Predicting 5 Biggest Disappointments of the 2012-13 NBA Season
The old saying goes that happiness is reality divided by expectations. The bigger the expectations, the more unhappy you'll stand to be with the results (Note: I was not a math major).
It is easier to be disappointed if you think your team is making a leap next season, or that the new free-agent signing will solve all of your favorite squad's problems.
I am here to help you avoid this optimism trap with some clear-eyed negativity. What letdowns lie ahead? Why should you be pleasantly surprised if your team happens to be competent?
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The good news for Miami is that they might not even need Ray Allen. If they do, that could be trouble. For all the talk of how the 37-year-old shooting guard will benefit from Miami's spacing, Allen did not improve as a three-point shooter when he joined up with the talent-laden 2007-2008 Celtics.
Of course, it was difficult for Allen to improve in this aspect because he was already so great to begin with. This brings me to my disappointment potential regarding the future Hall of Famer: He offers one elite skill and does not have much to offer should that skill fail him.
If Allen suffers a shooting slump in the way Shane Battier did last season, he has no compensating quality to make his court time worth its while.
Considering that Miami has struggled to integrate peripheral players over the past two seasons, I would watch out for a drop-off.
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The Brooklyn Nets have a lot of buzz surrounding their move, and their re-signing of Deron Williams. D-Will and Joe Johnson make up the "best backcourt in the East," which is an inventive way of shading the situation positively.
While I expect New-Brooklyn to make the Eastern Conference playoffs, that should be the lone expectation. This team was second-worst in the league on defense last season, and there is little reason to believe they will improve markedly.
The Nets will be relying on Johnson and Williams to fuel this offense, and both players love to dominate the ball. If the offensive attack is anything less than elite, this should make for a frustrating opening season.
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Look, I love Andrew Bynum as a player and overall cultural force. I find his imperious attitude hilarious, and never want him to change. But you know who might just want Andrew Bynum to change? His new head coach, Doug Collins.
Collins is a notorious micro-manager, possibly evidenced by his recent campaign to get Sixers writing their roles down on note cards (via SB Nation). Bynum seems like a terrible match for a tightly-wound coach bent on controlling everything.
Bynum is already starting off the year with knee issues, and he just left a medical staff with which he had some comfort. Considering that the Sixers traded their best defender to make this trade happen, the margin for error is slim.
Should Bynum miss some time, or quarrel with Collins, Philly will be in trouble.
Los Angeles Lakers
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I would not be shocked if Los Angeles wins the title next season, but a second-round exit would not shock me, either. For all the talent and hype of the big four, there are still many unknowns.
The biggest questions right now are, "How healthy is Dwight Howard?" and "When does he return?" But beyond that, Los Angeles has some overlapping roles to figure out.
Kobe Bryant has ostensibly functioned as this team's point guard over the course of his career (he often leads the team in assists). While I expect Steve Nash to improve the Laker offense, Kobe and Nash might have some initial difficulty in figuring out their roles initially.
The other role-overlap is in the frontcourt, where Dwight is forcing Pau Gasol into yet another year at the 4-spot. Gasol is a center, and he would play that position in a perfect world. The Lakers might struggle defensively against opponents who boast fast, three-point-shooting power forwards.
Obviously, Laker fans are happier than they were a few months ago. But an NBA Finals appearance is far from assured.
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Much like with Andrew Bynum, I love James Harden's game, but I fear for it on account of these new flopping regulations.
If David Stern really is intent on stopping the flop, Harden must evolve. So many drives of his end with a scoop layup that seeks contact. Harden's go-to flop is to whip his head back, flinging his gleaming beard to the sky. It is difficult to envision James Harden without either move, really.
Harden has the talent to transcend these new regulations, but peg him for an adjustment period. Seeing as how OKC will slot into a newly stacked Western Conference, the bearded one may disappoint this year.