In the final part of the four-part series looking at surprising and disappointing teams in the NBA this year, TGH is taking a look at the Western Conference.
The West has been known to be the most dominant. Full of teams that are consistently great every year, the 2020-21 season has changed the tide.
It appears that this season has four playoff lock teams: Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. It seems like its them, then everyone else.
This article will look into “everyone else.” Here are the disappointing teams from the Western Conference.
With Luka Dončić heading into his third season, everyone believed that he would be an MVP favorite and the Dallas Mavericks would be a contender in the West.
It’s been quite the opposite. Well, Dončić is playing well, so that’s not the problem. He’s averaging 27.3 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
The problem with the Mavericks lies in their ability to close out games. Eight of their 13 losses have been by 15 points or less. If the results were flipped of those games, Dallas would be a top three team in the West.
Plus, where in the world has Kristaps Porzingis been? He’s played 10 games of the season so far, but it always seems that he can never get healthy.
The recipe for Dallas to switch their season around is simple, but easier said than done. Keep Porzingis healthy, close out games and continue to get help for Dončić.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have one of the best young cores in the NBA. With that title, there’s some expectation and New Orleans has overwhelmingly underperformed.
The reason for being a disappointment: With all the promise on the Pelicans roster, they still find a way to not be good.
Offseason acquisitions of Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe seemed like good pick-ups before the start of the season. So far, both guys are doing what they’re known for. The problem lies in who they lost.
E’Twaun Moore, Jahlil Okafor and Frank Jackson all left the team last off season, and the Pelicans bench has struggled since. JJ Redick is on the trade block and both Jaxson Hayes and Nicolo Melli haven’t had any impact.
To top it all off, the Pels are in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency rating and points allowed.
The struggle for New Orleans continues. Outside of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, they need some roster improvement. David Griffin, Pelicans General Manager, will look to make moves before the trade deadline, but time is ticking for New Orleans to get things switched around.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are consistently bad. They never have any expectations on them. So why are they a disappointing team?
It’s because they fail to build a solid roster around Karl Anthony-Towns. When you have a franchise piece, with proven ability, and still find a way to consistently stink, then you’re a disappointment.
Here are some of the above average players Minnesota has had since drafting KAT in 2015: Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and D’Angelo Russell. All players have accomplished a lot in their careers or have a promising future.
The reason for not including Zach Lavine or Andrew Wiggins is because Lavine has matured and become significantly better in Chicago, as he was having trouble turning into something in Minnesota. As for Wiggins, he’s always been a solid player, but never has accomplished anything.
The Timberwolves have stated on many occasions that Towns is their center piece, but as previously explained, they haven’t gotten any other pieces.
People could give them the benefit of the doubt in saying that they’re in the Western Conference, but teams like the Suns have been bad in the last decade. The difference is the Suns have been able to do what Minnesota hasn’t: lure important free agency signings, trade for good veterans and compete.
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