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Top 5 single season turnarounds in NBA History

The New Jersey Nets (2001-2002)
Yash Matange
Modified 10 Oct 2014

Can the newly assembled trio of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving take the Cleveland Cavaliers to a championship in only their first season together? Rather than assuming they will, let’s suppose they can. Last season the Cavaliers won only 33 games and in order for the current team to have home court advantage in the East, they would have to register a minimum of 55 wins. If they were to want home court advantage even in the NBA Finals, if they make it that far then they must have the best record in the league. Given the tough Western Conference, Cleveland would need a 60+ win record to play 4 games out of the 7 at home in the Finals. Anyways all these are just assumptions with a lot of ifs and buts included. Long story short the Cavaliers have a chance of breaking into the list of top 5 single season turnarounds in the history of the league.Here are the top 5 teams on that list in terms of improvement in games won: 

#5 New Jersey Nets (2001-2002)

2000-2001: 26-56

2001-2002: 52-30

Actually the New Jersey Nets are ranked 10th on the list when measured according to the number of games they improved by but jump to the 5th because they were the only team to from 5th to 10th position that actually made it to the NBA Finals after not making it to the Playoffs the year ealier.

The catalyst for the drastic positive change in record was one man-point guard Jason Kidd.His amazing skills and talent at the one spot were well utilized by Head Coach Byron Scott with the pieces he had in the roster around him. Kerry Kittles, rookie Richard Jefferson, Lucious Harris, Kenyon Martin and center Todd MacCulloch were the key contributors to the Nets making a spectacular run through the East.

They had a fantastic season which saw them have the best record till the All-Star break making coach Scott the Head Coach of the East All-Star team which included Kidd. The team recorded their first 50 win season in franchise history and made it to the Finals after recording the top seed in the East. In the Finals however they were completely overpowered by two time defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. They lost the Finals without registering a single win in the series. 

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Published 10 Oct 2014, 12:38 IST
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