After praising some of the NBA’s most pleasant surprises of the 2019/20 season so far on Thursday, we’re headed to the other end of the spectrum today. For every team that has exceeded its expectations early on in ’19/20, there’s one that has failed to meet expectations — in some cases, in dramatic fashion.
In the Western Conference, for instance, the Trail Blazers and Spurs entered the season viewed as good bets to make the playoffs. That could certainly still happen, but each team has dug itself an early hole over the last several weeks — Portland is 7-12, while San Antonio is just 6-13. The Blazers can at least blame injuries to some extent, as they’re missing two key big men, Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins, but neither team can be pleased with its results so far.
Elsewhere in the West, it’s been a disappointing 20 games in Golden State, though that can blamed more on bad luck than poor play. Already missing Klay Thompson, the Warriors have been without Stephen Curry and Kevon Looney for virtually all of the season, with D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green also missing time due to injuries. The Dubs didn’t look great even when the roster was mostly healthy, but their injury woes have made them the NBA’s worst team, at 4-16.
In the East, the Sixers and Nets have had their ups and downs, but are still 13-6 and 10-9, respectively, so it’s hard to view their seasons as disappointments. The same can’t be said for the 6-13 Bulls and Pistons. Neither team is all that far off the playoff pace in the East, considering the 8-12 Hornets hold the No. 8 seed, but Chicago and Detroit hoped to push for records of .500 or better this season. That seems like a long shot now.
Things have been even uglier for the Knicks, who made win-now moves in the offseason in the hopes of getting into the playoff mix. It hasn’t worked out that way so far, as New York sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 4-15 mark and has shown few reasons to believe a postseason push is around the corner.
Outside of this season’s underachievers, there have been plenty of injury-related disappointments. We still haven’t seen much-hyped No. 1 pick Zion Williamson make his NBA regular-season debut, and stars like Curry, Gordon Hayward, and De’Aaron Fox have joined the likes of Thompson and Kevin Durant on the long-term injury list. A shoulder injury also prevented Kyrie Irving from making his return to Boston this week, which was undoubtedly a disappointment for the Celtics fans who bought tickets hoping to… uh, welcome Kyrie back.
We want to hear your thoughts. Which teams, players, or injuries have you been most disappointed by so far this season? Do you expect some of those underachieving clubs to turn things around, or should most of them prepare for more of the same?
Head to the comment section below to weigh in!