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Most Personnel Turnover Between Seasons

Posted by Neil Paine on August 11, 2010

Today I thought we'd briefly put aside the top college programs series and take a look at the NBA teams that had the most personnel turnover from one season to the next. As we all know, the 2010-11 Miami Heat will probably return less than half of their minutes from a year ago, with the top newcomers by playing time expected to be LeBron James & Chris Bosh. How does this stack up against teams that had a lot of roster turnover in the past? Here are the (non-expansion) clubs since 1965 who gave the smallest % of their minutes to players who had been on the roster the previous season:

Year Team Pct Record Top Newcomers Prv. Rec.
2005 Orlando Magic 10.6% 36-46 Steve Francis & Dwight Howard 21-61
1980 Utah Jazz 10.7% 24-58 Adrian Dantley & Ben Poquette 26-56
2005 Atlanta Hawks 10.8% 13-69 Al Harrington & Josh Childress 28-54
1998 Cleveland Cavaliers 19.4% 47-35 Wesley Person & Shawn Kemp 42-40
1991 Sacramento Kings 20.3% 25-57 Lionel Simmons & Rory Sparrow 23-59
2009 Los Angeles Clippers 22.5% 19-63 Eric Gordon & Baron Davis 23-59
1997 Dallas Mavericks 25.9% 24-58 Derek Harper & Michael Finley 26-56
1979 San Diego Clippers 26.1% 43-39 World B. Free & Kermit Washington 27-55
1973 Philadelphia 76ers 26.5% 9-73 Manny Leaks & Leroy Ellis 30-52
2002 Memphis Grizzlies 27.0% 23-59 Shane Battier & Pau Gasol 23-59
1990 San Antonio Spurs 27.1% 56-26 David Robinson & Terry Cummings 21-61
2005 Los Angeles Lakers 27.1% 34-48 Chucky Atkins & Caron Butler 56-26
2004 Minnesota Timberwolves 27.2% 58-24 Latrell Sprewell & Sam Cassell 51-31
1998 Denver Nuggets 28.1% 11-71 Dean Garrett & Johnny Newman 21-61
2000 Chicago Bulls 28.2% 17-65 Elton Brand & Ron Artest 13-37
1978 New Jersey Nets 29.0% 24-58 Bernard King & Kevin Porter 22-60
1999 Sacramento Kings 29.0% 27-23 Jason Williams & Vlade Divac 27-55
2005 Houston Rockets 30.6% 51-31 Tracy McGrady & Bob Sura 45-37
1981 Golden State Warriors 32.5% 39-43 Joe Barry Carroll & Bernard King 24-58
2000 Orlando Magic 32.7% 41-41 Ben Wallace & John Amaechi 33-17
1978 Seattle Supersonics 33.2% 47-35 Marvin Webster & Gus Williams 40-42
1978 Buffalo Braves 33.7% 27-55 Swen Nater & Billy Knight 30-52
1982 Dallas Mavericks 34.1% 28-54 Jay Vincent & Allan Bristow 15-67
1993 Minnesota Timberwolves 34.2% 19-63 Chuck Person & Christian Laettner 15-67
1982 Cleveland Cavaliers 34.5% 15-67 James Edwards & Bob Wilkerson 28-54
2005 New Orleans Hornets 34.8% 18-64 Dan Dickau & Lee Nailon 41-41
2000 Houston Rockets 35.1% 34-48 Steve Francis & Shandon Anderson 31-19
1996 Philadelphia 76ers 35.5% 18-64 Jerry Stackhouse & Vernon Maxwell 24-58
1978 Los Angeles Lakers 35.7% 45-37 Norm Nixon & Lou Hudson 53-29
1999 Charlotte Hornets 36.0% 26-24 Chucky Brown & Derrick Coleman 51-31

As it turns out, the Heat probably aren't going to have an historic amount of personnel turnover despite having just two players under contract on July 8. Still, they'll likely be among the NBA leaders in 2011 -- for comparison's sake, only 4 teams in 2010 (the Raptors, Bucks, T-Wolves, & Pistons) gave less than 50% of their minutes to players who weren't on the roster the year before.

At the other end of the spectrum, here are the teams that were the most stable between two seasons:

Year Team Pct Record Top Newcomers Prv. Rec.
1982 Denver Nuggets 99.7% 46-36 David Burns 37-45
1994 Miami Heat 99.5% 42-40 Manute Bol & Morlon Wiley 36-46
1972 Boston Celtics 99.4% 56-26 Clarence Glover 44-38
1988 Atlanta Hawks 98.6% 50-32 Chris Washburn & Leon Wood 57-25
1974 Boston Celtics 98.5% 56-26 Phil Hankinson & Steve Downing 68-14
2000 Indiana Pacers 98.3% 56-26 Jonathan Bender & Zan Tabak 33-17
1985 Los Angeles Lakers 98.3% 62-20 Ronnie Lester & Chuck Nevitt 54-28
1978 Philadelphia 76ers 98.2% 55-27 Ted McClain & Wilson Washington 50-32
1988 Dallas Mavericks 98.2% 53-29 Steve Alford & Jim Farmer 55-27
1974 New York Knickerbockers 97.9% 49-33 Dick Garrett & Mel Davis 57-25
1998 Utah Jazz 97.6% 62-20 Jacque Vaughn & William Cunningham 64-18
1979 San Antonio Spurs 97.6% 48-34 Frankie Sanders & Glenn Mosley 52-30
1968 Philadelphia 76ers 97.5% 62-20 Johnny Green & Ron Filipek 68-13
1997 Chicago Bulls 97.2% 69-13 Robert Parish & Bison Dele 72-10
1972 Seattle Supersonics 97.0% 47-35 Fred Brown & Jim McDaniels 38-44
1986 Houston Rockets 96.8% 51-31 Steve Harris & Granville Waiters 48-34
1985 Boston Celtics 96.8% 63-19 Ray Williams & Rick Carlisle 62-20
1995 New York Knickerbockers 96.7% 55-27 Monty Williams & Doug Christie 57-25
1991 Detroit Pistons 96.6% 50-32 John Long & Lance Blanks 59-23
1979 Washington Bullets 96.5% 54-28 Dave Corzine & Roger Phegley 44-38
1988 Los Angeles Lakers 96.4% 62-20 Milt Wagner & Tony Campbell 65-17
1990 Dallas Mavericks 96.1% 47-35 Randy White & Bob McCann 38-44
1974 Chicago Bulls 95.9% 54-28 Rick Adelman & John Hummer 51-31
1992 Chicago Bulls 95.6% 67-15 Bob Hansen & Mark Randall 61-21
1992 Phoenix Suns 95.5% 53-29 Jerrod Mustaf & Steve Burtt 55-27
1986 Denver Nuggets 95.4% 47-35 Pete Williams & Blair Rasmussen 52-30
2009 Los Angeles Lakers 95.4% 65-17 Josh Powell & Shannon Brown 57-25
2008 Denver Nuggets 95.1% 50-32 Chucky Atkins & Bobby Jones 45-37
1988 Detroit Pistons 95.1% 54-28 James Edwards & Ralph Lewis 52-30
1982 Boston Celtics 95.1% 63-19 Danny Ainge & Charles Bradley 62-20

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5 Responses to “Most Personnel Turnover Between Seasons”

  1. P Middy Says:

    Here's the win increase percentages on the biggest turnovers. Of course, there are many other factors, but a quick glance suggests lots of turnover is probably not a good thing (duh).

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0AowDfK6gQsDJdEN0a2NRbUx4OVhtMFNRZ2FWUDY0cVE&hl=en&output=html

  2. AYC Says:

    Alot of championship teams on the second list....

    Surprised the 08 Celts weren't on the first list

  3. khandor Says:

    Hi, Neil.

    If I'm reading your charts correctly, the Average Win Total for the 30 teams you have listed in Chart 1 is 30.

    I'd also be curious to know how the Average Win Total would look, if you adjusted your parameters to include:

    i. All teams that changed at least 50% of their roster from the previous season;
    ii. All teams that changed less than 50% of their roster from the previous season.

    Thanks, in advance.

  4. Walter Says:

    What I find interesting is how different the era's were. Looking at the decades and see how many times a team makes each of the two list yeilds the following:
    Decade.... List 1... List 2
    70's........6.........8
    80's........4........10
    90's........9.........8
    00's.......11.........3

    In the 70's and 80's there were more teams that had very little turnover than those with significant turnover. In the 90's it was evenly split. But in the 2000's there are almost 4 times as many teams on the high turnover list than the low turnover list.

  5. CJ Says:

    The most striking thing about your high turnover list is the lack of pairs of veterans of any significance as top newcomers. They're mostly rookies and journeyman. So it's not a very good predictor of how Miami will do. The closest comparison on your list would be the '04 Timberwolves (Sprewell & Cassell), who dipped slightly but still won 50+ games.

    If you look at teams that brought in significant newcomers, the '08 Celtics (Garnett & Allen) stand out. Or the '08-'10 Lakers (Gasol, then Artest). Or the '70s Knicks adding Walt Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Lucas, and Earl Monroe over a relatively short period.

    You can't just look at quantity. You have to consider quality.