While teams like the New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks, and Charlotte Hornets have far surpassed expectations this season as each gets set for a playoff berth, there have been a handful of teams at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Despite coming into the 2020-21 NBA regular season with some high hopes, several ballclubs have come up well short of living up to their own preseason outlook.
This fun-filled look at the five most disappointing teams in the league this season will both, entertain – and inform – with three reaching this season’s playoffs. Let’s get started so you can continue making your bets against their NBA odds.
2021 NBA season – Most disappointing teams
The Celtics (35-31) are by far, without a doubt, the biggest disappointment in the league this season and I don’t care what anyone else says. One year after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston has floundered in mediocrity despite having two of the game’s brightest young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
The Celtics failed to address their offseason issues in free agency and clearly whiffed in the NBA Draft. Boston foolishly added now, mediocre veteran big man Tristan Thompson when they could have gone after the likes of younger, more active bigs like Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein or Hassan Whiteside. Kemba Walker looks mostly beat up and Boston has a serious lack of rebounding and interior fortitude. The C’s will be in the playoffs, but there’s no way they get past the top teams in the conference, particularly seeing as how they’ve gone 14-18 on the road this season.
Miami (35-31) has also been a big disappointment after reaching last season’s NBA Finals opposite the LA Lakers. While Bam Adebayo has showed up all season long, the older Jimmy Butler has looked mostly exhausted all season. Combine that with the fact that Miami has gotten less production than they did a year ago from Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson and it’s easy to see why the Heat have been mediocre all season long. Miami ranks an uninspiring 26th in scoring (107.1 PPG) and just doesn’t have the same look of the formidable team they were at this point a year ago.
New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans (30-36) made some bold offseason moves by firing former coach Alvin Gentry in favor of Stan Van Gundy. That was mistake No. 1 for the Pelicans. Van Gundy then never played veteran sniper JJ Redick, (foolish) before trading him and Van Gundy’s reins on the offense has left the Pels looking nothing like the explosive team they were a year ago. Zion Williamson is a superstar and Brandon Ingram is a star, but Van Gundy has failed to properly utilize players like Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart among others. Could van Gundy be looking at a one-and-done tenure in New Orleans? I think he’ll get another season, but right now, things don’t look pretty in the bayou.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland (37-29) has a winning record as they get set for the playoffs, but I can’t lie. Every time I watch the Blazers, I expect more out of a roster that features the incomparable Damian Lillard, near, all-star CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Jusuf Nurkic and now, Norman Powell. The Trail Blazers can score the ball with any team in the league (115.7 ppg, 5th), but Portland plays defense with absolutely no zeal whatsoever (114.7 ppg, 23rd). As much as I’d like to see Portland challenge for the conference crown, I’m just not seeing it happen. The Blazers need a change and should promptly sack head coach Terry Stotts in the offseason.
The Rockets (16-50) have been a massive disappointment this season, even though it’s not their fault and I feel for head coach Stephen Silas in a big way. James Harden ruined Houston’s hopes with his desire to leave town early this season and so did Russell Westbrook for that matter. The point guard trade that brought John Wall and jettisoned Westbrook has been a bust with wall oft injured and Russ putting up huge numbers in the nation’s capital. The Rockets rank 24th in scoring (107.8 PPG) and 27th in points allowed (115.7 PPG) and simply want this ‘bad dream’ of a season to come to an abrupt halt.
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