Last season featured several of the most prominent NBA franchises dwelling in the basketball cellars with storied franchises like the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers failing to even come close to the playoffs. Expectations weren’t as high as they normally are for the two teams, but neither franchise even garnered more than 27 wins.
Then there were teams like the New York Knicks, who despite a late season run, STILL managed to miss the playoffs in the mediocre Eastern Conference. Let’s be real here, all the Knickerbockers needed was 38 wins, and they couldn’t even manage that.
You could keep going on about other teams who disappointed; like the revamped Detroit Pistons and the underachieving Denver Nuggets, but which teams are most likely to disappoint us during the 2014-2015 NBA season? We’ll take a more in depth look at one team from each conference, starting with the always unpredictable Eastern Conference.
Eastern Conference – Most Disappointing Teams (Prediction)
Jared Cortes: The Atlanta Hawks were that one team that managed to get one more win than the Knicks to keep them out of the playoffs, and subsequently came within one MORE game of knocking the No.1 seed Indiana Pacers out in the first round. Atlanta did all of this without All-Star center Al Horford, who played just 29 games before missing the rest of the season due to injury. Paul Millsap finally got the respect he deserved as he slid into Atlanta’s spotlight and point guard Jeff Teague had the best season of his 5-year career. Kyle Korver also made headlines by setting the NBA record with at least one three pointer made in 127 consecutive games. All of this made for a decent season, but do not expect the same out of Atlanta this year. The Southeast Division now features very impressive teams in the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, and revamped Miami Heat.
The rest of the Eastern Conference has also improved, and it will be tougher for an Atlanta team that really didn’t do much to improve to make the playoffs. Al Horford will be a nice re-addition to the team, and adding Thabo Sefolosha instantly makes any team’s defense better, but this team will be lucky to nab a playoff berth in 2015. Atlanta will need to shake-up their roster next off-season to reinsert themselves into the Eastern Conference’s best teams and until then they will disappoint fans the same way the ownership and personnel has this off-season.
Jr Williams: I’m sure Brooklyn Nets fans are excited for the 2014-2015 NBA season, unfortunately this could be the year where this team may get off to another slow start as the off-season free agent moves affected this team in a negative manner. First they lose Shaun Livingston to the Golden State Warriors, where he signed a three year $16 million contract. Paul Pierce shortly follows as he departs the team to join the Washington Wizards for a reported two year $11 million contract. Commendable career decisions for both Pierce and Livingston, meanwhile the Brooklyn Nets haven’t found viable replacement players while still trying to figure out what to do with Kevin Garnett. Will he serve another year merely as a $12 million pick and roll machine, or will he actually try to put the ball in the hoop? According to head coach Lionel Hollins, Kevin Garnett is set to start at the power forward position, so just maybe we’ll actually see more than a lackluster overall effort from such a skilled offensive player.
The Nets also lost backup shooter Marcus Thornton to the Boston Celtics and now have gaping holes at the guard position. Sure, they acquired Jarrett Jack from the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he isn’t the same dynamic player as Livingston. Also, will Brook Lopez perform like the dominant player when know him to be? Is Kevin Garnett going to slow down the offense? The Brooklyn Nets have a lot of questions which require answers as this could be a disappointing first half of the season for them.