5 NBA Playoff Contenders Who Will Get off to Slow Starts in 2012-13
The NBA season always has a tendency to start off rather slowly, and teams many thought were good come out looking rather weak.
The start of the season is by far the worst time to judge teams and for the most part, it doesn't do a good job of foreshadowing the rest of the year.
There are five teams in particular that while they might make the playoffs, they will start the season poorly.
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For the first time since 2008, Washington can put a playoff team on the floor. Bradley Beal and John Wall look to form an exciting backcourt duo that can develop into something scary.
Nene and Emeka Okafor will be locking down the paint on defense and should have solid contributions on offense as well. The roster still has many role players on it, but it has enough talent to be successful.
With that said, the team has a lot of new faces and still has the problem of Randy Wittman as the head coach. If I am correct, he should not last long on the Wizards, but the beginning of the season will be shaky.
Beal and Wall will work on developing chemistry and the roster will try to find an identity on the offensive end.
Expect them to be in the familiar spot near the bottom of the conference through the first few weeks of the year.
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This team went through a ton of changes this offseason and this is the first time since 2007 that Jason Kidd is not the floor general.
The additions of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo do a good job of making the team younger while newly acquired Chris Kaman fills a hole at center. Elton Brand and Dahntay Jones will also help coming off the bench.
However, the team has very different look this year and it’s going to take time to adjust. Collison will speed the game up a little, and Jason Terry will no longer be there to provide a scoring spark of the bench.
Kaman finally gives the Mavs a low-post threat which could open things up for Dirk and the shooters around him. They won’t be terrible to start, but they will start very slowly.
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The Brooklyn Nets are finally a threat in the Eastern Conference. Deron Williams now has help in Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez is hoping to return strong from an injury-plagued season.
The cast around the three is strong as well with MarShon Brooks and Gerald Wallace providing support. Even with all the hype, there are still problems to sort out.
Johnson is a star who needs to build some chemistry with Williams, and Lopez is coming off a season in which he only played five games.
The Nets will also be playing in a brand-new arena in front of a whole new crowd. It will take time to adjust to everything, so don't expect anything great from Brooklyn to start.
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The Wolves raised some eyebrows early last season when Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love had the team on pace on to make the postseason. However, those hopes crumbled when Rubio went down with an ACL tear.
This season, Minnesota returns with an even stronger cast. Love should continue his trend of improving every season, and Nikola Pekovic will see big starter minutes right away.
Brandon Roy is coming back to the league and the Wolves should see inspired play out of him as well as Kirilenko, who was also missing from the league last season.
The cast does lack chemistry, though, and Roy and Kirilenko will both need time to adjust. It shouldn't take long, but the start in Minnesota is going to be very unimpressive.
New Orleans Hornets
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The greatest strength of the Hornets is also their greatest weakness. They are a young team full of potential, but that does not in any way translate to immediate wins.
Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers have yet to play an NBA game and Rivers needs to adjust to playing a role he has never had. He will have to pass the ball now that he is next to Eric Gordon and step up on the defensive end.
Gordon will have to become the leader of the team and stay healthy. Ryan Anderson is going to have to play without Dwight Howard down low and thus fewer open looks from deep.
There are a lot of things players will have to do that they have never done before. The first few weeks or even the first month could be ugly.
I firmly believe this team can make the playoffs, but I would be surprised if they make that statement early on.
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