2011-2012 NBA TransactionsI did this a few years ago and ran it again for this season. I graph the number of games each team was behind from the leader of each division (West and East), on the X-axis, with the number of player transactions each team made during the season, on the Y-axis. I believe it confirms three well-known facts:
- bad , lottery teams make a lot of desperate roster moves to improve,
- ELITE, contending teams make a lot of ancillary moves to shore up their roster to compete for a title run,
- playoff, non-elite, non-contending teams just do enough to get by
This is the raw data. You will notice the standard deviation of number of transactions for the East is much higher than the West. I'd conjecture this is because the West was far more dominant this year
The big panic teams this year were NYK, NJN, and GSW. Golden State was under pressure with first year coach Mark Jackson and their promise to be in the playoffs this year after a 4 or 5 year rebuilding period has resulted in little to nothing. Their largest move came mid-season sending away franchise star, Monta Ellis in an "addition by subtraction" trade where they received nothing back and then flipped it for more nothing (Stephen Jackson flipped to San Antonio for Richard Jefferson). New York Knicks are the usual train wreck and the New Jersey Nets aren't even worth discussing, since they really are just a farm team at this point (a constant rotating door for NBA D-League auditions). Normally the Bobcats would be on this list but they simply rolled over and died, setting the all-time worst win-record in NBA history.
In conclusion, a lot of this season was just a holding pattern for teams in the middle of the pack to see what they had and let their youngsters grow. I see this above with Utah, Minny, Milwaukee, Detroit, and Houston. Next season it's back to business and should see a flurry of activity with the new CBA in place and the amnesties in effect. Last but not least, the Grizzlies prove again to stay right in the middle of the pack here with 8 transactions made. Both years I did this (2009-2010 and 2011-2012) they have been right around the mean on this stat, which corresponds to their "mid-level" status as a half-decent team capable of sneaking into the playoffs.