NBA teams start with a clean slate each year but they aren’t always realistic with their chances to win the championship. Although teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards could sneak their way into the playoffs, the usual suspects will be there at the end. It looks like the 2013 NBA Finals will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Los Angeles Lakers in the West and the Miami Heat in the East.
Here are the five teams who will be the biggest disappointments next year.
The Pacers are coming off of an excellent season where they were the No. 3 seed in the East after going 42-24. They had the Heat on the ropes in the second round but ultimately they couldn’t get it done.
The Pacers and their fans raised the bar last year and will be expecting progress. They’re not going to get it.
The Bulls were dominant for most of last year and finished as the No. 1 overall seed with a record of 50-16. As you likely know, Derrick Rose tore his ACL and the Bulls went on to lose their first-round series.
This offseason hasn’t been a winner for the Bulls. They replaced a tight-knit group of bench guys with spare parts. They won’t get Rose back until around the All-Star break at best. The reality of the situation is that they won’t compete this year and should be thinking about 2013-14.
Even if they can stay close to .500 without Rose, at best they’ll sneak into the playoffs and face one of the many teams that have passed them in the East. It’s not going to be a fun year in Chicago.
San Antonio Spurs
The combined age of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker is 101. The Thunder exposed them as too old and too slow in last year’s playoffs and their long-time rival Los Angeles Lakers leapfrogged them with their acquisitions.
It’s not that the Spurs aren’t going to make the playoffs because they will. The disappointment will set in when they realize that they don’t have the talent to be considered elite anymore. Their team play will beat most teams, but not the best.
The Rockets currently have approximately 400 players under contract. Kidding aside, they really do have over 20 players on their roster right now. A grand total of zero of them can be considered stars.
The NBA is a star-driven league. Kevin Martin is the closest to it but even at his peak, he was a one-trick pony. Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are their big acquisitions. Is there another team in the league that would start both of them?
No playoffs for the Rockets this year. As a matter of fact, the disappointment is going to be that the player they’re counting on (Lin), is really overrated and definitely not better than Kyle Lowry or Goran Dragic.
When I made reference to the Spurs getting exposed in the playoffs, at least they put up a fight. The Mavericks totally layed down and slammed the window shut for the core of players that won the NBA title in 2011.
What does it all mean? It means Dirk Nowitzki won’t win another title. This team has some talent but they don’t have time to gel. Kaman, Brand and Nowitzki are on the back ends of their careers. Mayo and Collison bring some