Opening night rosters have lowest return rate of any year this century

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Opening night rosters have lowest return rate of any year this century


Opening night rosters have lowest return rate of any year this century

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Entering the 2019-20 NBA season, nearly every team in the league looks tremendously different.

Per our research, only 43.6 percent of players in the NBA will return to the same team that they were on for opening night last year.

Some may point to less loyalty from players, like the unprecedented decision for Kawhi Leonard to leave the Toronto Raptors after winning a title. Others may argue that it is more on the side of front offices, like the Charlotte Hornets opting to not offer a supermax contract to Kemba Walker.

Regardless, the return rate is the lowest mark of any year during the 21st century. That clearly displays a trend of player movement that has become increasingly popular, no matter the root.

For comparison, the continuity of a player returning season-over-season has been above 50 percent in each of the previous six campaigns and in all but two years since 2000.

When looking at an even more detailed analysis: there are 497 players who are currently on an NBA roster. 280 of those players will play for a different team than the one where they began the season just last year.

Below is a breakdown of all the teams around the league and what percent of their current roster is the same as it is was to start the 2018-19 season.

The teams with the most continuity entering the upcoming season are the Denver Nuggets (75.0 percent), Orlando Magic (73.3 percent) and the San Antonio Spurs (70.6 percent). All three of those teams made the postseason last year and the familiar faces should help them pick where they left off, building on their momentum.

On the other side of the spectrum are the Phoenix Suns (25.0 percent) and the Memphis Grizzlies (23.3 percent). The Grizzlies are in a remarkably different place from where they were this time last year when they were led by longtime veteran teammates Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Now, the offense will be run by No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant.

The Clippers are another team barely recognizable, returning just five players (Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Jonathan Motley, Jerome Robinson and Lou Williams) from the opening night roster last year.

Their new-look roster will begin as favorites to win the title behind the offseason additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but the team may go through a bit of an adjustment period after all of the shakeups.

Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report

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