The NBA season is in full swing. Only two weeks in, we’ve seen many teams exceed expectations and show improvement since last season.
But for some teams, the start of the 2019-2020 season has been rocky. Should these teams be concerned about their slow starts?
Last season, the Magic were a playoff team at 42-40. So far this year, the Magic have come out flat at 2-6.
Orlando didn’t make a ton of moves this offseason, besides bringing in Al-Farouq Aminu. Markelle Fultz has also made his debut for the team.
While the team is ranked fifth in the league defensively, they are dead last in offense. The team is also 30th in points per game.
Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier lead the team in scoring, but Aaron Gordon is off to a slow start, averaging only 13 points per game.
While defense is a crucial part of the winning formula, Orlando’s offense is has been terrible. Although a slow start isn’t the end of the world in the weaker Eastern Conference, the Magic are getting outperformed by young team’s like the Hawks and Hornets.
A trade may need to take place if Orlando continues to struggle offensively.
Without Marvin Bagley to start the year, Sacramento is off to a slow start. The team is 2-6, and don’t look as good as last year offensively.
De’Aaron Fox is off to a solid start for the Kings. Buddy Hield, who is coming off a big extension at the deadline, is also playing well, but averaging less points than last season. Bogdan Bogdanovic has also been underwhelming off the bench, scoring only 11 points per game.
Sacramento, which was excellent in transition last year, is ranked 23rd on offense, and 26th on defense.
In addition to Bagley missing time, backup big men Harry Giles and Dewayne Dedmon have both missed time and are day-to-day. While Sacramento struggles to develop an identity on both defense and offense, their lack of frontcourt health isn’t doing them any favors.
New Orleans Pelicans
So far this season, the Pelicans are showing how much rookie Zion Williamson is missed. The team looked great in preseason, but despite the emergence of Brandon Ingram, the team is 1-6, dead last in the Western Conference.
Ingram has been leading the way for New Orleans offensively, averaging 25 points per game. As a team, despite shooting struggles from Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick, the Pelicans are ranked fourth offensively.
On defense, New Orleans has been awful, ranking 29th in the NBA. The team is also last in points scored off opponents’ turnovers.
With Williamson out for several more weeks, the Pelicans’ fate will be sealed in the tough West if they don’t find answers on defense soon.
Featured image credited to AP.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.