Every NBA team spends the whole season building a championship-caliber roster. It’s not uncommon for a club to open the season as heavy favorites to win their division and go far into the playoffs after assembling a squad full of talented individuals.
Less than three months remain in the regular 2022-23 NBA season, and thus far it has been wonderful. Some teams have underperformed both surprisingly and predictably, and it’s up to them to figure out whether they can make a comeback.
Nowadays, even modest slipups aren’t really so insignificant. While there is still much time this season and any team may make a turnaround, these three teams will be taking a long, hard look at themselves to see if they can fix their flaws this year.
3. Golden State Warriors
It’s understandable that the reigning champions, who have an aging core, would take it easy during the regular season. However, the team’s 6-18 road record, 17th-ranked offense, and negative point differential beggar belief. Sure, the Warriors weren’t doing so hot before Curry’s recent absence or Andrew Wiggins’.
The Warriors’ starting lineup has been dominating all season long, and the team’s recent showings against the Celtics, provide cause for confidence that they can still compete with top-tier contenders. No one knows whether the bench can carry any significant load, and the defense is no longer a reliable safety net. The Warriors have very little room to make mistakes now, yet they continue to do it nevertheless.
2. Atlanta Hawks
While the Hawks’ current five-game winning streak is encouraging, this season has still fallen well short of the lofty expectations that accompanied the deal for Dejounte Murray. The defense has become better, but the offense is in danger of being ranked among the worst in the league because of its reliance on a small number of players.
Nobody is moving, neither the ball nor the player. Trae Young and Murray engage in a futile charade of who will take the lead, with Young’s 3-point percentage being over 35 percent due solely to a recent hot run. For a club that just traded Kevin Huerter and desperately needs shooting, it just won’t cut it. Atlanta is fourth in the NBA in 3-point percentage, behind only Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
1. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves had been predicted to win 50 games and finish in the playoff’s top four. They risked a lot to acquire Rudy Gobert, but they must have thought they could contend for a conference championship in the West Conference to make such a move. There was no intention of this lasting very long.
After coming so close to winning a playoff series last year, this group will have a difficult time making the playoffs this year. Although it was the defense that was expected to improve significantly, they have actually regressed since last year.