2011 Final Report Cards for Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and All 30 NBA Teams

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2011

2011 Final Report Cards for Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and All 30 NBA Teams

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    The NBA regular season and the vast majority of the postseason is now in the books.

    As a Mavericks fan, my excitement level for the NBA Finals is off the charts.  When they went in 2006, I was living outside the country and didn't see a second of the action.  

    Let's hope Dirk gets his much-deserved revenge this year!

    Anyway, moving on from my biases.  This year, there were teams that performed above, below and right at expectations.

    Here are the final report cards for all 30 squads...

    You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter   @_Andy_Bailey

Atlanta Hawks

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    Regular Season W-L: 44-38 

    Postseason W-L: 6-6

    The Atlanta Hawks seem to have become the league's perennial underachievers.  They have enough raw talent to win 50 games every year, but their lack of discipline is a plague they've yet to escape.

    At times, Atlanta appeared to have the most stagnant offense in the league.  

    All season long, there were way too many isolation situations with Joe Johnson or Jamal Crawford. And during those isos, everyone else on the team tended to just stand around.

    The Hawks were 26th in points per game, but still get an OK grade on offense because they were in the middle of the pack in points per shot.

    Because of their athleticism, they managed to play fairly solid defense this year.  And their first-round upset of Orlando was a lot more than many expected out of them.

    Offense: C-

    Defense: B+

    Postseason: B

    Overall: C

Boston Celtics

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    Regular Season W-L: 56-26 

    Postseason W-L: 5-4

    Ever since the "big three" came together in 2007, championships have been the goal for this team each year.  Falling in the second round is a huge disappointment to Boston's fans and players.

    During the regular season, they played quite well despite some injury problems.  They may have been 23rd in the league in points per game, but that was more a product of their system.

    In terms of efficiency, they were great.  Boston was fifth in the league in points per shot attempt.  

    Their defense was typically stellar, as they gave up the fewest points of any team in the NBA.

    Offense: A

    Defense: A+

    Postseason: D

    Overall: B-

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Regular Season W-L: 34-48

    Charlotte took a step back this season.  Last year, they made it to the playoffs for the first time in team history.  This year, they finished 10th in the East (three games back of the last playoff spot).

    They were abysmal on offense all year long, averaging the second fewest points per game in the NBA. Their defense was better, but that wasn't great, either.

    Offense: D-

    Defense: C

    Overall: D

Chicago Bulls

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    Regular Season W-L: 62-20 

    Postseason W-L: 9-7

    The problem with Chicago's offense is blatantly, almost painfully, obvious.  The Bulls have one player who can score in a pinch, and that's it.

    After Derrick Rose, their offensive options are unappealing at best.

    Rose is a great player and athlete, but he's a pretty inefficient scorer.  He needs a premier scorer with him so he can use his deft point-guard instincts.

    Defensively, this team is elite (despite having a starting power forward who was berated by many for not playing defense all year long).

    Given their youth, and the makeup of their roster, we should be impressed that Chicago made the conference finals.  However, when you're the league's top overall seed, the expectation is a title.

    Offense: C+

    Defense: A+

    Postseason: C+

    Overall: B+

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Regular Season W-L: 19-63 

    I remember seeing a friend of mine on the night of "The Decision."  After LeBron told the world he'd be taking his "talents to South Beach," I told my friend that Cleveland would be lucky to win 25 games.

    Well, luck seemed to be the last thing on the Cavaliers' side this year (up until the draft lottery, of course).

    Hopefully, the magic of Nick Gilbert and the elusive ping-pong balls will help this franchise get back on its feet after the heist LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh pulled on them.

    Offense: D-

    Defense: D-

    Overall: D-

Dallas Mavericks

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    Regular Season W-L: 57-25 

    Postseason W-L: 12-3

    Whether they win the title or not, Dallas had a fantastic season.

    The Mavs were tied for fifth in points per shot, third in adjusted field-goal percentage and seventh in opponents' points per shot.

    The Mavericks are one of two teams that aren't done with this year's season.  Until they are, I can't give them a final grade.

    Contrary to public opinion, Dallas is definitely the better overall team in this matchup.  Miami has the advantage at shooting guard and small forward, but they aren't even close to Dallas anywhere else. 

    That said, if the Mavericks lose to the Heat, it will be a huge disappointment for the organization.

    On the other hand, if they win, they'll obviously walk away with an A+ from me.

    Offense: A-

    Defense: A

    Postseason: Incomplete

    Overall: Incomplete

Denver Nuggets

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    Regular Season W-L: 50-32 

    Postseason W-L: 1-4

    Considering everything the Denver Nuggets went through this past season, I can't help but be impressed with the way they played.

    Everyone seemed to ignore the constant attention from the media over the rampant Carmelo trade rumors, and they played pretty well up until the All-Star break.

    Following the trade, the team played even better (offensively and defensively).

    They ended the season averaging more points per game and more points per shot than any other team in the NBA.

    They would have liked to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.  Considering the fact that this group had only been together a couple months, we shouldn't have expected much from them in the postseason.

    Offense: A+

    Defense: C

    Postseason: C

    Overall: B-

Detroit Pistons

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    Regular Season W-L: 30-52 

    Right now, this organization is a complete mess.  

    On the court, head coach John Kuester doesn't seem to have any control over hot-headed veterans like Tracy McGrady and Richard Hamilton.  

    In the front office, Joe Dumars has made one bad move after another over the last few years.

    I would say it's time for them to blow things up and start over, but they have a few contracts that will make that a difficult thing to do.

    A recent report suggesting that Richard Hamilton could be on his way out is a good start.

    Offense: D+

    Defense: D

    Overall: D

Golden State Warriors

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    Regular Season W-L: 36-46

    Golden State has one of the most talented guard tandems in the NBA in Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry. Their forwards (Dorrell Wright and David Lee) are both solid.

    However, the pieces just don't seem to be fitting together that well, particularly in the backcourt.  Ellis and Curry are both combo guards of pretty much the same physical build.

    Their lack of size led to major defensive issues on the perimeter.  Curry has clearly shown the ability to develop into an All-Star caliber point guard, and 6'3" is a good height for that position.

    It is not, however, a good height for a shooting guard.  I understand that Ellis has been Golden State's most productive player for years, but trading him might be the most logical option right now.

    A swap of Ellis for Andre Iguodala works financially, and some have speculated that the 76ers' wing may be available.

    The upgrade on defense is obvious with that trade, but I think it would help them offensively as well.

    Ellis led the team in points per game, but he's not an efficient scorer.  Iguodala is a better distributor and shoots the ball less, which would free up opportunities for more efficient scorers like Wright and Curry.

    You may be a bit surprised to see Golden State receive a B- on offense, as they were seventh in points per game this year.  The reason for the mediocre grade is their inefficiency.  They were tied for 18th in points per shot.

    Offense: B-

    Defense: D

    Overall: C-

Houston Rockets

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    Regular Season W-L: 43-39 

    It's a little bit of surprising that the Houston Rockets were third in the NBA in points per game.  They put in over eight threes, 20 free throws and 105.9 points a game this past season.

    The backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin was both explosive and efficient.  

    They also got a great year out of veteran power forward Luis Scola, who averaged over 18 points and eight rebounds per game.

    The problem with Houston was defense.  They weren't awful on that end of the court, but they weren't good, either.

    They've missed the playoffs the last two years, despite having a winning record in each.

    Offense: A-

    Defense: C-

    Overall: C+

Indiana Pacers

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    Regular Season W-L: 37-45

    Postseason W-L: 1-4

    The Pacers had an up-and-down regular season, but finally started to click toward the end of the year when Tyler Hansbrough was finally inserted into the starting lineup.

    His energy and intensity lit a fire under the entire team as they charged down the stretch for a title run and a very competitive series against the top-seeded Bulls.

    In terms of numbers, the Pacers were right around the middle of the pack on offense and defense.

    Offense: C

    Defense: C

    Postseason: B-

    Overall: C

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Regular Season W-L: 32-50

    The Clippers record obviously isn't good, but they should be excited about the future.  Blake Griffin looks like the kind of player who can energize an entire franchise.

    He just completed one of the greatest rookie seasons of all time, averaging 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.

    They also have a very talented young wing in Eric Gordon, who averaged 22.3 points and 4.4 assists a game this year.

    Those two are the center of a great, young core that could be competing for a playoff spot as early as next season.

    Offense: C

    Defense: D

    Overall: C-

Los Angeles Lakers

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    Regular Season W-L: 57-25 

    Postseason W-L: 4-6

    For stretches of the regular season, the Lakers clearly looked like the best team in the NBA.  

    They finished the season in ninth place in points per game, 12th in points per shot and first in opponents' points per shot.

    The length and activity of Andrew Bynum inside made this an elite defensive team over the second half of the year.

    Then the playoffs came, and the Lakers old demons of laziness and general malaise caught up to them. They beat the Hornets 4-2, but didn't look great.  Then, of course, they were wiped out by the Mavericks.

    Offense: B+

    Defense: A+

    Postseason: F

    Overall: C-

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Regular Season W-L: 46-36 

    Postseason W-L: 7-6

    Statistically, the Memphis Grizzlies were neither great nor terrible this year.  It's the things that numbers don't measure that made their season a success.

    No team in the league embodied toughness, effort, determination, etc., like the Grizzlies did this year.

    They knocked off the top-seeded Spurs in the first round of the playoffs and nearly advanced past the Thunder and into the conference finals.

    Offense: C

    Defense: C

    Postseason: A

    Overall: B-

Miami Heat

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    Regular Season W-L: 58-24

    Postseason W-L: 12-3

    Like the Dallas Mavericks, the season isn't over for the Miami Heat.  A final grade will have to wait for LeBron and his crew of fan-hated, media-adored superstars.

    For all the attention and scrutiny this team faced, they performed very well in the regular season and they've been excellent in the playoffs.

    Despite a few close games, they've essentially steamrolled the Eastern Conference on their way to the NBA Finals.

    They are about to face a more complete team than themselves, but their superstar power has helped them overcome this situation before.

    Offense: A

    Defense: A

    Postseason: Incomplete

    Overall: Incomplete

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Regular Season W-L: 35-47

    The Milwaukee Bucks were quite possibly the most disappointing team in the NBA this past season.

    After making the playoffs last year with a rookie starting point guard, most of us expected them to progress this year and maybe even win a first-round series.

    Neither of those things happened.  The Bucks were the worst offensive team in the league (dead last in points per game and points per shot attempt).  That led to an early offseason for Milwaukee.

    The team desperately missed the presence of a traditional backup point guard who could come in for Brandon Jennings.  

    Luke Ridnour filled that role last year, and they never replaced him when he signed with Minnesota.

    Things were so bad for Milwaukee this year that many are already speculating whether Jennings may be available in this offseason's trade market.

    It's too early for them to give up on a 21-year-old point guard who has shown signs of great potential.

    Offense: F

    Defense: A-

    Overall: D+

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Regular Season W-L: 17-65

    The Minnesota Timberwolves had the worst record in the entire NBA this past season.  The biggest reason?  They allowed more points than anyone else in the league.

    Minnesota actually scored a decent amount of points as well, but the complete lack of defense made the Wolves a long shot to beat anyone.

    Somehow, though, there are things to look forward to or be positive about.

    Their starting forwards (Michael Beasley and Kevin Love) were very productive this past season and both are just 22 years old.

    They averaged right around 40 points and 21 rebounds together, and yet they both have a lot to improve on still.

    As the games of Beasley and Love grow with experience and hard work, they could become a formidable duo. 

    Offense: C

    Defense: F

    Overall: D-

New Jersey Nets

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    Regular Season W-L: 24-58

    The New Jersey Nets, like many other bad teams in the league, do have signs of life as we head into the offseason.

    The team pulled off the best trade of 2011 when it landed Deron Williams (yes, significantly better than New York landing Carmelo Anthony).

    He made everyone, especially Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries, look like much better players.

    If the team's executives can convince Williams to re-sign and lead them on the floor as they transition to Brooklyn, New Jersey could be a legitimate contender in a few years.

    Having a premier point guard (possibly the best in the league) will go a long way toward attracting other big name free agents.

    Offense: D-

    Defense: C-

    Overall: D

New Orleans Hornets

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    Regular Season W-L: 46-36

    Postseason W-L: 2-4

    New Orleans was possibly the most streaky team in the league this past season.  

    The Hornets enjoyed a few winning streaks, suffered through some losing ones, and eventually found themselves head-to-head with the Lakers for the first round of the postseason.

    They didn't get the Lakers' best shot, but still didn't have the talent to pull off the upset.

    After Chris Paul, this roster is pretty short on offensive firepower.  They were 27th in the league in points per game.

    Now they head into an offseason of uncertainty.  It seems unlikely that Paul will play for the Hornets for much longer, and he could be dealt this summer.

    Offense: D+

    Defense: B+

    Postseason: C-

    Overall: C

New York Knicks

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    Regular Season W-L: 42-40 

    Postseason W-L: 0-4

    The New York Knicks thoroughly depleted their roster to land former Nuggets superstar and all-around scoring wizard Carmelo Anthony.

    The organization understood that making the deal would likely eliminate any hope they had to compete last year, but they felt that adding Anthony could make them legitimate contenders in a couple years.

    If they can find some way to land Chris Paul (or even Tony Parker), they could be in the hunt sooner than anyone expected.

    What the team really needs is someone to instill a desire to play defense.  Whether that's a coach, Carmelo Anthony or Amar'e Stoudemire, somebody has to do it. 

    Offense: A

    Defense: D-

    Postseason: D+

    Overall: C-

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Regular Season W-L: 55-27 

    Postseason W-L: 9-8

    Russell Westbrook needs to turn that frown upside-down.  He's a very talented athlete with great basketball potential, but his demeanor may be getting in the way of his and the team's development.

    Personally, I don't think he's a point guard, but if Oklahoma City is determined to continue efforts in transitioning him, he needs to gain control of his emotions and lose the score-first style.

    Kevin Durant needs to be the unquestioned leader and first option on offense going forward.  If Westbrook accepts that, he has the physical gifts to be an elite distributor.

    Oklahoma City wasn't satisfied with losing in the conference finals, but its fans should certainly be encouraged about a team that won two playoff series and whose stars are all in their early 20s.

    Offense: A

    Defense: B-

    Postseason: B-

    Overall: B

Orlando Magic

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    Regular Season W-L: 52-30 

    Postseason W-L: 2-4

    Orlando made a major mid-season overhaul, and it looks like it didn't pay off.

    During the regular season, the team was quite good statistically.  However, it couldn't find an edge and won fewer games than the talent would suggest it should have won.

    The Magic lost to the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the first round of the playoffs, and their failure (combined with that of the Lakers) has led to a huge question.

    Will Dwight Howard be traded?

    Offense: B+

    Defense: A

    Postseason: F

    Overall: C-

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Regular Season W-L: 41-41 

    Postseason W-L: 1-4

    Outside of a couple bad contracts, Philadelphia's roster is pretty young and promising.

    Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young could develop into a very solid trio.  If Philadelphia can find a good big man over the next couple years, they could be in great shape for the future.

    Now back to those bad contracts.  It's hard to see Philadelphia being able to trade Elton Brand (I can't think of anyone who'd want to take on his deal), but the 76er could move Andre Iguodala.

    His great athleticism and defensive ability make him a great asset for a lot of teams in need of help on the wings (Clippers, Lakers, Warriors).

    The team as presently constituted played the Heat about as well as the Celtics or Bulls did.  So even if they stand pat, they'll at least be decent for a while.

    Offense: C-

    Defense: B+

    Postseason: C+

    Overall: C+

Phoenix Suns

24 of 31

    Regular Season W-L: 40-42 

    This team may be more in need of a makeover than any other in the NBA.  The Suns' all-offense, no-defense style made for exciting basketball, but never amounted to anything substantial.

    Without Amar'e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson, the Suns are a lot less talented than they were a year or two ago and finished with a losing record for the first time since Steve Nash rejoined the team.

    And speaking of Nash, it's time for the team to deal him.  He's still arguably the best offensive point guard in the NBA, so the Suns could still get a decent young player or two (or picks) for him.

    The sooner they move on from the Nash era, the sooner they can start building a team more tailored to winning a title.

    Offense: A-

    Defense: D

    Overall: C-

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Regular Season W-L: 48-34

    Postseason W-L: 2-4

    The amount of injuries the Blazers have had to overcome over the last few years is remarkable.  

    Virtually every player on the roster has spent plenty of time in street clothes, including big-name players like Brandon Roy and Greg Oden.

    Somehow, they've still managed to win plenty of regular-season games and play competitively in the postseason.

    A lot of credit should go to the coaching job of Nate McMillan, but up-and-comers Wesley Matthews and LaMarcus Aldridge have been huge as well.

    Offense: D+

    Defense: B

    Postseason: C+

    Overall: B-

Sacramento Kings

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    Regular Season W-L: 24-58

    The biggest news surrounding the Kings over the second half of the season was their possible relocation to Anaheim.

    Well, these players, and the city of Sacramento, have one more chance to prove they deserve an NBA basketball team.

    If the team does stay put, the people of Sacramento could have some very exciting basketball to watch in the future.

    Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton are all very talented, young players.  If they can add another solid piece in this year's draft, they could be in great shape.

    Maybe they should just suit up Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson in the meantime.

    Offense: D+

    Defense: D

    Overall: D+

San Antonio Spurs

27 of 31

    Regular Season W-L: 61-21 

    Postseason W-L: 2-4

    For the vast majority of the regular season, the San Antonio Spurs had by far the best record in the league.

    At times, it looked like they may have been legitimate title contenders despite their age.

    Coach Gregg Popovich turned up the tempo on offense this year and the players responded brilliantly.  They were fourth in the league in points per shot and tied for third in opponent points per shot.

    But, of course, that was all during the regular season.  The Western Conference's top seed was steamrolled by the eighth-seeded Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.

    That upset led to the restarting of a rumor mill that was churning madly last summer.  Will Tony Parker be available this offseason?

    If so, he could be a great fit for the New York Knicks. 

    Offense: A

    Defense: A

    Postseason: F

    Overall: C-

Toronto Raptors

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    Regular Season W-L: 22-60 

    Everyone knows about the struggles the Cavaliers had in their first year without LeBron James, but not many people talk about the fact that Chris Bosh's former team wasn't much better.

    Offensively, the team was just a little below average.  Defensively, they were atrocious.

    Like a lot of other teams in the league, there are big questions surrounding Toronto's biggest star. Andrea Bargnani may be available in the trade market this summer.

    He isn't a franchise centerpiece (at least not now), but Bargnani could be a great asset for several teams.  His ability to score from the outside as a seven-footer makes him a very difficult matchup.

    Offense: C-

    Defense: D-

    Overall: D

Utah Jazz

29 of 31

    Regular Season W-L: 39-43 

    The Jazz were playing solid basketball under Jerry Sloan this past year.  They weren't quite as solid as years past, but at 31-23, they did look to be headed to the playoffs.

    After the supposed feud between Sloan and star point guard Deron Williams, Sloan retired and the team absolutely tanked.

    They were awful on both ends of the floor over the remainder of the season and were just 8-20 without their Hall of Fame coach.

    Their roster is unbalanced now, but the Jazz are actually in pretty good shape compared to most teams on the brink of a rebuilding.

    They have a surplus of solid forwards and a point guard in Devin Harris, all of which could be valuable assets in the trade market.

    Plus, they have two lottery picks in this June's draft.

    Offense: C+

    Defense: D-

    Overall: C-

Washington Wizards

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    Regular Season W-L: 23-59 

    Washington was bad this year.  There's no doubt about that.  However, they do have John Wall, and he could have them in the playoffs in a couple years.

    In most seasons, a rookie who averaged 16 points and eight assists a game would almost certainly win Rookie of the Year and garner a ton of attention.

    Wall was overshadowed by Blake Griffin all year long, but he may be every bit as good a franchise cornerstone as the Clippers' big man.

    Offense: D

    Defense: D

    Overall: D