We’re only about 20% of the way through the NBA’s regular season schedule for 2017/18, but the league’s standings are already starting to look like what we expected. In the West, the Warriors and Rockets lead the way, followed by the Spurs and Timberwolves. In the East, the Celtics, Raptors, Cavaliers, and Wizards all show up near the top of the standings, with one surprise interloper in the Pistons.
Similarly, at the other end of the spectrum, a handful of teams that we expected to vie for 2018’s first overall pick have sunk to the bottom of the league’s standings. As our 2017/18 Reverse Standings show, here are the NBA’s worst seven teams to open the season:
- Dallas Mavericks (3-14): Last season represented the first time this century that the Mavericks finished the season below .500. In 2016/17, Dallas lost 15 of its first 18 games before righting the ship somewhat and finishing with 33 wins. It remains to be seen whether the club can perform a similar turnaround this year.
- Atlanta Hawks (3-13): Projected by oddsmakers for 25.5 wins this season, the Hawks are currently on pace for just 15 victories. Injuries have played a part in their early-season struggles, but there simply aren’t many above-average players on the roster.
- Chicago Bulls (3-11): Like Atlanta, Chicago doesn’t have a ton of talent on its roster and was expected to finish at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference heading into the season. Players like Nikola Mirotic, Cameron Payne, and Zach LaVine have been sidelined with injuries so far, so their respective returns could buoy the Bulls, but of those players, only LaVine figures to have a real impact.
- Sacramento Kings (4-12): By signing veterans like George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter to complement their young core, the Kings didn’t look ready to bottom out this season. So far though, those vets have struggled, and many of their young players aren’t ready for major roles.
- Los Angeles Clippers (5-10): The most surprising inclusion in this list, the Clippers began the season 4-0, but are currently in the midst of an eight-game skid. The team’s schedule has been tough during that stretch, so I’d expect some course correction soon, but the Clips don’t look like a playoff team in the first year of the post-Chris Paul era.
- Brooklyn Nets (6-10): The Nets have played hard this season and should remain fairly competitive on most nights, but with Jeremy Lin out for the season and D’Angelo Russell battling health issues as well, the club will face an uphill battle in its quest to get to 30 or 35 wins.
- Phoenix Suns (7-11): Phoenix looked like the worst team in the league through three games, but a coaching change and an Eric Bledsoe trade have the club looking revitalized. The rebuilding Suns still aren’t a playoff contender, and they’ll go through their share of growing pains over the course of the season. However, they appear capable of staying out of the NBA cellar.
What do you think? Which one of these clubs will finish the 2017/18 season with the NBA’s worst record? Or is there another team outside of this group of seven that will slip down the standings and “surpass” all of these clubs? Vote below and jump into our comment section to share your thoughts!
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