A Look at the Race For the Worst Record

The following is a look at all of the teams that have a chance at being the worst in the league next season. I'll look at the win shares of the players on the team, and give the team's management a score from 1-10. A lower score means the team is planning more towards the future, while a higher score means a team wants to win now. The number next to each player's name is their win share.

I've also included a list of "potential breakout players," by which I mean players who might provide two or more wins than they did in 2012-2013. Some of the "breakout players" are really just players who are coming off of injury-plagued seasons, or who are coming off of uncharacteristically bad seasons.

Listed next to the team name is their record in 2012-2013. The teams are ranked so that the teams that are most likely to have the worst record are at the bottom.

This isn't meant to be a definitive analysis, but rather just one way of looking at teams. By no means do I think Win Shares are perfect, but I do think they're correlated with the quality of players.

Basketball reference explains how they calculate win shares here:

Major win producers still available:

Nikola Pekovic 6.7, Jeff Teague 6.1, Andrei Kirilenko 6.0, Nate Robinson 5.9, Brandon Jennings 5.8, Monta Ellis 4.6, Metta World Peace 4.6, Tyler Hansbrough 4.4, Antawn Jamison 4.3, Brandan Wright 4.1, Elton Brand 3.4

Teams that will almost definitely make the playoffs in 2013-2014 (8 teams):

Heat: 66-16

Mindset: 10

Key Players: LeBron James 19.3, Dwyane Wade 9.6, Chris Bosh 9.0, Ray Allen 5.4, Mario Chalmers 5.2, Shane Battier 4.4, Udonis Haslem 3.2, Mike Miller 2.6 (in 59 games)

Potential Breakout Players: Norris Cole

Rookies: James Ennis

Weakness: Roy Hibbert

Analysis: The reigning NBA champions. Note that they still haven't re-signed Chris Andersen. Moving right along...

Clippers: 56-26

Mindset: 9

Key Players: Chris Paul 13.9, Blake Griffin 10.6, Matt Barnes 6.3, DeAndre Jordan 6.2, Darren Collison 5.6, Jamal Crawford 5.4, Jared Dudley 4.8, JJ Redick 4.5, Willie Green 2.5, Ryan Hollins 1.7

Potential Breakout Players: Hollins

Rookies: Reggie Bullock

Weakness: Chris Paul's health

Analysis: I really like their free agent moves, so I'll put them second, but I see them, the Thunder, the Rockets, and the Spurs as the frontrunners in the West.

Thunder: 60-22

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Kevin Durant 18.9, Russell Westbrook 11.6, Serge Ibaka 9.4, Thabo Sefolosha 6.8, Nick Collison 5.2, Kendrick Perkins 2.5, Reggie Jackson 2.5, Hasheem Thabeet 2.2

Potential Breakout Players: Jackson, Thabeet, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones

Rookies: Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Alex Abrines, Grant Jarrett

Weakness: Russell Westbrook's health, Center

Analysis: Unlike some other teams, the Thunder keep their draft picks and build for both the present and the future. Like the Spurs with Tim Duncan, the Thunder could be a contender for the length of Durant's career.

Pacers: 49-32

Mindset: 9

Key Players:George Hill 9.7, David West 9.1, Paul George 9.0, Roy Hibbert 6.1, Lance Stephenson 5.5, Ian Mahinmi 2.3, Chris Copeland 2.1 (in 56 games), Gerald Green 1.3

Potential Breakout Players: Danny Granger, Copeland, George, Hibbert, Stephenson, Mahinmi

Rookies: Solomon Hill

Weakness: Depth

Analysis: A good young team. It'll be interesting to see whether they take a step forward next year.

Nets: 49-33

Mindset: 11

Key Players: Deron William 10.9, Brook Lopez 9.0, Paul Pierce 7.2, Kevin Garnett 5.6, Joe Johnson 5.1, Andray Blatche 4.9, Reggie Evans 4.3, Jason Terry 4.0, Shaun Livingston 2.6

Potential Breakout Players: Lopez, Mirza Teletovic

Rookies: Mason Plumlee

Weakness: Health

Analysis: I could see them challenging the Heat for the top seed in a best-case scenario, or getting (about) the seventh seed in the worst case scenario. But either way, they'll make the playoffs.

Knicks: 54-28

Mindset: 11

Key Players: Carmelo Anthony 9.5, Tyson Chandler 9.3, JR Smith 6.7, Raymond Felton 4.2, Pablo Prigioni 3.2, Amare Stoudemire 2.7 (in 29 games), Iman Shumpert 1.9 (in 45 games), Andrea Bargnani 0.1 (in 39 games)

Potential Breakout Players: Stoudemire, Bargnani

Rookies: Tim Hardaway, Jr.

Weakness: Defense

Analysis: I thought the Bargnani trade was awful, and I think they'll be worse next season. But they should still make the playoffs easily.

Bulls: 45-37

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Joakim Noah 7.3, Jimmy Butler 7.0, Luol Deng 6.3, Carlos Boozer 5.7, Mike Dunleavy 4.4, Taj Gibson 3.3, Kirk Hinrich 3.1

Potential Breakout Players: Derrick Rose, Butler

Rookies: Tony Snell, Erik Murphy

Weakness: Derrick Rose's health

Analysis: Obviously, the return of Rose is the big question here. Even with him playing just average, they're a decent team.

Western Conference teams that will probably make the playoffs (5 teams):

Spurs: 58-24

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Tony Parker 9.3, Tim Duncan 8.3, Tiago Splitter 8.2, Kawhi Leonard 6.2, Danny Green 5.9, Manu Ginobili 4.5, Boris Diaw 4.4, Marco Belinelli 3.0, Matt Bonner 2.5, Gary Neal 1.9

Potential Breakout Players: Leonard, Patrick Mills, Cory Joseph, Nando De Colo, Jeff Pendergraph

Rookies: Livio Jean-Charles, DeShaun Thomas

Weakness: Age

Analysis: They might be the best team in the West, but there's the slight possibility that age and injuries could catch up to them. Even without Duncan and Parker, they could probably still make the playoffs.

Rockets: 45-37

Mindset: 9

Key Players: James Harden 12.8, Dwight Howard 7.6, Chandler Parsons 7.0, Omer Asik 5.5, Jeremy Lin 5.4, Greg Smith 4.0, Patrick Beverley 2.2 (in 41 games),

Potential Breakout Players: Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Howard, Beverley, Smith

Rookies: Isaiah Canaan

Weakness: Asik doesn't want to play with Howard. They should get a pretty good asset for him, but until they do, they only have two good big men.

Analysis: This is a championship-contending team. There's at least a chance that Harden and Howard don't work as well as it should, and the West is very good, so I have them down here.

Grizzlies: 56-26

Mindset: 9

Key Players: Marc Gasol 11.5, Mike Conley 9.9, Zach Randolph 7.9, Kosta Koufos 6.5, Tony Allen 5.1, Jerryd Bayless 4.0, Quincy Poindexter 3.2, Ed Davis 2.1 (in 36 games), Tayshaun Prince 1.8 (in 37 games)

Potential Breakout Players: Tony Wroten, Poindexter, Davis, Prince

Rookies: Jamaal Franklin

Weakness: SG

Analysis: Another championship-caliber team; on the off chance that they miss the playoffs and have a down year, it'll probably be because the West is so tough.

Nuggets: 57-25

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Kenneth Faried 7.8, Ty Lawson 7.4, Danilo Gallinari 7.2, JJ HIckson 6.9, Andre Miller 5.4, Javale McGee 4.9, Corey Brewer 3.9, Randy Foye 3.7, Wilson Chandler 3.1, Darrell Arthur 1.7

Potential Breakout Players: Lawson, Gallinari, McGee, Chandler, Arthur, Evan Fournier, Jordan Hamilton, Anthony Randolph

Rookies: Erick Green, Joffrey Lauvergne

Weakness: Lack of a star player

Analysis: A good team, but they could take a step back with the loss of Iguodala and Koufos.

Warriors: 47-35

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Stephen Curry 11.2, David Lee 9.1, Andre Iguodala 5.6, Klay Thompson 4.3, Harrison Barnes 2.8, Andrew Bogut 1.7 (in 32 games), Festus Ezeli 1.5

Potential Breakout Players: Iguodala, Thompson, Barnes, Bogut, Ezeli

Rookies: Nemanja Nedovic

Weakness: Health and depth

Analysis: They lost good players in Carl Landry, Jarrett Jack, and Brandon Rush. They could be a truly great team competing for a championship, but that would take durable players and growth from Thompson and Barnes.

Playoff Contenders (10 teams):

Hawks: 44-38

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Al Horford 8.8, Paul Millsap 7.6, Kyle Korver 6.4, Louis Williams 2.4 (in 39 games), DeMarre Carroll 3.1, John Jenkins 1.7, Deshawn Stevenson 1.5

Potential Breakout Players: Jenkins, Williams, Horford

Rookies: Lucas Noguiera, Dennis Schroeder

Weakness: Point Guard

Analysis: Combining the inside threats of Horford and Millsap with the outside threats of Korver and Jenkins could be deadly on offense. If the Hawks were to sign a decent point guard (like RFA Jeff Teague), they would be in a higher tier.

Trailblazers: 33-49

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Lamarcus Aldridge 7.2, Nicholas Batum 5.8, Damion Lillard 5.8, Robin Lopez 5.6, Dorell Wright 4.9, Wesley Matthews 4.7, Meyers Leonard 2.4

Potential Breakout Players: Lillard, Leonard, Matthews, Aldridge

Rookies: CJ McCollum, Allen Crabbe

Weakness: Lack of a superstar player

Analysis: This team will actually be pretty good. They're only this low because the West has so many good teams. They had no depth last year, but they seem to have fixed that issue.

Hornets: 27-55

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Ryan Anderson 6.5, Anthony Davis 6.1, Tyreke Evans 4.4, Jrue Holiday 3.3, Al Farouq Aminu 3.1, Jason Smith 1.7, Eric Gordon 1.1 (in 40 games), Austin Rivers -1.1

Potential Breakout Players: Davis, Holiday, Evans, Rivers, Aminu

Rookies: Pierre Jackson

Weakness: Depth

Analysis: This team has a lot of upside, so they could definitely make the playoffs. Even if they don't, they have enough good players to avoid the basement.

Raptors: 34-48

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Amir Johnson 7.3, Kyle Lowry 5.6, Jonas Valanciunas 4.9, DeMar DeRozan 4.7, Rudy Gay 4.0, Alan Anderson 1.6, Landry Fields 1.1, Terrence Ross 0.9, Steve Novak 4.0

Potential Breakout Players: Valanciunas, Fields

Rookies: None of note

Weak spot: Depth

Analysis: The Raptors look ready to be a fringe playoff contender. Their starters are all at least decent players, and Valanciunas has some nice upside. Fields could have a bounceback year and Ross could improve in his second year. The loss of Andrea Bargnani could be addition by subtraction.

Wizards: 29-53

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Martell Webster 6.3, John Wall 4.5, Emeka Okafor 4.5, Nene 4.0, Trevor Ariza 3.1, Bradley Beal 3.0, Trevor Booker 2.3, Jan Vesely 0.7, Eric Maynor 0.2, Kevin Seraphin 0.1

Potential Breakout Players: Wall, Beal, Maynor, Booker, Seraphin, Vesely, Chris Singleton Rookies: Otto Porter, Glen Rice Jr.

Weakness: Relying on growth of young players and returns from injuries.

Analysis: The Wizards got hit by multiple injuries last year. Between their solid frontcourt veterans and their promising young guards, this team is a playoff contender if healthy.

Cavaliers: 24-58

Mindset: 6

Key Players: Jarrett Jack 5.6, Kyrie Irving 5.3, Tristan Thompson 5.2, Anderson Varejao 3.3 (in 25 games), CJ Miles 2.6, Earl Clark 2.3, Tyler Zeller 2.0, Alonzo Gee 1.9, Dion Waiters 0.9

Potential Breakout Players: Irving, Thomspon, Varejao, Zeller, Waiters

Rookies: Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix

Weakness: Relying on growth and development of young players and returns from injuries.

Analysis: With some development of their young guys, and with a healthy return of Varejao, they should be a playoff contender in the East, although a disappointing season is certainly possible.

Mavericks: 41-41

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Dirk Nowitzki 5.0 (in 53 games), Jose Calderon 7.4, Vince Carter 6.0, Shawn Marion 5.3, Devin Harris 3.3., Jae Crowder 1.5

Potential Breakout Players: Nowitzki, Crowder

Rookies: Shane Larkin, Ricardo Ledo

Weakness: Shooting Guard, depth

Analysis: They signed Calderon and Harris, so I assume they're interested in winning now. If they fill out their roster, they'll be in the playoff picture.

Lakers: 45-37

Mindset: 10

Key Players: Kobe Bryant 10.9, Steve Nash 4.3 (in 50 games), Pau Gasol 3.7 (in 49 games), Metta World Peace 4.6, Jodie Meeks 3.0, Steve Blake 2.4, Chris Kaman 1.6

Potential Breakout Players: Nash, Gasol, Jordan Hill

Rookies: None

Weakness: Big men

Analysis: Even though they have injury problems, a team with Nash, Gasol, a few decent role players, and potentially Kobe should at least avoid the basement. The signing of Kaman would seem to indicate they want to win this year.

Timberwolves: 31-51

Mindset: 8

Key Players: Kevin Love 1.1 (in 18 games), Ricky Rubio 3.0 (in 57 games), Kevin Martin 7.0, Luke Ridnour 4.3, Dante Cunningham 3.5, Derrick Williams 3.0, Chase Budinger 0.7 (in 23 games)

Potential Breakout Players: Love, Rubio, Williams, Budinger

Rookies: Shabazz Muhammad, Gorgui Dieng, Lorenzo Brown

Weakness: Relying on injury comebacks, big men

Analysis: If they re-sign Pekovic, Rubio and Love return to form, and Martin meshes with the team, they could be a pretty good team. But I could also see another disappointing 30 win season.

Pistons: 29-53

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Greg Monroe 5.9, Andre Drummond 4.5, Josh Smith 4.2, Rodney Stuckey 2.5, Kyle Singler 2.3, Jonas Jerebko 2.0, Brandon Knight 1.1

Potential Breakout Players: Drummond, Monroe, Knight, Singler, Jerebko, Stuckey, Smith

Rookies: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tony Mitchell

Weak Spot: Point Guard

Analysis: This team has the potential to grow into a playoff contender this year if things go right, but they could be in the basement if things go wrong. With so many young players and Josh Smith, this team really could go either way.

Likely lottery teams (6 teams):

Bucks: 38-44

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Ersan Ilyasova 6.7, Larry Sanders 6.0, OJ Mayo 4.2, Carlos Delfino 3.5, Ekpe Udoh 2.7, John Henson 1.9, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute 0.5, Marquis Daniels 0.5

Potential Breakout Players: Sanders, Udoh, Henson, Gustavo Ayon

Rookies: Nate Wolters

Weakness: Point Guard

Analysis: The signing of Mayo and Delfino would seem to indicate they plan on winning now. On the other hand, at the moment, they really need a point guard. Stay tuned.

Jazz: 43-39

Mindset: 4

Key Players: Gordon Hayward 5.4, Derrick Favors 4.4, Marvin Williams 2.3, Enes Kanter 2.3, Alec Burks 1.0, Andris Biedrins 1.1

Potential Breakout Players: Hayward, Favors, Kanter, Marvin Williams, Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans, Brandon Rush

Rookies: Trey Burke, Rudy Gobert

Weakness: Both guard spots, lack of a star player

Analysis: They might look like they're tanking, but this could actually be a decent team if they get anything from their guards at all. Favors and Kanter are two of the most promising young big men in basketball, Williams is coming off a down year, Hayward is pretty good, Rush is a good player, and Biedrins could be an (incredibly overpaid) serviceable backup big man. If Trey Burke can adjust quickly to the NBA, I think this team could surprise people.

Kings: 28-54

Mindset: 7

Key Players: Carl Landry 6.2, Isaiah Thomas 5.0, Demarcus Cousins 4.4, Patrick Patterson 4.1, Greivis Vasquez 3.8, Jason Thompson 3.6, Marcus Thornton 3.2, John Salmons 1.6

Potential Breakout Players: Cousins

Rookies: Ben McLemore

Weakness: Small forward

Analysis: The Carl Landry signing shows they want to win now. They actually have a pretty good frontcourt and two good point guards. If they get production from the wings, they might be a fringe playoff contender.

Suns: 25-57

Mindset: 4

Key Players: Goran Dragic 5.7, Luis Scola 4.4, Eric Bledsoe 3.7, Caron Butler 3.6, Marcin Gortat 3.4, PJ Tucker 2.9, Markieff Morris 1.7, Michael Beasley -1.5

Potential Breakout Players: Bledsoe, Gortat, Beasley (inasmuch as he could be less awful)

Rookies: Alex Len, Archie Goodwin, Alex Oriakhi

Weakness: Lack of a star player

Analysis: If the Suns don't move their veterans (Dragic, Scola, Butler, Gortat), they could get get out of the basement in 2013-2014. On the other hand, they look like the favorites to the worst team in the West.

Bobcats: 21-61

Mindset: 6

Key Players: Al Jefferson 7.7, Kemba Walker 4.8, Ramon Sessions 2.9, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 2.1, Josh McRoberts 2.2, Bismack Biyombo 1.4, Jeff Taylor 1.2

Potential Breakout Players: Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist, Biyombo, Taylor

Rookies: Cody Zeller

Weakness: Shooting guard and small forward.

Analysis: The Bobcats looked like they could be the leader for the crown of worst team in 2013-2014, but then they signed Jefferson. Growth from their young players could make them a borderline playoff team, especially if they add a shooting guard in free agency.

Celtics: 41-40

Mindset: 4

Key players: Rajon Rondo 3.2 (in 38 games), Jeff Green 4.7, Brandon Bass 4.7, Courtney Lee 3.3, Chris Wilcox 3.1, Jared Sullinger 2.7, Avery Bradley 0.4, Gerald Wallace 3.1, Kris Humphries 2.7

Potential Breakout Players: Rondo, Green, Sullinger, Bradley, Humphries, Wallace, Fab Melo

Rookies: Kelly Olynyk, Colton Iverson

Weakness: Lack of a focal point for their offense, especially with Rondo out.

Analysis: Even though they just traded two Hall of Famers, the Celtics actually don't seem intent on completely tearing the team down, as they seem to plan on keeping Rondo (who is coming off an ACL injury). They have numerous young players with some potential, and veterans coming off of bad seasons.

The Basement (2 Teams): These are the teams that I think don't have even a remote shot at a winning record.

Magic: 20-62

Mindset: 2

Key Players: Nikola Vucevic 5.7, Mo Harkless 2.4, Jameer Nelson 2.1, Aaron Afflalo 2.0, Tobias Harris 1.9 (in 27 games), Andrew Nicholson 1.7, Kyle O'Quinn 1.4, E'Twaun Moore 0.2

Potential Breakout Players: Nelson, Vucevic, Harkless, Harris, Nicholson, O'Quinn

Rookies: Victor Oladipo

Weakness: Lack of starting-caliber talent (at the present)

Analysis: They have a bunch of decent young players who could become solid NBA starters, along with two veterans coming off disappointing seasons. They have no shot at the playoffs, but a little growth and injury luck could get them out of the basement. The news that they're thinking about playing Oladipo at point guard gives them the lowest mindset score.

Sixers: 34-48

MIndset: 3

Key Players: Thaddeus Young 7.4, Spencer Hawes 4.5, Lavoy Allen 2.5, Evan Turner 2.1, Arnett Moultrie 1.7

Potential Breakout Players: Turner, Moultrie, Allen, Royce White

Rookies: Nerlens Noel, Michael Carter-Williams, Arsalan Kazemi

Weakness: Point Guard, Small Forward

Analysis: Until the Sixers trade Young, they haven't confirmed to be in full-scale tanking mode. Still, this team should be very bad with the loss Holiday and Dorrell Wright.

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