NBA Teams That Must Get Off to Fast Starts in 2012-13
Getting a quick start for an NBA team is often a key part to a successful season. What better way to make your team's presence known throughout the country than with a strong showing in the first few weeks of the season?
Some teams in the league could especially use an early winning streak for various reasons. Some teams are desperate to reestablish a winning culture in their organization, while some teams are looking to silence some critics burying them in the championship odds.
With that being said, let's take a look at six teams in particular that are in dire need of a fast beginning to their 2012-2013 campaigns.
6. Brooklyn Nets
Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
The Nets, formerly from New Jersey, are now going to be playing in a shiny new stadium in Brooklyn in some new colors with a lot of new faces.
However, what the Nets are now getting into is as old and traditional as it gets. This is of course the lofty expectations of being a professional sports organization in the state of New York.
No longer will the Nets be safely tucked away in New Jersey; instead, they have been thrust into the same spotlight as the Knicks, and the expectations to perform well come with the territory.
Therefore, it is key for Deron Williams and his squad to come out firing at the beginning of the season. After making some bold moves in acquiring Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace, the Nets now have a solid core to work with, even after losing out on Dwight Howard.
If the Nets don't live up to at least a .500 record or lower seed in the playoffs, they can expect to hear some jeers instead of cheers raining down from the stands at the Barclays Center.
5. Sacramento Kings
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
I mentioned earlier about teams needing fast starts out of desperation. The Sacramento Kings fit that description perfectly.
A team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2006 and that hasn't won more than 25 games since 2008 is now also dealing with more rumors of leaving town and some clueless owners in denial of their own bankruptcy and general brokeness.
If there's one thing Kings fans can hope for in the midst of these relocation rumors, it's that there is still in fact a team in Sacramento taking the court and that they have the talent to compete for a playoff spot.
DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas, and Marcus Thornton make a nice youthful core, and head coach Keith Smart showed last year that he might finally be the guy to put the puzzle together to make it work.
With a fast start, the Kings could not only revive life in their own organization, but maybe also the people of Sacramento and most importantly their owners, leading to a happy ending where the Kings stay and finally finish their seemingly endless rebuilding process.
4. Charlotte Bobcats
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
This may seem obvious, but the Bobcats are in dire need of showing the NBA that maybe they aren't the same pushovers from last season.
After finishing their last season with an NBA record for lowest winning percentage, Charlotte also got the second pick in the draft and got a great young potential star in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. At least with MKG paired with Kemba Walker, the Bobcats can at least stay competitive in games throughout the season.
Additionally, the Cats acquired the likes of Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon as well, to at least give them a spark on offense, even if it will take a high volume of shots and possessions to do so.
There's at least some hope for Charlotte for the future and hey, maybe the Bobcats can crack double digits in the win column this season.
3. Chicago Bulls
Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
With their fallen star Derrick Rose absent for at least the majority of the regular season, Chicago will have to show the NBA that they are still an elite team and playoff contender.
This is a tall task for a very defensive-minded team that doesn't have a whole lot of effective offensive options. Without Rose, the Bulls will have to turn to the likes of Carlos Boozer, Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng to bear the offensive load, with Nate Robinson adding a nice spark off the bench.
While the East isn't quite as strong as the West, the Bulls will still have to work for a playoff spot this year without Rose.
If Chicago can at least gather some momentum at the beginning of the year, they can ride that and try to stay relevant without Rose, hoping for an early return. If they stumble out of the gates, however, it could be a forgettable season for Bulls fans.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
The Lakers had a very busy offseason, and their high-profile acquisitions are causing a buzz amongst the NBA about how well they will all fit together.
This is the biggest key to the Lakers' success and as we saw a few seasons ago with the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat, fitting superstars together could take some time.
However, that time may seem a little tighter in the bright lights of Los Angeles, and you can bet the expectations from Lakers fans are already at an all-time high.
Which team will we see in the beginning part of the season though? A confused team with a lack of chemistry and overall togetherness? Or an All-Star-fueled powerhouse that mows down all competition in front of them?
In order for the team to stay in the good graces of the city they play for, it will have to be the latter.
1. Oklahoma City Thunder
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
All of the stuff I said in the last slide about the great expectations for the Lakers has an extended effect on the rest of the Western Conference, including the reigning West champs themselves.
With all the talk of Los Angeles becoming the best team in the West in a matter of weeks, people seemed to have forgotten about a little team in Oklahoma City who did a rather fine job last season.
Fans and analysts who seem to be handing the Lakers a trip to the Finals don't realize that the Thunder haven't gotten any worse from last year and you could argue that they are even better now.
This is where the fast start comes in. In order to maintain their dominance on the West and NBA in general, OKC will have to come out hot and ready when the season starts.
They will not only have to win games, but they will have to flat-out blow teams out in embarrassing fashion to prove to the Lakers and the rest of the world that they are still the team to beat.
If this Thunder team has shown us anything, it's that they are hungrier for success every year, and with the odds being continually stacked against them, you can expect them to be even more motivated this season.