks to the tough scheduling.

Marginal Winners: Houston Rockets

The Rockets won just 43 games last year, missing out on the Western Conference playoffs. While they will struggle to climb up the Western Conference playoff table, they'll do it with the help of playing three of the East's weakest sisters: Charlotte, Toronto and Washington. It doesn't get much more cake than that. Houston winds up with a differential of +17 in these home-and-home match-ups, good for third best in the league.

Marginal Losers: New York Knicks

The Knicks are a premier team in the hearts and minds of just about everyone but they still won just 42 games last year. Given their acquisition of new star power and their big-city locale, the NBA has made sure they play plenty of marquee match-ups. Indeed, the Knicks are set to face home-and-homes with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, getting a bit of a reprieve with the Sacramento Kings. Still the presence of two 57-win teams from last year gives New York a differential of -4, tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the worst mark of any 2011 playoff team. 

Terrible Winners: Detroit Pistons

During the offseason, I graded Detroit's roster as the worst in the league and thankfully the schedulers had some mercy, scheduling the Pistons against Memphis, Minnesota and Sacramento, giving Detroit extra games against the two worst teams in the West. Despite winning just 30 games and heading to the lottery once again, the Pistons manage to have a +1 differential in this category, a pretty astounding feat.

Terrible Losers: Cleveland Cavaliers

It's no secret: the Cavaliers were garbage last year, setting an NBA record for consecutive losses and winning just 19 games overall. They didn't get lucky here, drawing home-and-homes with the league-best San Antonio Spurs and two middle-of-the-pack teams in the West: Phoenix and Utah. That's good enough for a league-worst -28 differential. By comparison, the 17-win Timberwolves drew Charlotte, Detroit and Indiana and had a -17 differential.

Remember, this is just one minor elements in the league's overall 2011-2012 adjusted schedule. Still, it's interesting to see the range involved. Here's a chart to help visualize what's happening. Click here for the full-size version.

chart-small-500

Here's a complete list of the differentials in 2010-211 win totals between each NBA team and the average of its three repeat non-conference opponents on the 2011-2012 schedule. All numbers rounded.

San Antonio Spurs 24
Chicago Bulls 23
Houston Rockets 17
Portland Trail Blazers 14
Denver Nuggets 14
Utah Jazz 11
Memphis Grizzlies 8
Phoenix Suns 7
Dallas Mavericks 5
Los Angeles Lakers 5
Indiana Pacers 4
Atlanta Hawks 4
Golden State Warriors 2
Los Angeles Clippers 2
New Orleans Hornets 2
Miami Heat 2
Detroit Pistons 1
Boston Celtics 0
Oklahoma City Thunder 0
Charlotte Bobcats -1
Orlando Magic -3
New York Knicks -4
Philadelphia 76ers -4
Milwaukee Bucks -11
New Jersey Nets -12
Minnesota Timberwolves -17
Washington Wizards -18
Sacramento Kings -21
Toronto Raptors -24
Cleveland Cavaliers -28
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Butler looking at Bulls, Spurs, Nets, Clippers?

Posted by Royce Young

Take away a major knee injury and Caron Butler might be one of the prizes of this free agent class. Not to say he's not something contending teams are after though. He's still a very enticing piece to someone's puzzle.

Question is, who is that someone? Because there are a lot of them. After reports of legit interest in the Bulls, Butler is said to be meeting with the Bulls and Clippers on Monday, the Spurs on Tuesday and the Nets on Wednesday and Thursday he could talk with the Pistons, according to ESPN Dallas.

Of note: The Dallas Mavericks aren't among the teams with interest in Butler right now. Not all that surprising given the Mavs roster and financial situation, but there was a thought that Dallas would try and keep him. The Mavs have said they'd like to keep Butler, but as of now, there's no reported meeting.

Problem for the Mavs is, they're already worrying about Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea, plus the new luxury tax rules that could change how they spend.

The Clippers will meet with Butler face-to-face at heir practice facility Monday.

You can be sure the Bulls will sign a wing in the next few weeks whether it's Butler, Arron Afflalo or someone else. The Clippers want more scoring to go with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. The Spurs are always in the market for cheap veteran talent and with Richard Jefferson being iffy, Butler could be a nice replacement. The Nets want anything.

If I were handicapping this, I'd say the Bulls are the top option for Butler, but it's just whether or not the interest is mutual. It probably will depend on if the Bulls think they can get Afflalo. If not, the Clippers really do seem like a fit. They need a small forward badly and have the money to pay Butler.

And unfortunately for Mavs fans, I might put Dallas last in that list. Just doesn't seem like Butler will be back there.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com