Heat, Thunder The Kings Of Continuity

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – The Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs were the three best teams in the league last season. The Heat and Thunder met in The Finals, while the Spurs tied for the league’s best regular season record and fell to the Thunder after winning their first 10 playoff games.

So it’s logical that Miami, OKC and San Antonio are three of the four teams that are returning more than 80 percent of last year’s minutes on this year’s roster.

Though they added Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis to the mix, the Heat are bringing back players that logged 97 percent of last year’s minutes. Only Eddy Curry, Juwan Howard and Ronny Turiaf, who totaled just 494 minutes last season, are gone. The Thunder have 91 percent of their minutes coming back, and the Spurs have 87 percent coming back.

So, who is the fourth team returning more than 80 percent of last year’s minutes? Is is the Bulls, Pacers, Grizzlies or Celtics?

Nope. It’s the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings, who finished 14th in the Western Conference at 22-44 last season, are returning 11 players who logged 88 percent of last year’s minutes on this year’s roster. They’re young, with several players who need time to develop and another Lottery pick (Thomas Robinson) added to the mix. Still, Sacramento was in the bottom 10 of the league both offensively and defensively last season, and will obviously need a lot of improvement from within to make any sort of move up the standings.

Continuity worked pretty well for the Philadelphia 76ers last season. They returned an amazing 99 percent of their minutes from 2010-11, won 18 of their first 25 games, and had the league’s No. 1 defense for much of the year. While they eventually dropped to eighth place in the East, they did finish with the conference’s third best point differential.

In recent years, there has been a pretty strong correlation between continuity and success, which makes sense. The good teams (like the Heat, Thunder and Spurs) keep their players and stay good. And there are few examples of teams as bad as the Kings bringing back such a high percentage of their minutes.

Last year’s Timberwolves are one. Though they went 17-65 in 2010-11, the Wolves brought back 80 percent of those minutes. They added Ricky Rubio and were 21-20 (and a half game out of a playoff spot) before Rubio was lost for the season. So maybe there’s some hope for the Kings.

Here’s a full list of all 30 teams, sorted by what percentage of last year’s minutes they’re returning on this year’s roster. Not surprisingly, the Houston Rockets rank last…

Returning minutes

Rank Team 2011-12 MIN Ret. Players Ret. min. Ret. %
1. Miami 16,040 13 15,546 96.9%
2. Oklahoma City 15,990 12 14,521 90.8%
3. Sacramento 15,915 11 14,014 88.1%
4. San Antonio 15,940 13 13,854 86.9%
5. Detroit 15,965 9 12,171 76.2%
6. Utah 16,165 11 12,257 75.8%
7. Memphis 15,940 9 12,016 75.4%
8. Milwaukee 15,865 10 11,328 71.4%
9. Indiana 15,990 8 11,145 69.7%
10. Toronto 15,965 9 10,829 67.8%
11. Washington 15,865 9 10,410 65.6%
12. Denver 16,040 11 10,148 63.3%
13. Cleveland 15,965 10 9,814 61.5%
14. Chicago 15,940 7 9,738 61.1%
15. Boston 15,940 6 9,613 60.3%
16. L.A. Clippers 15,965 8 9,476 59.4%
17. Minnesota 15,940 7 9,256 58.1%
18. Charlotte 15,890 8 9,224 58.0%
19. New York 15,940 6 9,172 57.5%
20. Golden State 15,915 8 8,959 56.3%
21. Dallas 16,065 7 8,810 54.8%
22. L.A. Lakers 16,065 8 8,686 54.1%
23. Portland 15,965 7 8,155 51.1%
24. Phoenix 15,840 5 7,656 48.3%
25. Orlando 15,965 7 7,671 48.0%
26. Atlanta 16,165 5 7,434 46.0%
27. Philadelphia 15,915 5 7,207 45.3%
28. Brooklyn 15,890 6 6,612 41.6%
29. New Orleans 15,940 6 5,827 36.6%
30. Houston 16,065 5 4,747 29.5%

4 Comments

  1. Owenhart says:

    TEAM CHEMISTRY… :-)

  2. ahmed says:

    what is the returning minutes

    • Simon says:

      if a team played 15000 minutes for example and they traded away 1 of their players after that season and he played 1500 then they would have 90% returning minutes. The other 10% were traded away with that player.

  3. ifaerman says:

    Houston, we have a problem.