Somebody has to be last, and somebody has to deliver the news that there are certain NBA teams that are going to be bad and have no hope for the 2013-14 season. But is it always an insult to consider a team as weak? There are different levels to being bad in sports.
There are franchises which are truly incompetent. They are the opposite of the Midas Touch, turning everything that comes within reach into something toxic and invaluable. Their efforts are constantly futile and ineffective and are seemingly stuck in time as a perpetual lower-tier team.
Then there are the bad teams that embrace being bad for the moment. They’re not accustomed to the feeling and they’ve only reached desperate times due to varying circumstances, whether it’s an injury to a star player or a devastating trade, or they grew disgruntled and frustrated with only being average and decided to tear it down and start over.
These teams are rebuilding. The teams described in the prior paragraph are in a constant state of rebuilding.
But the franchise content with being average is far worse off than a bad team. Becoming complacent and settling into constantly — being a four-to-six seed and going no further than the second round — is a far worse fate than being a bad team. At least the bad team can realize its faults and immediately start over; the average team has to fool itself into believing they could catch an elite team off guard.
It’s not easy getting out of this hole. It takes years of drafting the right players, finding the right coach to manage a roster that’s mostly comprised of developing players, and convincing veterans to help your poor roster.
Franchises only have so much money to spend; they have to make it count. Make the wrong move and you end up with Al Jefferson or Brandon Jennings as cornerstones.
There have to be teams for the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder to fill their highlight reels with. Here are the five teams that are going to end up doing so this season.
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The Sacramento Kings are an enigma. You take a look at their roster year-after-year and think, “You know, there’s a lot of talent on this team. They may actually contend this year” and then the rose-colored glasses come off and the Kings win less than 30 games again.