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Mini-Mailbag: Worst in Offense and Defense

Posted by Neil Paine on January 26, 2011

As if Monday's post wasn't enough, we're back for another painful Cleveland history lesson courtesy of SI.com's Zach Lowe:

"Has any team finished last in both offensive and defensive efficiency? [...] Cavs now in danger of pulling off this double."

During the era in which we can apply the official possessions formula, two NBA teams can claim the unfortunate distinction of finishing last in both offensive rating & defensive rating in the same season:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23

Of course, that's just since 1974. If we use my pre-1974 possessions estimator, the list doubles in size:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23
1971 Cleveland Cavaliers 15 67 8373 9289 9081.1 92.2 17 102.3 17 17
1959 Cincinnati Royals 19 53 7421 8060 8626.6 86.0 8 93.4 8 8

How close are the 2011 Cavaliers, then? They're already dead last in offense, with a 0.9 pts/100 poss. cushion between them and #29 Milwaukee. They're also 28th in defense, fractionally ahead of #29 Toronto and 0.4 pts/100 poss. in front of last-place Phoenix. So it's certainly going to be possible for them to overtake (undertake?) the Suns before the season is over. Here's how they stack up against the other teams listed above:

Year Team W L Pts oPts Poss ORtg Rk DRtg Rk #Tms
1993 Dallas Mavericks 11 71 8141 9387 8181.2 99.5 27 114.7 27 27
1987 Los Angeles Clippers 12 70 8566 9503 8460.7 101.2 23 112.3 23 23
1971 Cleveland Cavaliers 15 67 8373 9289 9081.1 92.2 17 102.3 17 17
1959 Cincinnati Royals 19 53 7421 8060 8626.6 86.0 8 93.4 8 8
2011 Cleveland Cavaliers 8 37 4203 4711 4215.1 99.7 30 111.8 28 30

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9 Responses to “Mini-Mailbag: Worst in Offense and Defense”

  1. Chronz Says:

    OK so Bron wasnt entirely the reason for this but is there any doubt that if one player would mean the difference between contention and lottery its him. He did the most with the least, give the Cavs any combination of players available and Bron won at an elite rate. Mo and Big Z out, he mans the point and reels off a 10 game winning streak with 10AST/gm to boot. Shaq gos down, the Cavs play better. Delonte becomes a headcase just a minor glitch.

    This is definitely a testament to his greatness

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Watch out, people might get inappropriately angry at you for statements like that!

  3. Jason J Says:

    Oh, so now Neil's in charge of deciding whose anger is appropriate. Is there a metric for that?!?!?

  4. AYC Says:

    When a team goes from the best record in the league to the worst, that is certainly noteworthy, LBJ haters be damned!

  5. AYC Says:

    PS Where's the team TS%? (Just kidding!)

  6. Gabe Says:

    What about the infamous 9-73 Sixers?

  7. David Says:

    James had better actually be the main cog on a title team to be deemed "great". Right now "his" Finals teams are 0-4.

  8. Imadogg Says:

    Lebron comments again? Yawn, Neil didn't mention Lebron in the post, no need to mention him. I'm not a fan but it's obvious how much he meant to the Cavs.

    Back to this year though, the Cavs really... reeeally suck. It's sad to see, but I'm sorta hoping history gets made and they lose 30 straight or something.

  9. huevonkiller Says:

    #7 Watch it before you run your mouth too much.

    Shaq was also "0-4" not just in the Finals but at the end of multiple post-seasons up until his late 20's.