This Monday through Friday, I’m going to give my season predictions in a countdown from worst to first. The format will be three teams per post, one post in the morning and one in the afternoon. Whichever team you’re a fan of, there’s a good chance you’ll feel like I’m disrespecting them. I understand this, and I promise you I won’t take your insults personally.

30. Detroit Pistons
Seven years after the Pistons won their last NBA championship, I think the grace period for President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars is over. He is a terrible GM and I have to wonder how much nostalgia for that title and his playing career in Detroit is keeping him employed in his current job.

Does Joe even understand that his team needs to rebuild? And if he knows this, does he know how to do it properly? Based on the contracts he just approved while re-signing Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey, I have a hard time believing that. Even if the Pistons improve their talent level with high draft picks, the cap-clogging contracts of Prince and Stuckey will hold them back for at least the next two seasons.

Optimistic Pistons fans might point at sophomore center Greg Monroe as a beacon of hope, but he’s an average rebounder and a poor defender and that combination will always sour me on a big man’s potential. There just isn’t a lot of upside on this roster, unless you think Brandon Knight has Rookie of the Year potential, which I don’t.

29. Toronto Raptors
You have to give Raptors President Bryan Colangelo credit for this: As competitive as he is, he recognizes the situation the Raptors are in and he’s not even trying to make his team a playoff contender this season. There isn’t a single move he’s made since the end of last season that should lead anyone to believe that the organization isn’t trying hard to win the lottery for a stacked 2012 draft class. As a Raptors fan who is accustomed to watching bad basketball, I find it strangely refreshing to enter a season knowing that this team is going to both suck and blow, and that it’s actually in the best interest of the team’s future to do so.

After finishing the previous two seasons with the NBA’s worst defense (in terms of points allowed per 100 possessions), the hiring of new head coach Dwane Casey will probably prevent the Raptors from claiming that dishonor for three seasons in a row. Unfortunately, I expect my hometown team to be offensively challenged, particularly after they only managed to put up 75 points in their first preseason game on Sunday.

Since I’ve been managing a Raptors blog since 2002, I’m very attuned to the mindset of hardcore Raptors fans — and they’re not only aware of how terrible this team will be this season, they’ve embraced it, for the most part, because of the expected strength of the upcoming draft. Jamaal Magloire barely exceeded 500 minutes played over the past two seasons and he might be the Raptors’ starting center this season. From what I can tell, most Raptors fans are fine with this because he’s a Toronto native and he won’t veer the tank off course.

28. Charlotte Bobcats
Not all NBA Hall of Fame players who become General Managers are terrible at it, but Michael Jordan seems destined to usurp Isiah Thomas for the title of the greatest contrast between their performance as a player and their results as an executive. He emerged from the 2011 draft with an intriguing prospect in Bismack Biyombo and a proven winner in Kemba Walker, but we’ll likely have to wait until at least next season to see Biyombo’s NBA potential as his Spanish team is asking for a buyout of four million Euros to release him from his contract.

Unless Walker proves to be a transcendent player in his rookie season, it appears that Corey Maggette will be the Bobcats’ primary offensive option and that’s really all you need as evidence that this isn’t going to be a successful team in the 2011-12 season. If there’s a sliver of good news about their short-term prospects, it’s that they’re extremely unlikely to have to give up their 2012 first round draft pick which would belong to the Bulls if the Bobcats make the playoffs this season.

Update: Thanks to “Remy” in the comments for linking to this news report that Biyombo will, in fact, play for the Bobcats this season because he’s taking care of most of the buyout with his own money. Exciting! This doesn’t change where I rank the ‘cats, though.

Comments (31)

  1. I am a pistons fan, i am super happy that they made the top 30!

  2. The Toronto Raptors aren’t even the best Basketball team in Canada…. that title goes to the London Lightning of the NBL.

  3. Looking at the Bobcats’ starting lineup makes me scared for the Raptors’ lottery hopes.

  4. Thanks, Remy. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

  5. Is this a prediction of how each team finishes the season record-wise, or just the shape they’re in going forward? If it’s the latter, I might understand putting Detroit at 30, but I’m kind of confused if it’s the former. The Pistons certainly aren’t good, but they won 30 games last season and are returning most of their roster (in addition to Jerebko returning from injury). Somehow I don’t think Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox make that significant a difference.

    Greg Monroe’s total rebound percentage last season was a pretty stout 16.5% — higher than Pau Gasol’s and identical to DeAndre Jordan’s — so I’m not entirely sure where you’re getting “average rebounder” from. As for his defense, he’s got the size for it and quick hands. Last year’s team was kind of a mess defensively and he was a rookie, so the combination of more experience and working with Lawrence Frank should improve Monroe’s defense a bit.

  6. By calling this a 2011-12 season prediction, I’m saying that I’m predicting where the teams will finish this season. As for Monroe’s rebounding, I may have underrated him a bit, but 17 players who played at least 1,600 minutes had a higher TRB% last season

  7. Can you put me down as a hardcore Raptors fan who is completely frightened that the 2011/2012 Raptors will overachieve? They’re young, they’re healthy, they’ve got something to prove and a dose of the Simmons ‘nobody believed in us’ edge. Most importantly, they’re finally abandoning the ‘mo shats’ philosophy, and it seems that Colangelo’s beloved Caliper personality test had nothing to do with off-season trades and acquisitions.

  8. @H to the Immo

    Man i agree with you.. i have this stupid strange feeling the raptors will over achieve.. sigh

  9. all three of your predictions will turn out to be wrong. Sacramento and t’wolves will be in the bottom 3 and the raptors, bobcats wont. Pistons finish 28th

  10. Hmmmm wonder if Bismack has a Jordan endorsement deal on the way, heh-heh.

  11. Hassaan, Timberwolves will be better, sounds crazy, but they’re not a bottom 3 team this year. And New Orleans doesn’t like that (they own their 1st round pick)
    Well coached with Rick Adelman
    Great front-court with Love and Be-Easy, and my pick for rookie of the year, Derrick Williams
    And, the back court is deep with Rubio, Flynn, Ridnour, and Wes Johnson

  12. Dumars has done a terrible job but I dont think the Pistons will be a bottom three team. I expect to see Cleveland in the bottom three again, probably with the Raptors and Charlotte.

  13. Count me as ^not worried we will overachieve. There is a difference between being young and being talented. Our players are young, they are not that special in any other way.

    If I were colangelo I would trade anything else I could for an additional draft pick, this team is dire.

  14. Current Vegas odds for the Pistons, Raptors and Cavs: 200/1


  15. Um I know the Raptors situation is bad but saying they don’t have talent??? Critics point out Demar has some amazing natural gifts and it’s a matter of him achieving optimizing them. There are no Kobe’s, Lebrons, Wades or Durants on the team but let’s not sell them short.

  16. Listening to Brian Colangelo and Raptors staff on media interviews trying to sugarcoat as clever as possible: “raptors will suck this year” is the only entertainment i will get from this 2011-2012 Toronto Raptors :(
    I have to disagree with you Scott, I personally believe the Raptors should be ranked #30 (because they WILL finish last)
    As a Raptors fan (sigh).. I feel as though this franchise has been “rebuilding” for the last decade.
    However it is unfortunate that a lot of elite players want to play for bigger martket teams in the U.S…. I cannot blame them though because Raptors fans only show up when the Leafs are not playing..
    The shortend season will have no affect on the Raptors except for they will have less days to wait for the lottery draft.. Raptors will finish with a 16-50 record *worse in the league.

  17. i disagree with chan, the raps will make the playoffs this year!!!

  18. Sak is right and its pretty obvious to me that chan and the other haters do not know what they are talking about. The raptors signed argubaly the best center in the league in Jamal Mgloire. He made the all-star team and he led the Heat to the finals. Also the raptors have Andrea Bargnani and i think he will become a superstar this year and make some noise for the MVP. jose calderon is argubly the best pg in the east. I dont know why everybody thinks the raptors will be bad again.

  19. Dennis… troll fail

  20. Though the Raptors are sure to not playoffs this year, at least they have a new defensive direction.

    If there’s one advantage that the Raptors do have this year, it is that they have a fairly young roster, which could help on the increased back to backs and triple headers. I say they end up around 22-44.

    But I think that they really messed up by passing on Knight and Walker. You could argue that those two could be better than Irving, but you really don’t know since he only played 11 games at Duke. Of all the positions they need to upgrade, PG has to be on the top of the list. Next years draft is full of bigs, they passed up on two great PG’s for a PF/C type player that they could have easily gotten at this year’s draft. The guards will be a little harder to come by in this year’s draft.

  21. This is the first thing I have read from Scott Carefoot. I wonder how many of the negative things he says about people that he would say to their face. I have no argument with his analysis and guesses. I just don’t see the need for personal put downs. It sounds so much like the trash talk that drives many of us a step back from the NBA.

  22. Sorry, did that guy say that Jamal Magloire is the key to Raptor success…?

  23. I agree with chan, the raps should be last place. As soon as we get more athletic players on the roster and enough of this euro trash the raps with will be on top! Also, players don’t want to come to toronto because our fans are not passionate.

  24. Scott, I would have to disagree. The raptors shall be the worst team in the league. They have 0 rebounding ability, lathargic bigs and one of the worst backcourts… Yes raptor fans, Caldarone was not the savior we thought he was… Surprise surprise. Caldarone has the defensive capabilities of a pylon. The additions we have made this year by our glorified GM have shown us its time to pray for an awful season. The silver lining will be to watch demar solidify himself as a threat at the 2 or 3.

    I feel that Cleveland is next in line as a contender for worst of the worst. Still battling with their LBJ demons will have some young talent injections but not enough to get out of the basement.

    And to round out the top 3….the Charlotte bobcats. They simply stink. I love kemba, but as such as a small pg leading a team that lost all of its offensive capabilities other than Magette, will not win more than 12 games.


  25. ill love the raps no matter what <3

  26. You’re dead wrong with this one.. Raptors are the worst by leaps and bounds

  27. I know what you’re saying re: MJ in Charlotte as an executive but he’s not, nor has he ever been the GM. Thankfully Rich Cho is on board now, and that is perhaps MJ’s best move as owner. No one can really tell who has the most say but here’s hoping it’s mostly Cho. I think they’re headed in the right direction and Bob Johnson didn’t exactly leave the team in a great position.

  28. I know this man did not use the term LEAD when talking about Magloire and Calderon arguably the best PG in the east?!?!? That is a real short argument, for real contenders to that title see Rondo, D Will, and D Rose. Calderon…..a joke!

  29. Patrick, the guys is clearly nuts. I laughed out loud when he said magloire lead the heat to the finals.. Someone explain to him who lebron James and dwyane wade are.

  30. Unless Walker proves to be a transcendent player in his rookie season, it appears that Corey Maggette will be the Bobcats

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