The 2016-2017 NBA season has had some spectacular moments. A few teams have taken the league by surprise and become elite in their respective conferences, such as the Houston Rockets and the Washington Wizards. From Russell Westbrook and James Harden’s record-breaking seasons to the emergence of young stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, we have seen a number of players take their play and teams to new heights. Despite this, coming into this season there has also been a handful of teams that have not lived up to expectations. Here are three of the biggest.
3. The Minnesota Timberwolves
(31-49) 13th in Western Conference
The Timberwolves have debatably the most talented young roster in the league. Although their core players are still in the developmental stages of their careers, Minnesota was expected to be one of those teams fighting to get that 8th spot in the Western Conference. Today, the Timberwolves are 18 games under .500 and are 13th in the Western Conference. The team had trouble closing games all season, which isn’t too surprising for a young team, but there was little to no improvement as the season progressed. Zach Lavine tearing his ACL did not help things. We saw a big year from Karl-AnthonyTowns, as he averaged 25 points and 12 boards. Andrew Wiggins also had an admirable campaign making great improvements on both sides of the ball and dropping 24 points a night. Despite that, in the end, this was a forgettable year for Minnesota.
2. The Detroit Pistons
(37-44) 10th in Eastern Conference
Last season the Detroit Pistons made the playoffs as the 8th seed and were looking to build upon that coming into this year. The Pistons have a decent team this year with Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all being young players with great futures ahead of them. Things started slowly for Detroit in the early months of the season. Fans expected the Pistons to kick things into gear when Reggie Jackson returned from injury, but even then they were never really able to get into a rhythm as a team. They have a solid core for the future, but one thing that this year confirmed is that there are a lot of moves that need to take place in order to see the Pistons back in the mix as a threat in the Eastern Conference.
1. The New York Knicks
(30-51) 12th in Eastern Conference
Heading into the 2016-2017 season, Knicks guard Derrick Rose felt that they head a “super team” on their hands. I wasn’t against that claim. Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah on paper sounds like a pretty good team, right? Wrong. This season has been a complete disaster. From Melo trade rumors to the countless injuries to Rose disappearing for a game, things could not have been worse. The potential of Kristaps Porzingis is currently the only bright spot for Knicks fans. The issues between the players and management have become public and their longtime star Carmelo Anthony’s future with the team is uncertain. They will likely have a good pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, so maybe that will start a resurgence for the Knicks.