Hype is a dangerous thing. Realistically, when you think about it, what does hype do? It creates pressure, problems, anxiety amongst organizations in an effort to reach expectations. Really, hype doesn’t do anything but divide and destroy. When was the last time hype helped a team win a title? Some squads are able to do it in spite of the hype, but words and predictions rarely mean anymore than what they are. With the hype of the NBA exploding through the creation of so many superteams, this year is promising to be one with many disappointments.
When you find yourself speaking or writing on the same 5-10 teams in the league, inevitably that leads to heightened expectations and promises left unfulfilled. A disappointment doesn’t have to be a bad team either. Were the Lakers disappointing last year? Everyone with a sane mind would say absolutely.
With that, here are the five teams most likely to disappoint this year.
5. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls may just be the best team on this list, but with the bar set so high, I find it hard to believe that they can match last year’s regular season record. If older teams like the Celtics and Mavericks are expected to struggle through the challenging 66-game schedule, where does that leave the oft-injured front court of Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer? Last year the duo missed a combined 57 games due to injury. Also, will the Bulls be able to get away with Derrick Rose shouldering virtually the entire scoring load again this year? Only two teams in the past 35 years have won a championship with the point guard leading the team in scoring. Because of the division they play in, this team is a shoo-in for a home playoff series or two, but last season’s win percentage of .756 will be nearly impossible to match.
4. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs fall into the rare category of teams that can be considered a sleeper, but could also rather easily fail to meet expectations. I understand that they will be playing with the momentum of defending their title and also gained pieces that could make them even better. But the amount of time they’re working with is what’s holding them back. With shortened training camps and preseason games, Vince Carter, Delonte West and Lamar Odom will have to learn a new system on the fly. Brendan Haywood will have to remember how to log starters minutes and their core of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki is another year older. For a team fresh off a championship season, there are many question marks.
3. New York Knicks
Last season, the Knicks postseason dreams were ruined by injuries. So in typical New York Knick fashion they inked one of the most injury-prone centers of the last 10 years to a four-year $58 million deal. This is definitely the best Knick squad since their championship run in 1999 and they claim to be focused on defense, but until D’Antoni proves otherwise, I’ll believe it when I see it. With the Celtics gearing up for one more run at a championship, it’s quite conceivable that the Knicks don’t win their division and will have to do things the hard way on the road in the playoffs. There’s a lot to be happy about for basketball fans in New York, but all it takes is one injury to derail this thinned-out squad.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last season they were the defending champs, but now it looks as if they may not even be the best team in their own city. With Lamar Odom defending the crown in Dallas, this squad lacks the depth necessary for a deep postseason run. The Lakers will certainly be in the running to obtain Dwight Howard, but can Bynum and Gasol perform with rumors of their departure constantly in their ears? If they can obtain Dwight Howard by only giving up one of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, then they can certainly turn things around. However, if they are forced to give up both, they might just be digging their hole even deeper. I know to never count Kobe out, but it’s starting to look like the beginning of the end in Hollywood.
1. San Antonio Spurs
If there were a way to play “Taps” for the readers while they read this segment, I would do it. It’s sad to see the end of an era, especially one as prolific as Tim Duncan‘s, but at the end of the day, all good things must come to an end. The Spurs surprised many last year by playing themselves into the first seed in the Western Conference, but were ousted by the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. Another regular season like last year’s is highly unlikely as the Spurs have one of the league’s highest average ages and lack both athleticism and depth. The Mavericks and Grizzlies proved to be better in last year’s playoffs and seem destined to take over the division crown. Rookie Kawhi Leonard adds some youth and athleticism, but I’m afraid it’s too little too late.
Which team will be the biggest disappointment this season?
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