With the start of the NBA regular season on the horizon, the writers of the Sports Gazette have come together to provide their thoughts on the season to come. In part 2, we state which teams we feel have either had the most disappointing offseason, or will be below expectations this year.
- New York Knicks (3pts)
- Chicago Bulls (2pts)
- Atlanta Hawks (1pt)
What a shambles of an offseason in New York. Phil Jackson’s eventual sacking for trying to trade Kristaps Porzingis bordered on laughable and summed up what’s going on at the garden right now. Which is nothing good.
- LA Clippers (3pts)
- Miami Heat (2pts)
- Houston Rockets (1pt)
I really think the LA Clippers will struggle this year. They’ve lost Chris Paul and Jamaal Crawford (two of their key contributors), and there were questions about Blake Griffin leaving in the summer as well. I think they are very thin at best and having missed their window in the last few years, will really struggle this year.
The Heat had an odd season last year. After a poor start, they came roaring back and reached the Playoffs. I believe this season, a year removed from Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh leaving, they will come back to Earth with a bang and may be one of the worst teams in the East. This, despite the All-Star play of Hassan Whiteside.
The Rockets are on my radar also. James Harden might be balling and the recently-acquired Chris Paul may still be able to play at a high level, but something tells me this could be the season they come back to the pack. I don’t think the supporting cast is anything special, I’m not sure CP3 can stay healthy for a whole season and I’m not convinced by the coaching set up there after James Hardens recent comments about Kevin McHale.
- Philadelphia 76rs (3pts)
- Toronto Raptors (2pts)
- Portland Trailblazers/New Orleans Pelicans (1pt))
‘The Process’ is officially here for some people. The young trio of Simmons, Fultz and Embiid is giving 76ers fans more mouth-watering thoughts than a Philadelphia cheese steak. However, the sixers will not even make the playoffs in a weakened Eastern Conference, and still need a better squad in their rotation to keep up. Also, can anyone promise me that those players will stay healthy? Exactly.
Toronto was once considered a team to dethrone the Cavaliers in the East. Now they may be forgotten about as a contender – this year may be the last time we see stars Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan suit up together.
Portland and New Orleans will be in the fringes of the playoff picture once again. With the elite players they have on their roster, that position will be a disappointment for all involved.
- Los Angeles Clippers (3pts)
- Washington Wizards (2pts)
- Indiana Pacers (1pt)
For me, this category is less about the disappointment factor and more about these front offices mismanaging their rosters. We know the Clippers are heading downhill without Chris Paul, and their championship window is likely gone with his departure too. It’s time for them to start rebuilding.
The Wizards may be heading towards a similar fate, as John Wall and Bradley Beal have not been enough in combination to contend in the East. Listening to trade deals for both could end up being the smartest thing for Washington’s front office to do. The Pacers, who were back-to-back Eastern Conference finalists only a few seasons ago, have been dismantled and will now have to start again.
- Toronto Raptors (3pts)
- New York Knicks (2pts)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (1pt)
The words ‘mired in mediocrity’ come to mind when thinking about the Raptors. How long will it be before a fourth or fifth seed and a first round playoff exit leads to a disillusioned fanbase and locker room? We may see the collapse of one of the league’s best run organisations this season.
The Knicks considered trading Kristaps Porzingis. That tells you all you need to know about them! The only reason they aren’t top is because I expect so little of them this season regardless.
My final pick might surprise some people, but I can’t shake the feeling that given the strength of the Western Conference, the Wolves might struggle to crack the top four or five seeds. A playoff team yes, but contenders? Far from it.
1st – Los Angeles Clippers (6pts)
2nd – New York Knicks & Toronto Raptors (5pts)