NBA Preseason 2012: 3 Teams That Will Struggle at the Start of the Season

Saakib ZafraniCorrespondent IIOctober 17, 2012

The Wizards are going to miss John Wall early in the season.
The Wizards are going to miss John Wall early in the season.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the tipoff of the NBA's 67th season less than two weeks away, some teams' offseason and preseason struggles look like they might follow them into the fall. 

Some are more obvious as situations go from already bad to worse, but there are some playoff teams from last season that might start slowly out of the gate.


Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers made quite a splash in the offseason by locking up Dwight Howard after what seemed to be an eternity. They also brought in a prolific point guard in Steve Nash and managed to retain Pau Gasol through it all. 

They did have to let go of Andrew Bynum, who is now with the Philadelphia 76ers, but essentially swapping Bynum for Howard is a slam dunk in anyone's book. 

This all sounds a bit familiar. Bringing two superstar players to a huge-market team? It's the hottest thing since—okay, I'll let it go. 

The point is, these superstars need time to gel. With Howard potentially missing the season opener—and perhaps even more—with his back injury, the Lakers might start out more slowly than fans would like. 

There is a silver lining, though. That team which shall not be mentioned made it to the NBA Finals in the first year of their "Big Three." They lost, but the Lakers don't have to share the same fate.


Washington Wizards

Let's be honest. The Wizards were a traveling circus act last season. Next to the Charlotte Bobcats, they were the worst team in the league with a 20-46 record. 

To be fair, it really looked like the Wizards were finally making the right moves this offseason to complement John Wall. They brought in Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza as well as drafted Bradley Beal.

The Wizards looked to take some of the burden off of Wall with the addition of players who can put in quality minutes. 

Unfortunately, Wall went down with a stress injury and is out for eight weeks. The injury occurred toward the end of September, so Wall is slated to miss the first month of the season. 

The Wizards were hoping that Wall and Co. would have had the first month or so to build chemistry and show a few flashes of brilliance. Having him miss that time could prove telling for Washington's playoff chances. 

Washington fans won't mind too much, though. They're too busy watching Lord Griffin III over at FedEx Field.


Philadelphia 76ers 

Depending on Andrew Bynum's form after he returns from his injury, the 76ers could be in for a tough start. 

Don't get me wrong, Bynum is one of the best centers on the hardwood when he's on his game, but Lakers fans will tell you that he can be very streaky. 

At least with Andre Iguodala, the 76ers had a known commodity and a very good player in his own right. 

Also, as with any team bringing in a big-time star—or any player for that matter—there will be a familiarization period to start.

The 76ers look good so far this preseason, but preseason play isn't the best indication of a team's fortunes. Case in point, the Lakers are 0-4, and the Kings are 2-0.

Philadelphia has put a lot of their stock in Bynum, and hopefully, they fully understand what they're getting. Bynum has a wealth of talent but is a disciplinary red flag if I've ever seen one. Call him the Brandon Marshall of the NBA.