Posts Tagged ‘Rod Higgins’

Of chefs, grocers, unhappy campers and completely missed boats

Friday, December 24th, 2010

It is truly amazing how otherwise extremely intelligent people can become wholly mis-directed when they watch and attempt to decipher correctly what has actually happened on a basketball court, concerning the success or failure of a specific team in a particular season.

——————————————————

The Person Buying the Groceries Might Be the Problem in Charlotte

Let’s summarize where I think the problem lies in Charlotte. 

- Larry Brown was one of the few coaches we found to have a statistically significant impact on player performance (Brown’s impact was only significant at the 10% level).  Yes, Wallace has declined. But I am not sure that is about Brown (I am not sure why that has happened, but I don’t think it is about Brown).

- Even if Wallace had not declined, though, the Bobcats were not likely to be as good as they were last year.  This is because MJ hasn’t been able to find very many productive players.

And now we hear Jordan really wanted Brook Lopez and he might want Baron Davis. If these stories are true, that again doesn’t speak well of the talent evaluation skills of Jordan.   Remember, Jordan once drafted Kwame Brown with the first pick in the draft (a player who is once again with Jordan in Charlotte) and Adam Morrison with the 3rd pick (a player who Jordan could easily have again).  So the track record is not encouraging.  And it is this track record that leads me to think the problem in Charlotte wasn’t the person making the dinner, it was the person buying the groceries.

Let me close by saying I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and/or a Happy Holidays!!  And although Phil Jackson doesn’t want to work on Christmas, I think most NBA fans are happy he is. Jackson should also remember if he coached the Bobcats, he probably wouldn’t be working on Christmas (yes, Jackson is good, but even the Zen Master couldn’t save this collection of players).  But then — like Larry Brown (and now Paul Silas) — Jackson would have other issues to worry about.

- DJ

——————————————————

Larry Brown has been a very successful basketball coach over the course of his Hall Of Fame career.

Last season, Larry Brown did a terrific job coaching the Charlotte Bobcats to their first ever playoff appearance, by putting his players in the best possible position to accentuate their individual – and, therefore, collective – strengths while, simultaneously, minimizing their respective weaknesses.

This season, however, Larry Brown stopped doing that … primarily because the cast of players at his disposal was no longer to his liking … and by Game 28 on the Bobcats’ schedule had, instead, become a major factor behind the poor performance of the players on this team, many of whom were no longer listening to what he had to say as their head coach.

Responsibility for what has happened with the Charlotte Bobcats, so far, this season, lies with the following individuals, in this specific order:

1. Michael Jordan, i.e. the person who pays for the groceries;

2. Rod Higgins, i.e. the person who buys the groceries;

3. Larry Brown [and his coaching staff], i.e. the cook who makes the meals;

4. The Leaders amongst their collection of 14 players, i.e. the primary consumers of the meals;

5. The Followers amongst their collection of 14 players, i.e. the secondary consumers of the meals.

The operation of a successful NBA franchise is based upon a “top down” leadership model with 5 specific levels.

Hopefully, Michael Jordan’s recent decision to replace Larry Brown – i.e. the embodiment of an ‘unhappy camper‘ – with Paul Silas – i.e. the embodiment of a ‘happy camper‘ – will mean that the Bobcats have now found a head coach who is more in tune with the specific strengths and weaknesses of the individual players on THIS TEAM, for THIS SEASON and beyond.

Each year in the NBA is different from those which have preceded it.

Unless a team has the right coach … who is actually the ‘right fit’ for its specific collection of players … it has zero chance of reaching its ‘maximum capacity’. 

Raptors vs Bobcats, evaluating individual match-ups

Friday, September 24th, 2010

It is interesting to read starkly different appraisals of the situations which exist today in Toronto and Charlotte for their respective NBA teams.

———————–

Grading The Offseason – The “Special” Teams

- Traded Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinça for Erick Dampier, Eduardo Najera and Matt Carroll

A deal that was apparently done for economic reasons, but one where they actually end up paying more money in the long run and lose their best center. The deal Michael Jordan nixed at the last minute sending Chandler and Boris Diaw to Toronto for Calderon and Reggie Evans would have benefitted them more. This deal simply doesn’t make sense from an economic standpoint or a basketball standpoint.

- Signed Kwame Brown

Does acquiring Kwame Brown ever work out well for Jordan? Does Kwame know Jordan owns the team? Is Jordan trying to prove something here? I just don’t know.

- Signed Shaun Livingston

Now when Shaun Livingston was drafted by the Clippers in 2004, I thought Livingston had a chance to be a very special player. Unfortunately one of the most gruesome injuries in professional sports derailed what could have been a great career. Livingston still has talent and I’m hoping that he finally gets his career back on track in Charlotte. He should get a decent chance with only DJ Augustin the only other real competition at PG on the roster.

- Waived Erick Dampier

Instead of using Dampier’s non-guaranteed contract to better the team, they simply waive him to save money. Bobcat fans must be so proud.

Summary

I have no idea what Jordan is doing in Charlotte. It may be that he makes most of his deals while golfing, so doesn’t pay much attention, but while Charlotte did well last season, making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, they only won 44 games and didn’t improve themselves over the summer, and in fact got a little worse. That wouldn’t be bad if they had a young team, but their three top returning scorers (Jackson, Wallace and Diaw) are all at least 28 years old, so it’s not like they’re likely getting better. The team’s average age is relatively old 27.3. If I had to point to a perfect example of how NOT to build a franchise, it would be Charlotte. A team mired in mediocrity with little hope of getting better, but good enough to keep their head above water.

Jordan is probably the worst type of owner. He’s cost conscious but also not the greatest judge of talent.

———————–

I don’t understand the negativity

I’ve been reading a lot of “It’s going to be a long season” comments concerning the Bobcats.

I’ve got to tell you I’m surprised by that. And since many of you have accused me of being Mr. Negative, I’d think you’d listen.

I’m not saying everything is rosy. I think they’ll be about the same team they were by the end of last season: A group that will be one of the last three franchises in the East to make the playoffs, and will likely be eliminated in the first round. But 12 months ago, they weren’t that.

I predicted in the preseason a year ago that they wouldn’t reach the playoffs with the roster that showed up for training camp. They wouldn’t have. The Stephen Jackson trade made them viable because they had nothing vaguely resembling a first offensive option.

I had this fascinating conversation with Celtics coach Doc Rivers a month after the Jackson trade, following up on what Rivers said following that opening-night blowout. Rivers said the Bobcats were so bad offensively that, if league rules allowed it, you would have played them in a college-style zone with every defender leaving one foot in the lane.

Jackson demands double-teams, which is something you have to elicit from the other team. He might be high-maintenance and he might be expensive, but he addresses a problem.

I read a lot in your comments about how shaky the Bobcats are at point guard and center. I totally agree. But as a guy who is constantly accused of being a glass-half-empty sort, I’m surprised you miss the point that they’ve never entered the preseason with more collective talent and experience.

That’s no small thing, by the way. In order to fix the roster, the Bobcats have made a slew of in-season trades the past two seasons. Some were good. Some were bad (see: Gana Diop). They acquired Boris Diaw and Raja Bell in Larry Brown’s first season. Then they got Jackson early in Brown’s second season and Tyrus Thomas just before the deadline.

Brown welcomes change, and is better than most coaches at adapting on the fly. But change is hard (just ask Diaw, who I think is still trying to find his role, post-Jackson).

The point here is the Bobcats are a better team than they’ve ever been entering training camp, and less likely to be shaken up than any team in the Brown era. Some continuity might be a plus. They have material to work with in Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Diaw and Tyrus Thomas.

———————–

In the judgment of this corner, however …

 

EVALUATING INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS, 2010-2011

 

TORONTO RAPTORS

15 YEARS, 5 SEASONS OF PLAYOFFS

2009-2010, 40-42, 9th Place

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

6 YEARS, 1 SEASON OF PLAYOFFS

20019-2010, 44-38, 7th Place

Pos

PERSONNEL

ADV

Pos

PERSONNEL

STARTERS

PG

Calderon/J

=

PG

Augustin/DJ

OG

Weems/S

à

OG

Jackson/S

SF

DeRozan/D

à

SF

Wallace/G

PF

Johnson/A

à

PF

Diaw/B

C

Bargnani/A

=

C

Brown/K

0

+3

KEY SUBS

PG

Jack/J

=

PG

Livingston/S

OG

Barbosa/L

à

OG

Henderson/G

SF

Kleiza/L

=

SF

Brown/D

PF

Evans/R

à

PF

Thomas/T

C

Andersen/D

à

C

Mohammed/N

0

+3

EXTRAS/OUTS

PG

Banks/M

=

PG

Collins/S

SF

Dupree/R

à

PG

Crittenton/J

SF

Wright/J

=

OG

Carroll/M

PF

Dorsey/J

à

SF/PF

Najera/E

C

Alabi/S

à

C

Diop/D

 

 

?

PF/SF

Miles/D

0

+3

LEADERSHIP

HC

Jay Triano

à

HC

Larry Brown

GM

Bryan Colangelo

ß

GM

Rod Higgins

Owner

MLSE

à

Owner

Michael Jordan

+1

+2

OVERALL

+1

+11

it really isn’t even close at all …

 

TOTAL WINS PER SEASON

 

YEAR

TORONTO RAPTORS

CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

09-10

40

44

08-09

33

35

07-08

41

32

06-07

47

33

05-06

27

26

04-05

33

18

… at least, at this point, and going forward this season. 

Who’s da man fuelling the good play of the Bobcats?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

According to Tim Povtak, a senior writer at NBA Fanhouse …

Aging Theo Ratliff Has Sparked Bobcats’ Playoff Rise

The Bobcats have younger big men like Tyrus Thomas and Tyson Chandler. They have bigger guys like DeSagna Diop and Nazr Mohammed still on the roster. Yet it’s the well-traveled Ratliff, still viewed as an undersized center, who has become their anchor in the late-season drive.
Ratliff, who is playing for the ninth different team in his 14-year NBA career, was obtained from the San Antonio Spurs Feb. 18 in a cup-of-coffee trade (actually, for a 2016 second-round pick) at the insistence of coach Larry Brown

, who was looking for someone he could trust.
Ratliff, who turns 37 next month, hardly was playing for the veteran Spurs

, but Brown quickly put him into his starting lineup. The Bobcats have won seven of his 11 starts, including the last six consecutive games.
He was especially instrumental in their 96-89 victory Sunday over the Orlando Magic

– a potential first-round playoff opponent — and particularly down the stretch when he thwarted a potential home-team comeback.
He had 10 points and nine rebounds in 32 minutes, but statistics never have been his forte. In the last six minutes: he blocked a shot by Vince Carter, who tried to drive on him. He changed two driving layups, by Jameer Nelson and Mickael Pietrus

, that became misses. He also grabbed an offensive rebound to keep another possession alive.
“Theo looks like when I had him back in Philly,” said Brown, who coached Ratliff from 1998-2001 with the Sixers. “Only thing, he never got any shots back then. Everyone just told him to rebound the ball.”
 

 

———————————–

However …

If you take a closer look at the individual Game Logs for 3 specific players on the Bobcats’ current roster [shown below]:

Theo Ratliff’s Game Log This Season For Charlotte, since Feb 19

Regular Season

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Mar 14

@ ORL

W 96-89

1

32:05

4

10

40.0

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

2

7

9

1

2

0

1

4

10

 Mar 12

LAC

W 106-98

1

14:44

3

3

100.0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

1

1

0

2

0

0

3

6

 Mar 10

@ PHI

W 102-87

1

22:15

0

3

0.0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

1

2

3

0

0

2

1

1

0

 Mar 9

MIA

W 83-78

1

18:52

3

3

100.0

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

0

2

2

1

2

0

1

3

8

 Mar 6

GSW

W 101-90

1

18:23

4

6

66.7

0

0

N/A

3

3

100.0

3

2

5

0

2

0

1

1

11

 Mar 5

LAL

W 98-83

1

16:41

0

1

0.0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

3

3

1

0

1

2

4

0

 Mar 3

@ BOS

L 80-104

1

27:08

3

8

37.5

0

0

N/A

4

4

100.0

2

4

6

2

0

0

1

4

10

 Mar 1

DAL

L 84-89

1

26:39

1

4

25.0

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

1

1

2

0

1

0

1

0

4

 Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Feb 26

@ MEM

W 93-89

1

29:06

2

5

40.0

0

0

N/A

1

2

50.0

1

3

4

0

2

0

4

4

5

 Feb 24

@ UTH

L 93-102

1

31:09

2

3

66.7

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

1

3

4

0

0

0

4

2

6

 Feb 22

@ LAC

L 94-98

1

30:53

5

6

83.3

0

0

N/A

0

3

0.0

1

1

2

0

1

0

2

2

10

 Feb 20

@ MIL

L 88-93

0

11:58

1

3

33.3

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

3

2

 Feb 19

CLE

W 110-93

0

18:30

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

3

2

5

1

0

0

2

2

0

 

 

Tyrus Thomas’ Game Log This Season For Charlotte, since Feb 19

Regular Season

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Mar 14

@ ORL

W 96-89

0

20:40

3

9

33.3

0

0

N/A

3

4

75.0

2

7

9

0

2

2

0

3

9

 Mar 12

LAC

W 106-98

0

18:27

3

8

37.5

0

0

N/A

0

1

0.0

0

4

4

3

0

2

0

1

6

 Mar 10

@ PHI

W 102-87

0

23:49

4

6

66.7

0

0

N/A

2

4

50.0

0

5

5

3

3

2

1

2

10

 Mar 9

MIA

W 83-78

0

26:30

2

7

28.6

0

0

N/A

2

4

50.0

2

2

4

0

1

1

1

1

6

 Mar 6

GSW

W 101-90

0

18:20

2

8

25.0

0

0

N/A

1

2

50.0

2

3

5

3

1

0

0

5

5

 Mar 5

LAL

W 98-83

0

31:17

7

12

58.3

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

2

7

9

0

1

0

2

4

14

 Mar 3

@ BOS

L 80-104

0

26:37

5

12

41.7

0

0

N/A

5

6

83.3

3

7

10

0

2

1

2

5

15

 Mar 1

DAL

L 84-89

0

29:26

7

16

43.8

0

1

0.0

2

2

100.0

3

9

12

1

2

1

2

4

16

 Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Feb 26

@ MEM

W 93-89

0

21:51

6

7

85.7

0

0

N/A

1

4

25.0

2

3

5

3

3

0

3

2

13

 Feb 24

@ UTH

L 93-102

0

30:55

6

8

75.0

0

0

N/A

8

9

88.9

0

3

3

2

1

3

1

5

20

 Feb 22

@ LAC

L 94-98

0

25:12

5

9

55.6

0

1

0.0

0

0

N/A

1

3

4

0

2

2

3

4

10

 Feb 20

@ MIL

L 88-93

0

30:54

5

10

50.0

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

3

8

11

2

4

1

4

5

12

 Feb 19

CLE

W 110-93

0

25:12

3

9

33.3

0

0

N/A

3

4

75.0

1

11

12

2

2

0

6

4

9

 

 

Tyson Chandler’s Game Logs This Season for Charlotte, since Feb 19 

Regular Season

FG

3PT

FT

Rebounds

Misc

Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Mar 14

@ ORL

W 96-89

0

15:55

3

4

75.0

0

0

N/A

1

2

50.0

3

0

3

0

0

0

0

5

7

 Mar 12

LAC

W 106-98

0

31:56

5

7

71.4

0

0

N/A

3

4

75.0

6

3

9

0

4

0

0

2

13

 Mar 10

@ PHI

W 102-87

0

15:03

3

3

100.0

0

0

N/A

6

9

66.7

2

3

5

0

0

0

0

0

12

 Mar 9

MIA

W 83-78

0

16:42

2

2

100.0

0

0

N/A

1

2

50.0

2

2

4

0

2

1

1

1

5

 Mar 6

GSW

W 101-90

0

07:18

1

2

50.0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

2

2

4

0

0

0

1

0

2

 Mar 5

LAL

W 98-83

0

15:16

2

2

100.0

0

0

N/A

2

2

100.0

0

4

4

0

1

0

1

1

6

 Mar 3

@ BOS

L 80-104

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Mar 1

DAL

L 84-89

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Date

Opp

Score

GS

Min

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

M

A

Pct

Off

Def

Tot

Ast

TO

Stl

Blk

PF

Pts

 Feb 26

@ MEM

W 93-89

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Feb 24

@ UTH

L 93-102

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Feb 22

@ LAC

L 94-98

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Feb 20

@ MIL

L 88-93

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 Feb 19

CLE

W 110-93

0

0

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

N/A

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

 

you should be able to see clearly that the team’s recently improved performance has actually coincided with the return to good health of Tyson Chandler [i.e. Charlotte's Back-up Center] and the gradual integration of Tyrus Thomas [i.e. Charlotte's Back-up Power Forward] into their primary rotation, as much as [or, perhaps, even more than] the role and production of Theo Ratliff, as their Starting Center.

When a team like Charlotte finally turns the corner and morphs into a legitimate playoff contender it is rarely the case that there is only 1 player responsible for this actual transformation.

The simple fact is …

Charlotte has been engaged in the process of a long term build-up over the course of the past 2 years, given the additions of:

Larry Brown, Head Coach

DJ Augustin, PG [acquired via the Draft]
Alexis Ajinca, C [acquired via the Draft]
Boris Diaw, PF-SF [acquired via trade]
DeSagana Diop, C [acquired via trade]
Gerald Henderson, OG [acquired via the Draft]
Derrick Brown, PF-SF [acquired via the Draft]
Tyson Chandler, C [acquired via trade]
Stephen Graham, SF-OG [acquired as an UFA]
Stephen Jackson, OG-SF [acquired via trade]
Tyrus Thomas, PF-SF [acquired via trade]
Theo Ratliff, C [acquired via trade]
Larry Hughes, G-F [acquired as an UFA]

and,

Michael Jordan, Principal Owner,

in conjunction with the decision to retain the services of:

Gerald Wallace, SF-PF
Raymon Felton, PG
Nazr Mohammed, C

… and, the single individual most responsible for their success today is their once much-maligned General Manager, Rod Higgins.

Related:

Kudos to the Bobcats for resurrecting their once morbid franchise 

5 Men On A Single String … Kudos to Larry Brown

 

Kudos to the Bobcats for resurrecting their once morbid franchise

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

“How to turn around the fortunes of your pro sports team”, NBA 101 Management Handbook, p. 23.

—————–

Make a legitimate run for the 8th playoff spot in the 2008-2009 season

Add Vladimir Radmanovic [Lakers] in exchange for Adam Morrison

Add DeSagana Diop [Mavs] in exchange for Ryan Hollins & Matt Carroll

Decide NOT to trade Raymond Felton [PG]

Add Raja Bell and Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary [Suns] in exchange for J-Rich & J-Dudley

Add Juwon Howard [as a veteran Big off the bench] from the scrap heap

Decide NOT to trade Sean May AND to sit him on the bench  

Add Cartier Martin [OG/SF] and Dontell Jefferson [OG] from the pool of undrafted players

Add DJ Augustin [as a solid PG] from the 2008 NBA Draft

Add Alexis Ajinca [as a long term project, C] from the 2008 NBA Draft

Decide NOT to trade Gerald Wallace [SF/PF]

Hire Larry Brown to coach your team AND empower him to make trades

Retain Nazr Mohammed [as a solid veteran Big off the bench]

Re-sign Emeka Okafor, your 2004 No. 2 [overall] Draft Pick, as an emotionally stable, hard-working Center, who can Rebound & Defend his position, when others suggested that he was a “bad” long term investment for your team

Hire the most reknowned former player in NBA history to oversee the operation of your franchise [i.e. you know who]

—————–

It’s not rocket science … and, your GM certainly doesn’t NEED to have been named a winner of the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award even one time, during his career to-date.

Parity in the NBA’s Eastern Conference

Friday, January 16th, 2009

When there are 8 teams in the Eastern Conference separated in the standings by only 4.5 games, between the 7th and 14th positions, at the half-way point of the regular season schedule, it speaks to the parity which exists today in the NBA.

 

MIA

6th

21-17

.553

NJN

7th

19-21

.475

PHI

8th

18-20

.474

MIL

9th

19-22

.463

CHI

10th

18-22

.450

NYK

11th

15-22

.405

TOR

12th

16-24

.400

CHA

13th

15-24

.385

IND

14th

14-25

.359

WAS

15th

7-31

.184

Chalmers

Wade

Marion

Haslem

Anthony

Harris

Carter

Simmons

Jianlian

Lopz

Miller

Green
Iguodala
Young

Dalembert

Ridnour

Redd

Jefferson

LRMAM

Bogut

Rose

Gordon

Deng

Thomas

Noah

Duhon
Richardson

Chandler
Jeffries
Lee

Calderon

Parker

Moon

Bargnani

Bosh

Augustin

Bell

Wallace

Diaw

Okafor

Jack

Daniels

Granger

Murphy

Hibbert

James

Stevenson

Butler

Jamison

Blatche

Quinn

Cook

Diawara

Beasley

Dooling

Hayes

Najera

Anderson

Williams

Evans

Brand*

Speights

Sessions

Bell
Villanueva

Gadzuric

Hinrich

Sefolosha

Nocioni

Gooden

Robinson

Roberson

Thomas

Harrington

Ukic

Kapono

Graham

O’Neal

Felton

Carroll

Morrison

Mohammed

Ford

Rush

Dunleavy

Nesterovic

Crittenton

Young

McGuire

Songaila

Banks

Blount

Magloire

CDR

Hassell

Boone

Ivey

Rush

Ratliff

Lue

Alexander

Elson

Hunter

Hughes
Gray

Marbury**

Gallinari*

Curry*

Solomon

Humphries

Voskuhl

Singletary

Brown-S

Howard

Diener

Graham

Foster

Dixon

McGee

Pecherov

Jones

Wright

Ager

Swift
Williams

Marshall

Smith*

Allen

Simmons

Nichols

Rose

James

Jawai

May

Hollins

Ajinca

Tinsley**

Baston

McRoberts

Arenas*

Thomas

Haywood*

Spoelstra

Frank

DiLeo

Skiles

VDN

D’Antoni

Triano

Brown

O’Brien

Tapscott

Riley

Thorn

Kiki-V

Stefanski

Hammond

Paxson

Walsh

Colangelo

Jordan

Higgins

Bird

Grunfeld


Legend:
* – Injured; ** – Not used by the team

 

 

The fact is …

 

There is very little tangible separation between any of these teams, whether they fall into the Middle-of-the-Pack or the Low End categories.

 

Injuries, coaching decisions and the different managerial moves which each team makes in-season will determine [i] which ones qualify for the playoffs this spring and/or [ii] become a likely candidate for substantial improvement heading towards next season and beyond.