Each of the NBA’s 30 teams entered the 2016/17 season with at least a slightly different set of expectations, and in some cases the year-long goals for teams were massively different. For instance, if the Warriors had posted a .500 record for the first month of the NBA season, it would be viewed as a disaster. For the Lakers, a .500 mark through the first 18 games has been a pleasant surprise. So in any discussion about the NBA’s most disappointing teams so far, it’s worth considering that club’s preseason expectations.
In a piece for USA Today Sports, AJ Neuharth-Keusch identifies the five teams he thinks have been the NBA’s most disappointing clubs so far, starting with the Celtics. At 9-7, Boston is currently a top-six team in the East, and is only one game behind the No. 2 seed in the East. On the surface, that doesn’t look like a disappointing start, but the C’s had high expectations for this season, and have dropped some winnable games in the early going. For Boston, a 9-7 record, including a 4-3 mark at home, qualifies as disappointing.
The Trail Blazers, Pacers, Wizards, and Mavericks round out Neuharth-Keusch’s list, with Dallas earning the No. 1 spot. The Mavs entered the season with playoff aspirations and currently hold a league-worst 3-13 record, so that position is well-earned. The Wizards are also in the lottery despite expecting to be a postseason team, while the Blazers and Pacers are hovering around .500 rather than vying four a top-four seed.
In addition to those five teams, several other clubs have had underwhelming starts. The Pistons, Magic, and Heat are all bottom-six teams in the East, while the Timberwolves are off to a 5-11 start. Even the Knicks, who have clawed their way back to .500, have gotten off to an up-and-down start, with offseason signee Joakim Noah not meshing with the roster as well as they’d hoped.
What do you think? Which team has been the NBA’s most disappointing club so far? Which of these teams off to slow starts do you expect to turn things around, and which ones will underachieve all season long? Jump into the comments section below to share your thoughts!