Heat, Thunder (And One Surprise Squad) Lead League In Roster Continuity


HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — In the NBA, continuity and success are closely linked. Talented teams need time together — maybe two or three seasons — before they can make the most of that talent. And teams that win usually stick with what they’ve got.

So it should be no surprise that the Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs — the three teams that won the most games last season — are keeping their rosters mostly intact.

Despite the departure of Mike Miller, the Heat will return 95 percent of their regular-season minutes leaders, a number that leads the league by a good amount. The Thunder lost Kevin Martin, but are still returning 87 percent of last season’s minutes, a number that ranks second. The Spurs swapped Gary Neal for Marco Belinelli and obviously aren’t bringing back Stephen Jackson, but will have 82 percent of last season’s minutes on this year’s roster, a number that ranks fourth.

Who ranks third at 85 percent?

The Indiana Pacers? Nope. They’re eighth at 74 percent, having said goodbye to Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin and Gerald Green.

The Memphis Grizzlies? No. They’re sixth at 76 percent, because the 1,514 minutes Rudy Gay played before he was traded are part of the calculation.

What about the New York Knicks? Not even close. They’re 17th at 66 percent, thanks to the departures of Jason Kidd, Steve Novak and Chris Copeland.

No, the team that’s bringing back more minutes than the Spurs is … the 21-61 Charlotte Bobcats.

The Bobcats have a new coach, drafted Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick and signed Al Jefferson. But they’re also bringing back 11 players who logged almost 17,000 minutes for them last season.

Jefferson and Zeller will take minutes away from some of those guys and help on offense, where Charlotte ranked 28th last season. But this is a group that ranked dead last in defensive efficiency, so Jefferson will hurt more than help there and Zeller needs time to adjust to the NBA.

It’s up to new coach Steve Clifford to change things around defensively. Or maybe the Bobcats can count on their continuity.

Here’s the full list of what each team is bringing back. It’s possible that a number here could change, because a few teams have both open roster spots and available free agents (like Atlanta and Ivan Johnson), but they won’t change much.

Returning minutes from last season

Team Total Min. Ret. Players Ret. Min. Ret. %
Miami 19,880 13 18,858 94.9%
Oklahoma City 19,830 13 17,162 86.5%
Charlotte 19,805 11 16,891 85.3%
San Antonio 19,880 12 16,376 82.4%
Washington 19,855 11 16,018 80.7%
Memphis 19,805 9 15,091 76.2%
Orlando 19,780 11 14,910 75.4%
Indiana 19,590 8 14,589 74.5%
Portland 19,855 8 14,555 73.3%
Chicago 19,830 9 14,352 72.4%
Golden State 19,805 8 14,118 71.3%
Sacramento 19,830 9 13,875 70.0%
Houston 19,780 10 13,839 70.0%
Cleveland 19,730 7 13,207 66.9%
Denver 19,905 11 13,278 66.7%
L.A. Clippers 19,730 8 13,119 66.5%
New York 19,730 8 13,009 65.9%
Toronto 19,980 9 13,117 65.7%
Minnesota 19,730 8 12,539 63.6%
Phoenix 19,805 8 12,231 61.8%
Brooklyn 19,855 8 12,073 60.8%
New Orleans 19,780 8 11,991 60.6%
Detroit 19,805 8 12,004 60.6%
Philadelphia 19,755 8 11,312 57.3%
Boston 19,840 7 10,763 54.2%
Atlanta 19,855 7 10,309 51.9%
L.A. Lakers 19,755 7 9,794 49.6%
Dallas 19,980 6 8,723 43.7%
Utah 19,880 6 8,048 40.5%
Milwaukee 19,830 5 6,226 31.4%


  1. RealLakerGM says:

    The Bobcats are like the NBA practice squad or second string. Jordan knows this. What star that hasn’t won a ring already is gonna play for the Bobcats? He should run and gun like Nash’s suns.

  2. jaoromero says:

    keeping your roster intact makes sense if you’re already good. but the Bobcats? if they’re returning 85% of their roster, they’re returning 85% that’s been bad the past season. how are they ever gonna improve if they keep electing to continue the bad?

    keep changing things until you hit the magic formula.

    also, don’t be like the immensely stupid Mark Cuban. forming championship squads in the NBA is hard enough. so when he had one, what did he do? he became stupid. now, Dirk Nowitzki’s last years will be wasted in mediocrity.

  3. […] Heat, Thunder (And One Surprise Squad) Lead League In Roster Continuity – John Schuhmann – NBA.com […]

  4. Gooduns says:


  5. egg waffle junior says:


  6. TRU says:

    Don’t ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! You Have been warned the Lakers are done for a few years, Kobe can’t do everything. The team as a whole is pretty terrible despite Kobe, Gasol, and a shell of Steve Nash. L̶a̶k̶e̶r̶N̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶

  7. Jimbo says:

    Well there’s one person who likes this article… John Schuhmann (because he wrote it and got paid for it) Basically a meaningless article because the only team that could benefit is Miami… who has a winning hand with the cards they hold. What it does for OKC I have no idea. They basically have lost two good players over the past two years and received nothing in return. Continuity in reverse ? Seriously John, you should have done this one for free.

  8. yo says:

    toronto should be number 1.. look at the statistics again?

  9. lol says:

    Bobcats might make it to the playofss

  10. J says:

    I didn’t like this article cause it was pointless. who cares how many players you bring back from the previous season? I don’t

  11. chubzdev says:

    Despite the Bobcats returning so many minutes, they are still going to look very different this year. 2 new starters that are unimaginably better than last year’s front court will change the whole team dynamic. A new coach with a real NBA system, unlike Mike Dunlap’s college zone strategy will certainly improve the defense. All that not to mention that the bulk of their miutes are from young players with plenty of talent so a huge jump from any of them wouldn’t be surprising especially when looking at Kemba’s vast improvement between his first two years and Henderson’s steady, consistant improvement throughout his career. With so much change, this team is wildly unpredictable and could end up near the bottom of the league or, if the chemistry develops, push for the playoffs in the weak bottom seeds of the eastern conference.

  12. Unkle Daddy says:

    I think the Bobcats should find a roster spot for Adam Morrison, even if it’s a non-guaranteed contract and number 15 on the bench. Fear the Stache!!!

  13. Alex says:

    Charlotte 2014 NBA champs?

  14. Spurs Fan says:

    Jeremy Lamb could potentially/eventually fill that spot that was harden/martin.

    • christopher roman says:

      Jeremy Lamb’s inconstincensy is what hurts him the most. But he also lacks average perimeter defense. We will have to see if he improved during offseason. It is all on him, if he has displine and a good work ethic, for him to be another steal from the past draft

  15. Lakers-Warriors-Suns says:

    Stop hating on Don’t Ever Click my name!!!!

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      How could u not hate? He has no idea what he’s talking about.. Just another bitter laker fanboy who is mad because the lakers era ia officially OVER ! LOOOL

      • Lakers-Warriors-Suns says:

        Lakers Era? The Lakers will still be a team in the NBA, stupid. Also it’s called rebuilding. The Celtics, biggest champions in the NBA are rebuilding too.

      • “Lakers era ia officially over”
        and also, it’s not over….the lakers have over 70 million in the next two years, they could sign Kobe, Gasol and two more superstars to their roster…so how could it be “OVER” hahahahaha u $tupid? hahahaha

      • LakerFan says:

        Don’t click my name, Dude, its over.. let it go … Other teams in the west are younger and getting better every year. I think what he went is that the Laker era is over for now, until they re-build, but that rebuilding process can take a decade (just ask the knicks lol) … Even with all the salary cap space the Lakers have, its not a very appealing destination anymore, Kobe is on his way out, D’antoni as a coach ?? Im pretty sure even Jamison just signed with the clippers.. So dude, I know its hard but come to grips with reality lol

  16. Kimmy says:

    Go Thunder! I still say they should have gotten some sort of replacement for Hardin/Martin. Oh well.

  17. natefilewood says:

    Goodness me… I hate the offseason…

  18. OKC says:

    I notice Orlando is pretty high on the list of player continuation. With a high lottery pick in this up coming high talent draft they could have some special in 2-3 years.