We are quickly approaching the midpoint of the NBA season along with All-Star weekend in about a month. The playing field is as wide open as ever, with numerous teams having a legit chance to reach the promised land. Unfortunately, not every team has ascended to the championship contender level, and some teams have fallen quite below their expectations for 2019-20.
Here are some disappointing teams in the current NBA campaign thus far:
Golden State Warriors (9-30)
While we didn’t expect the juggernaut from recent years past, the Warriors have underwhelmed throughout this season due to a rash of injuries and turnover on personnel. However, many fans and analysts expected the recent three-time defending champs to at least compete for a playoff spot.
D’Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry were expected to take forward steps together as the new duo in town, but have been beset by unforeseen circumstances like injuries. Credit the Warriors this, younger players such as Damion Lee, Eric Paschall, and Alec Burks are stepping up and not quitting the fight. I have no doubt Golden State will be in contention once again when they are healthy with Klay, Steph, and D’Angelo Russell. Therefore, the Warriors are the least disappointing team WITHIN this list.
Portland Trail Blazers (16-22)
The Portland Trail Blazers unexpectedly made the Western Conference Finals last year, but that’s as far as they’ll go until 2021 at the least. Sitting under 500 at almost midseason, the Blazers might not even make the playoffs in 2020 after an impressive 2018-19 campaign.
There aren’t much answers for the struggles this season because of the collection of talent that resides on this team, which includes Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, former heat standout Hassan Whiteside, and a rejuvenated Carmelo Anthony who is averaging 16 points per game.
However, with a young and inexperienced roster behind the top players, it may be a realization that this team is too top heavy rather than well rounded.
New Orleans Pelicans (13-25)
Trading Anthony Davis this past summer was supposed to mark a passing of the torch into an electric new era of Zion Williamson basketball in the Big Easy. Unfortunately, the prized top pick has not step foot on the court all season and the rest of the team has struggled to establish an identity. This includes a 13-game losing streak from the end of November into December. Many of the new additions the Pelicans expected to contribute significantly have faltered during the first stretch of the season.
Former Laker players Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart have been pedestrian, while Derrick Favors and Jaxson Hayes have been modest in their stats too. With the sporadic player performances coupled with Zion’s injury, the Pelicans have underperformed.
The only bright spot is former Laker Brandon Ingram, who has morphed himself into the top player on the team by averaging roughly 25 points and 7 boards a game. The emergence of Ingram shows his potential, something he could never unleash on the Lakers. If this team can build a strong rapport, it can blossom into something special, especially when Zion finally takes the stage.
Minnesota Timberwolves (14-22)
With Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Timberwolves have always expected to compete the last few years. However, it has not worked out in their favor with only one playoff appearance in recent memory. Sitting well under 500 near the midpoint of the season, it appears Minnesota will be sitting out the dance once again in 2020. With a rather young team, the Timberwolves have not fared well this season, which includes an 11-game losing streak in December.
It’s fair to wonder whether the team will trade KAT or Wiggins and rebuild with all the capital it acquires. It’s certainly not out of the question, and the two 24-year-old promising players likely want to play meaningful ball for a contending squad as they approach their prime.