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Punctuated Equilibrium: The NBA's Greatest One-Year Turnarounds

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Punctuated Equilibrium: The NBA's Greatest One-Year Turnarounds

In evolutionary biology, Punctuated equilibrium is a theory which describes speciation (the branching of one species into another) as a sporadic process, characterised by extended periods of stasis, followed by brief, localized and quickly occurring jumps, known as cladogenesis.

In basketball, teams often improve through gradual, incremental processes. You trade for a supporting player here, you draft a future star there, and over time you have yourselves a contender.

Examples of this approach include the most recent Pistons, the Threepeat and current Laker Champions, and the Bulls Dynasty. In evolutionary terms, they improve through what is called anagenesis.

Sometimes, however, teams evolve in a manner which more closely resembles cladogenesis. It's sudden and dramatic.

Often, the team that emerges from the change is a completely different animal, orders of magnitude more evolved, more dominant, and more successful than it once was.

So lets take a look at Punctuated equilibrium, NBA style: The greatest one-season turnarounds ever...

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