No team is perfect, and it has been like that since the dawn of times, as even Michael Jordan’s Bulls, Kobe Bryant’s Lakers and Stephen Curry’s Warriors lost several games and didn’t win the Championship on every year they competed.
Of course, this goes way beyond basketball, and even though some teams seem to be quite ready and overstacked, they’ve all got flaws and a liabilities, and it’s just a matter of time before they show up, or good opposing coaches make them obvious.
Needless to say, some teams have way worse problems than others, and some others manage to still dominate despite their imperfections, something quite difficult to do considering how loaded with talent the National Basketball Association is.
Today, we’re going to let you know about every single team’s biggest flaw or need, so you can stop bragging around with all your friends after the first week of this new regular season that’s just started.
The Hawks have no true good talent in their ranks at this point, with Dennis Schroder, being the lone valuable asset on their roster for this upcoming season. Of course, Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore and the rookie Collins may be just ok, but they’re not All-Star caliber talent and the future isn’t looking quite good for them, and they’re one of the frontrunners to be the worst team in the league this season.
The Brooklyn Nets entered this season as a minor dark horse to at least try and make some noise and maybe even fight for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference, but now that Jeremy Lin’s done for the season, they’re once again without a starting point guard, and even though they got D’Angelo Russell, he was supposed to finally play off the ball this season rather than handling playmaking duties.
The Boston Celtics entered this season as one of the most stacked rosters in the Association and with a lot of high hopes and praises for their standout rookie Jayson Tatum. Well, it seems like Tatum is going to have to grow up way faster than expected, now that Gordon Hayward is set to miss the entire season with that awful injury, something that took a major toll in Boston’s chances to defeat LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers this season.
The Charlotte Hornets are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league, and they’re a total Dr. Jekyll - Mr. Hyde kind of thing when they play at home vs on the road. Besides, Batum’s loss is a huge bummer for them, as the Frenchman was the brains of the squad and now they’re left without anyone that can fill that kind of void. Of course, Kemba Walker has surged as an elite scoring guard, but he lacks the supporting cast needed to be a real threat in the East.
Besides the obvious lack of talent the Bulls got on their roster this season, it feels like the locker room chemistry has been really messed up for a couple of seasons now. First, it was Butler and Wade vs the youngsters, then it was Rondo vs Wade and Butler and now things have really escalated with the physical altercation that took place between Mirotic and Portis this past season. The Bulls are a mess right now and they have problems to spare, but this one seems to be the biggest.
The Cleveland Cavaliers really took a step forward this offseason with some of the acquisitions they made, looking like a really stacked team that can actually try to stop the Golden State Warriors. Sadly for them, most of the signings they made are quite injury prone players. With Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Dwyane Wade and an aging LeBron James, the Cavs are pretty much a time bomb and a walking hospital, and they’re going to find it really tough to stay healthy throughout the season.
If the Dallas Mavericks were playing in the Eastern Conference, they wouldn’t be tanking right now, and even Mark Cuban admitted so as well. Truth to be told, the Mavs don’t have the kind of talent needed to make it in the Western Conference with an old Dirk Nowitzki and a Harrison Barnes that seems to be a major bust. Besides, with that Nerlens Noel contract on hold, it seems like they’re even going to lose their big man for the future, being left alone with standout rookie Dennis Smith Jr to try and improve that average squad.
The Denver Nuggets are one of the most exciting teams to watch this season, but they don’t have any kind of experience whatsoever. Besides Paul Millsap, their squad is quite young, and even though Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic are all very good prospects, a squad full of youngsters isn’t going so far. On top of that, their lack of a true point guard can also complicate things for the Nuggets this season.
The Pistons have been an extremely mediocre team for years now and they don’t seem to have the kind of talent on their roster to try and make things work. I mean, they got Tobias Harris and don’t use him as much as they should, Stanley Johnson hasn’t lived up to the hype and Reggie Jackson is a major flop. Besides, the lack of chemistry between Jackson and Drummond - their best asset - is obvious and the talented center has regressed a lot playing alongside the former Thunder.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors seem to be a perfect team and they might as well be. They’re well-coached, they’re changing the way everybody plays and they feature the 3 best shooters in the league, as well as having a locked down defense. Nonetheless, and even though they have a lot of depth, the recent Draymond Green injury can be a huge factor, considering he’s one of the key pieces in the system. Besides, with an aging Iguodala already suffering nagging pains and Kevin Durant being kind of injury prone the past couple of campaigns, health may be an issue for the Dubs this year.
The Houston Rockets made a lot of noise this offseason with that sign and trade deal that got Chris Paul to play alongside James Harden, and they seem built to compete with the Golden State Warriors, even beating them during opening night. Sadly for them, in order to land Chris Paul, they had to part ways with a lot of good role players, and they don’t have enough depth right now to go throughout the full season and the playoffs and still have fresh legs to go the distance and win the ring.
The Indiana Pacers are just a bit better than the Atlanta Hawks, featuring Domantas Sabonis, Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner. Nevertheless, none of these talented youngsters have been consistent scorers so far through their careers, and they don’t have the kind of support cast on their bench to make some noise in the East. Of course, their lone concern this season is letting their youngsters grow, but this small market team and the mediocre front office doesn’t seem capable of landing All-Star talent.
Los Angeles Clippers
Even though the Los Angeles Clippers lost Chris Paul during this offseason, they still managed to build a very strong, balanced and deep roster with the additions of Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, Sam Dekker, Milos Teodosic and Danilo Gallinari. Still, despite all of them being very good role players that can really lift this squad, considering how injury prone Gallinari is, the Clippers are in desperate need of another scorer that can lead the team alongside Griffin in their first unit.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to be one of the most interesting and exciting teams entering this campaign, especially with the additions of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma via draft during the offseason. But, how far can a team filled with youngsters get in the Western Conference? Furthermore, even if they don’t wind up shooting themselves in the foot due to inexperience, can their young bodies put up with a 82 game season? Still, future’s quite bright for the purple and gold, so don’t sweat it.
The grit and grind era has come to an end and it’s just time to face it already. It’s been a hell of a ride, but there’s nowhere else to go but downhill from now on. Conley’s a top-tier point guard and Marc Gasol is perhaps the most versatile big man in the league, but he’s not getting any younger and they don’t have anyone else on their roster besides them. With that kind of squad, they’d be better off just trading Marc before he loses more value.
The Miami Heat needs way more scoring and help than what they’re getting right now from their support cast. The Heat has several players that can light it up on Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson, James Johnson and Tyler Johnson, but none of them can be consistent 20+ points scorers on a nightly basis. Besides, with how injury prone both Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic are, they’re just not deep enough to make up for their hypothetical losses.
The Timberwolves are extremely loaded with young talent and count with a tremendous coach in Tom Thibodeau, and they definitely improved a lot during this offseason with the acquisitions of Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford. Still, there’s just not enough firepower in this squad and they’re a spacing nightmare, with neither Butler nor Wiggins being consistent or reliable shooters from beyond the arc, and that’s going to be a major issue for them the whole season.
Just like the Timberwolves, the Bucks are loaded with young prospects that can be perennial All-Stars, led by the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo. If it were for him, the Bucks would already be Champions, but this one-man show isn’t ready to go to distance quite yet. See, Jason Kidd’s team is pretty good, but they just rely too much on their length and athleticism, and you need to be a good shooting team in this modern basketball era. If Jabari Parker can go back to his former self and knock down shots consistently, they’re going to be a major threat.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are pretty much two and a half men right now, with nothing else besides their twin towers featuring DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis and the few games that Jrue Holiday can stay healthy. Besides, adding Rajon Rondo to the mix seems to be more problematic than helpful, and they don’t have anybody on their bench or the wings that can actually be useful come playoff time.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks roster just doesn’t fit together, and it feels like they keep improvising over and over with no clear direction for the future. Of course, having Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntikilina and WIlly Hernangomez seems to be ok for the future, but they just have to figure out what the hell they want to do with that kind of youngsters. The Knicks don’t have a plan, don’t have a playing style and don’t have enough talent in their ranks to make an impact this year, or the next one, or the one after that one.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder made a lot of noise during the offseason with the landings of All-Star duo Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to play alongside the reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, and their starting five featuring Andre Roberson and Steven Adams seems to be extremely enticing and balanced. Still, they had to part ways with a lot of assets and role players off their bench in order to enter this win-now mode, and they’re going to find their All-Stars exhausted during the last passage of the season. Besides, they’re all going to have to sacrifice a lot if they want to succeed.
The Orlando Magic has been a horrid mess for years now, and they just seem to constantly strike out of their new prospects every time they draft a talented youngster. Mario Hezonja, Elfrid Payton and Aaron Gordon haven’t been nearly as good as expected, and they seem to be just looking for franchise players instead of building a roster that’s capable to fight altogether and go back to the postseason. The Magic’s front office seems lost and their scouting has been a mess, and they don’t have much to play for this season.
The Sixers have finally made it and it seems like the Process is about to pay off, with Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric all ready to go and prove their worth after all those years of embarrassing themselves. It seems like Philadelphia’s bound to make the playoffs once again at last, but all those minute restrictions and proneness to get hurt from both Simmons and Embiid raises a lot of question marks over their actual capacity to succeed throughout a full 82 game season. At least they’re going to be one of the most fun and entertaining teams to watch during the whole campaign and for a very, very long time.
The Phoenix Suns are currently extremely loaded with young talent in Josh Jackson, Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, TJ Warren and Tyler Ulis, but they’re just not NBA ready quite yet, at least not if they’re all trying to play on the same team. The Suns are going to make a lot of noise some years from now, but that lack of experience is going to get them a lot of embarrassment down the road. Hopefully, they don’t break up their core out of frustration and they don’t develop a losing mentality.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers biggest issue is the fact that they play in the Western Conference, as they would be a top 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with the kind of roster they have nowadays. Still, they’re just not deep enough to be considered a real threat in the West and they don’t have a single ounce of talent other than Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and maybe Jusuf Nurkic. If we’re talking about big 3s, this one has to be by far the worst big 3 in the Association, at least for defensive purposes.
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs always find ways to overcome adversity but even them have some major issues entering this campaign. See, Tony Parker’s absence is quite underrated just because the Frenchman averaged merely 10 points, but his impact on the court goes way beyond the stats. Besides, Kawhi Leonard’s injury obviously takes a major toll over their scheme and plans for the season, so let’s expect it’s not a recurrent matter and Kawhi can get back on track as soon as possible avoiding setbacks.
The Sacramento Kings have quickly turned things around after being a major embarrassment and it seems like they can finally put it together for the first time in ages, dealing away DeMarcus Cousins to get some young assets. Besides, the addition of veteran players like George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter to mentor those youngsters is also quite important, but just like other franchises aforementioned, they’re just not ready to be considered a threat quite yet in the NBA.
Canada’s team has really improved along the way, especially during this offseason, when they managed to lock down Serge Ibaka while also adding sharpshooting specialist CJ Miles, handling some of the issues that have hurt them the most over the last 3 campaigns or so. Still, they just don’t have what it takes to go big down the stretch, with Kyle Lowry constantly either getting hurt or just disappearing come playoff time. The Raptors simply lack the kind of mental strength to get things done when it matters the most.
Gordon Hayward’s absence has represented a major issue for the Utah Jazz team that seemed ready to take a step forward this season with Ricky Rubio’s addition, and even though they’re still pretty stacked, especially when it comes to defense, they just don’t have enough firepower. As a matter of fact, they still needed shooters when Hayward was in town, so things obviously got a lot worse now that he decided to leave.
Finally, the Washington Wizards have failed to do one of the most important things a team has to do in order to thrive in the league: Adjustments. The Wizards didn’t change their team a bit during this offseason and they’re pretty much the same squad that fell short throughout the prior campaign. Of course, having a well-built core is extremely important, but they didn’t take care of the issues and lack of depth that costed them big time last season, and they’ve become predictable at this point.