Noah Graham/Getty Images
30. Golden State Warriors (15-50)
Since the season is over for the Warriors and the rest of this slide’s occupants, we’ll look at their season from a more macro perspective than a power ranking typically does.
There’s no getting around it; the Warriors were terrible this season. The obvious caveat is that Klay Thompson missed the entire campaign, and Stephen Curry missed most of it. Kevin Durant leaving didn’t help.
But even in the 86 minutes in which Curry shared the floor with Draymond Green this season, Golden State was minus-43.
29. Detroit Pistons (20-46)
Detroit finished the season 24th in simple rating system (SRS combines point differential and strength of schedule), but the Pistons predictably unraveled after the Andre Drummond trade.
From that point to the end of the campaign, Detroit was dead last in net points per 100 possessions at minus-9.1. It went 1-12 in that 13-game stretch.
With Drummond gone, the team will obviously pivot to a different future. And despite stellar play from 24-year-old Christian Wood, that future is murky.
28. Atlanta Hawks (20-47)
The Hawks have a great top two in place with Trae Young and John Collins. Atlanta was minus-1.7 points per 100 possessions with those two on the floor, compared to minus-7.6 overall. And the idea of starting Clint Capela alongside them is intriguing.
But the rest of the roster should probably be considered available, or at least in an evaluation phase.
27. Chicago Bulls (22-43)
Chicago’s two highest-paid players, Otto Porter and Zach LaVine, only shared the floor for 419 possessions this season. The Bulls posted a solid plus-2.0 net rating in those possessions.
But they don’t get points for what might’ve been without injuries. And in the nearly 4,000 possessions in which LaVine played without Porter, Chicago had a minus-5.1 net rating that ranked in the 25th percentile.
The biggest issue was the team’s inability to make shots. Among the Bulls’ top 10 in total field-goal attempts, only Wendell Carter and Ryan Arcidiacono had above-average effective field-goal percentages (eFG%).
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-46)
But this season, sophomore guard Collin Sexton became a ray of hope for the franchise. Only nine players in the league currently match or exceed his marks for points per game, threes per game and three-point percentage. And he’s the youngest of that bunch by nearly a year.
If he can expand his playmaking for teammates, Sexton has an All-Star’s ceiling. If one or two of the other youngsters hits, Cleveland could have a nice path back to relevance.
25. Charlotte Hornets (23-42)
The Hornets and point guard Devonte’ Graham were one of the league’s feel-good stories in the early going of 2019-20.
From the start of the season through his 40-point game on Dec. 11, Graham averaged 20.0 points, 7.6 assists and 3.8 threes, with a 53.8 eFG%. Since then, Graham has averaged 16.8 points, 7.4 assists and 3.2 threes, with a 46.2 eFG%.
Following the downturn, Graham may be another question mark on a roster filled with them.
The old guard, represented by Nicolas Batum and Cody Zeller, seem more like memories than part of any future plans. Miles Bridges still brings some intrigue, but that has been accompanied by inconsistency. Terry Rozier averaged a career-high 18.0 points and shot 40.7 percent from three, but the three-year, $56.7 million deal he signed last summer still feels like a reach. P.J. Washington, the rookie stretch big who shot 37.4 percent from three, may be the biggest reason for optimism.
The sum of these parts leads to wondering whether there’s anything the Hornets can do in the short term to progress from hovering just below mediocrity.
24. New York Knicks (21-45)
Difficult as it may be to believe from the team that is dead last in winning percentage over the last 20 years, the Knicks showed signs of life under interim head coach Mike Miller.
They started the season with David Fizdale, who went 4-18 (.182) before being fired. Miller went 17-27 (.386), including an 8-9 stretch from Feb. 1 on to the end of the campaign.
And over those final 17 contests, New York had a defense that actually threatened top-half-of-the-league status in points allowed per 100 possessions.
Center Mitchell Robinson deserves some credit for that (he leads the NBA in blocks per 75 possessions over the last two seasons). And RJ Barrett, Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox all possess various levels of potential.
If they can maintain some semblance of stability going forward, it’s not hard to imagine this young core competing for a playoff spot one day.
23. Minnesota Timberwolves (19-45)
D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns appeared in just one game together. They shared the floor for 25 minutes, and the Wolves were outscored 74-88 in that stretch.
Still, at least from an offensive perspective, it’s hard not to get excited about this duo’s fit and potential. And with solid recent acquisitions like Malik Beasley, Juan Hernangomez and James Johnson supporting that top two, Minnesota being pesky down the stretch would not have surprised.
Now, Timberwolves fans have to wait out a prolonged and atypical offseason in which Beasley enters restricted free agency.