In my last column, I discussed the 5 best teams in the NBA after the latest trades and acquisitions. These are (in order), the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. These teams will lord it over the rest of the NBA and are expected to go deep in the playoffs.
On the other end of the spectrum are the cellar dwellers, teams that would be hard-pressed to get 25 wins. Some are in full rebuilding mode while most are the result of bad management decisions and owners who are basically pinching pennies. Here are the worst teams in the NBA:
5) Denver Nuggets— The Nuggets have never won an NBA title, much less a Conference title and it looks like they are in for another season of mediocrity. The Nuggets have a lot of good players but not good enough. A core of Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, and Danilo Gallinari really don’t inspire much. The only upside for this season is the drafting of Emmanuel Mudiay, arguably the best point guard in the draft, together with big man Jusuf Nurkic.
4) Brooklyn Nets —It will get worse, before it gets better. The Nets just let go of their supposed franchise cornerstone, the oft-injured Deron Williams. The team has also been unable to get quality stars from trades or in the draft since they gave up a lot of picks when they traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Gar¬nett—both now playing for other teams. Russian owner billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov must be gnashing his teeth since he promised a championship five years after he gained majority ownership in May 2010. Looks like he will need another five years at least.
3) Minnesota Timberwolves— The Timberwolves only produced 16 wins last year but they will definitely get better. There is no way but up if you are the worst team in the NBA. This year will see the further development of former No. 1 draft pick and 2014-15 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins. He will be teamed up with another No.1 pick center Karl Anthony-Towns. The Tim¬ber¬¬wolves have a young core to build around but these future All-Stars might just want to move away from the small market team in the real future.
2) Orlando Magic—Like the Wolves, the Magic are on full rebuild mode. They are pinning their hopes on young guards Victor Olapido and Elfrid Payton. With no big-name star willing to go to Orlando, this team will be painful to watch next season. The only addition is C.J. Watson – a bench player at best. Realistically, this team will just win maybe 30 games at best, 20 games at worst. Unless Tobias Harris becomes an MVP next season, the Magic are in for another vanishing act.
1) Philadelphia 76ers – It is no surprise that the 76ers will remain the worst team next year. This team has been deliberately tanking – intentionally losing games – the past few seasons and still, they have nothing to show for it. Sure, they have amassed a strong collection of big man riches starting with Nerlens Noel (2013), Joel Embiid (2014) and Jahlil Okafor (2015) but what they lack is a true point guard to run the show. This collection of big men runs counter to the small ball trend in the NBA. GM Sam Hinkie has messed up big-time and there is no end in sight.