1. 2012: The Year In Numbers
Marc SteinMarc Stein [ARCHIVE]
Originally Published: Dec 28, 2012
Lebron James
US Presswire/AP/Getty ImagesAn MVP award, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. Yeah, it's good to be the King.

Our annual Year in Numbers compilation was initially conceived as a Former Newspaper Guy's attempt to be as statistically relevant as our old friend Professor Hollinger at least once every 12 months.

As 2012 dribbles to a close, now there's a new challenge: Life After Hollinger.

Pressure's on.

Yet as I've always believed, there are plenty of numbers out there for everyone on Planet Roundball. So we forge ahead with another assemblage of relevant digits, in the time-honored tradition of year-end reviews that you expect from all the media types in your life during holiday season, to bid adieu to an NBA calendar year that belonged to No. 6 in Miami most of all.

With a helpful nudge from the always-assisting Ernest Tolden, Justin Page and all our friends from ESPN Stats & Information, as well as the Elias Sports Bureau, let's go recapping:

In the first of the year's nine coaching changes, Sacramento replaced Paul Westphal with Keith Smart on Jan. 5. The other teams that would follow suit to keep the coaching carousel spinning: Washington (Flip Saunders out, Randy Wittman in), New York (Mike D'Antoni out, Mike Woodson in), Portland (Nate McMillan out, replaced first by Kaleb Canales and then by Terry Stotts), Charlotte (Paul Silas out, Mike Dunlap in), Orlando (Stan Van Gundy out, Jacque Vaughn in), Los Angeles Lakers (Mike Brown out, D'Antoni in) and Brooklyn (Avery Johnson out, P.J. Carlesimo in).

On Jan. 19, Oklahoma City awarded a five-year, $79 million contract extension to Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka later landed a four-year, $49 million deal from the Thunder in August, with coach Scotty Brooks also scoring a new four-year deal shortly after the NBA Finals. But three big-money signings -- as you'll see when you make it down to October -- proved to be OKC's limit.

Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesLinsanity took New York City along for a wild ride.

A twice-waived point guard named Jeremy Lin, after 13 DNP-CDs in his first 23 games as a Knick, unexpectedly got his long-awaited shot from then-Knicks coach D'Antoni in early February. Over the next 29 games, 18 of them New York wins, Lin left oblivion behind forever with the sort of fantasy flourish no scriptwriter could have concocted, averaging 18.5 points and 7.6 assists to give birth to the phenomenon that will forever be known as Linsanity.

Linsanity was so absorbing, such a fairy tale, that it merits at least two entries in a row. So here's to the seven straight wins in February with Lin as the Knicks' main spark -- all with Carmelo Anthony out injured -- starting with his 25 points off the bench in a win over the Nets on Feb. 4.

You couldn't have asked for a more fitting regular-season matchup than the Golden State at Philadelphia game on March 2, bringing together two basketball communities on opposite coasts with deep ties to the late, great Wilt Chamberlain on the 50th anniversary of Wilt's 100-point game.

After near-daily trade speculation that overshadowed virtually everything happening in the NBA for the first three months after the 2011 lockout was lifted, Dwight Howard stunned everyone on March 15 by opting into the final season of his contract worth $19,536,360 and waiving his right to become a free agent July 1, thus prompting Orlando to take him off the trading block.

Back surgery in April then wound up sidelining Howard for the final 12 games of his farewell season in Orlando, as well as the first round of the playoffs, after he missed just seven games in his first seven NBA seasons.

In early April, with Lamar Odom averaging an anemic 6.6 points per game, Dallas and Odom mutually agreed to part ways. The Mavs' luck with former Lakers wasn't much better in December, either, when Derek Fisher and Dallas also parted company by mutual consent after Fisher played in just nine games.

Guess who led the league in dunks last season? Presumably you don't need more than a solitary guess to nominate Blake Griffin, who predictably got there with precisely 192 slams before making more significant noise in July by signing a max contract extension that ties him to the Clippers through 2017.

With only seven wins in 66 games, Charlotte wound up recording the lowest single-season winning percentage in NBA history at .106, even worse than Fred Carter's unforgettable 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers who went 9-73 (.110).

The Bobcats' average nightly point margin of -14.3 was the second-worst of all-time, eclipsed only by Dallas' average nightly margin of -15.2 in 1992-93 in an 11-71 season.

Denver, San Antonio and Oklahoma City were the only three teams to average 100 points per game during the lockout-shortened season, down from 11 in 2010-11 and the league's lowest total since only two teams managed it in 2003-04.

In another indicator of the rust inflicted by the five-month work stoppage, 17 teams shot worse than 45 percent from the floor in 2011-12, more than the previous two seasons combined (15).

Kevin Durant
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty ImagesKevin Durant is sharp ... on and off the court

At 23 years and 6 months old,