With fall arriving and weather getting cooler, basketball can’t be far behind. The NBA season will start later this month, just a couple of days before Halloween. It’s time to start previewing the season. Let’s begin with the worst of the worst. Who will be in the bottom echelon of the NBA in the 2014-2015 season? Here’s the five worst teams in the league in their current state.
5. Sacramento Kings
The Kings seemed to have an almost nonexistent offseason. Besides the addition of Darren Collison, they did next to nothing. They traded away Isaiah Thomas, who was a key contributor last year. A full year of Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins gives them a solid one-two punch… if Cousins can get his act together. The issue is the lack of depth. Rookie Nik Stauskas should be a three-point threat. Bringing back Gay was essential, but the rest of their moves were a disaster for this team. Mike Malone will have a tough time getting this team to compete much, but maybe a Rajon Rondo trade to the Kings is in the works As it is, this Kings team is bound for 25 wins.
4. Utah Jazz
The Jazz paid a ton of money to bring back Gordon Hayward, but did nearly nothing else to get better this summer. They hired a first-year NBA head coach in Quin Snyder. They drafted 19-year-old Australian Dante Exum. They brought in a bit of depth off the bench in Trevor Booker, Steve Novak, and Toure’ Murry. Their team is built around Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, and Trey Burke. There’s plenty of young talent, but it’s going to be difficult for the plethora of youth to gel. As with a lot of these bad teams, this rebuilding process is going to take a couple of years.
3. Orlando Magic
When your biggest offseason move was the addition of Channing Frye, it’s going to be a long season. No offense to Frye, but he can’t carry this Orlando team. Trading away Arron Afflalo didn’t make much sense. Ben Gordon has been somewhat irrelevant the last couple of years. They have some promising pieces in place to build around, though. Rookie Aaron Gordon is expected to be a solid NBA player. Guard Victor Oladipo had a good rookie season. Nikola Vucevic was a double-double machine on a bad team last year. Tobias Harris has continued to progress. There is a young core in place in Orlando, but there’s no star or veteran leader. Head coach Jacque Vaughn is going to have a lot of puzzled looks like the one above as they go through some more growing pains in 2014-2015.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
There won’t be many smiles like the one above for Jason Kidd. The new Bucks head coach, who bolted from Brooklyn and took Larry Drew’s job, inherits a young, inexperienced roster. They really need Jabari Parker to shine in his rookie season. They hope he can be one of the faces of the franchise. Larry Sanders needs to stay healthy for their front court to thrive. Jared Dudley wasn’t a bad addition off the bench. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the biggest shooting guard in the game, and they hope he takes the next step this season. They will struggle at point guard with Brandon Knight, who is really more of a shoot-first player. It’s a rebuilding process for this Milwaukee team, but they aren’t too far from relevancy.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
And the worst team in the NBA this season will be… drum roll please… the Philadelphia 76ers. Not surprising too many people with this one. They are still a year away from being relevant. When Joel Embiid is inserted in the lineup, they have the pieces to be a better basketball team, but they will go through some more growing pains this season. This roster is easily the worst in the league. Michael Carter-Williams should put up more good numbers in his sophomore season. Nerlens Noel will be in the lineup, giving them an exciting duo to watch in Philly. After that, you will see Brett Brown making a lot of faces like the one in the photo above. They should not win more than 20 games this year.