5 Struggling NBA Teams That Will Turn Their Season Around

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2012

5 Struggling NBA Teams That Will Turn Their Season Around

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    The NBA season is young, but a number of teams are already experiencing some immense disappointment.

    A lack of training camp has left numerous rosters on separate wavelengths, while the condensed schedule is already taking its toll on others. These conflicts may call for a sense of urgency within the locker room and front office, yet hope is not lost on all fronts.

    Some of league's suffering organizations will go down for the count, but others will clean up their act and turn the season around.

Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets' 3-6 start is not indicative of the team they truly are.

    Kyle Lowry has been an All-Star candidate this season, but outside of him, there has been plenty of room for improvement. Kevin Martin has been inconsistent, Luis Scola seems complacent, Marcus Morris flaked out early on and Samuel Dalembert has struggled to acclimate himself to Houston's system.

    All of that being said, such struggles are to be expected, at least at this stage. Martin and Scola are fresh off an extended offseason that saw them traded only to be returned. Dalembert is new to Houston and Morris is only a rookie.

    Moving forward, fully expect to see Marcus Morris return better equipped for NBA-caliber play. Dalembert has already started showing signs of improvement, and while Scola's production may have peaked, don't expect Martin to be held back much longer, as he is bound to be fully healthy and free of resentment at some point.

    Even Courtney Lee should put up much better numbers soon enough.

    As long as Lowry is able to stay out of the legal system, this team's talent suggests their season is far from over.

Boston Celtics

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    The Boston Celtics may have won their last championship with this core, but don't expect them to fade off into the sunset just yet.

    Ray Allen has been a monster from the perimeter, putting up over 20 points per game, and at this point it's safe to say Rajon Rondo can thrive alongside stars both in their prime and headed toward retirement.

    While Kevin Garnett remains a shell of his former self, his defense has picked up as of late, and that is not to be discounted.

    For all those worrying about Paul Pierce, don't. The small forward is off to a lukewarm start, but he hasn't fully recovered from his heel injury just yet. His production is bound to pick up.

    Let's also not forget about Brandon Bass, who seems to be improving by the second. He has turned himself into a two-way player and serves as a refreshing symbol of youth on a team sponsored by Father Time.

    Are the Celtics contenders anymore? Debatable, but they are still a threat to win on any given night against any given team. Even without Jeff Green, Boston has appeared deeper than advertised, and although they continue to hover around the .500 mark, don't expect that to last.

    The Celtics will be bolstering up their wins column in no time.

Golden State Warriors

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    The Golden State Warriors are 3-6 and appear to be falling fast, but they are also off an impressive overtime win against the Miami Heat, so don't write them off just yet.

    Stephen Curry's recurring ankle injury has hampered this team's performance dramatically. He has attempted to play through it, but it has only disrupted the Warriors' chemistry further. That being said, at only 23, it would be foolish to believe he won't recover and continue his path to superstardom.

    More notable than Curry's injury perhaps is Monta Ellis. He continues to score like always, but he has proved to be a chameleon, assuming the point guard duties at will and dishing the ball off beautifully.

    Also, don't sleep on Golden State's addition of Nate Robinson. He provides instant offense off the bench, which has been a sore spot for the Warriors as of late.

    Curry's injury has plagued this team, and turmoil has become even more prevalent thanks to Mark Jackson's attempt to reinvent Golden State's defensive culture. It will take time for Curry to fully heal and return to form, just as it will take time for the Warriors to excel in Jackson's system.

    Rest assured, that time is coming. And soon.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    The Memphis Grizzlies season has been marked by a myriad of injuries and a flurry of cohesion struggles so far, yet better days are on the horizon.

    At 3-6, the Grizzlies currently have little to be excited about. Rudy Gay is the team's leading scorer, but has struggled on both ends of the floor. Injuries to Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have hindered the team's progress as well, and O.J. Mayo's tendency to disappear has become much too prevalent.

    Amidst all of the aforementioned shortcomings, how are we to believe the Grizzlies are on the verge of turning their season around? Resiliency.

    Memphis, while close to the bottom of the barrel at this point, is a tough team. They overcame an injury to their star player last season, and they will overcome the struggles of this season. Keep in mind that Marc Gasol has continued to impress, and when healthy, Randolph and Conley have been successful at their respective crafts.

    Incorporating Gay back into the offense is not supposed to be an easy feat. In his absence, Gasol, Randolph and Conley all stepped up and emerged as players who deserve to have the ball in their hands. As a result, Memphis is left with the task of balancing out their offense, and communicating better on defense.

    Are these deficiencies the Grizzlies will correct? Absolutely, and expect the team as a whole to be on the same page once again sooner, rather than later.

New York Knicks

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    The bar for the New York Knicks was set pretty high heading into this season, and they have failed to meet it thus far. To think this team is on the verge of imploding, though, would be incredibly ignorant.

    Carmelo Anthony and company have been horrific on the defensive end—as per usual—and injuries to numerous players, including Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert, haven't helped things either.

    That being said, this team is officially on its way to greener pastures.

    The basketball world can call for Mike D'Antoni's job all it wants, but the Knicks are undergoing a major identity transformation. Their defense has been terrible, yet it is being preached, from Mike Woodson all the way up to D'Antoni, and it is going to fall into place.

    Both Tyson Chandler and Stoudemire are now hitting the glass hard, and Anthony's court vision has never been clearer.

    As for the shortcomings of Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, people tend to forget that they are still in the developing process. Their games will come to them soon enough.

    Will the Knicks win the championship this year? The Miami Heat's superstar trio failed to accomplish such a feat in their first season together, and it is likely New York with follow suit.

    A deep postseason run, however, is far from out of the question for this squad.