NBA Teams That Will Be Eliminated from Playoff Contention Early on
We may only be a few games into the season, but teams are already letting the public know what type of season they're going to have. Some of them won't take long to be eliminated from 2013 Playoff contention.
Teams like Minnesota look to fire back up after injured players come back, and the Lakers will resurrect like they always do. I'm not too worried about squads in these categories.
There are some teams, however, that just don't have the right pieces to make a postseason appearance. From Cleveland, who has been working on a stable roster for a few years, to Orlando, who finds itself shaken without its star center, these are six teams that won't make it very far in the 2012-13 season.
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Cleveland is working hard to build a contending team, but it's not quite there yet.
Second-year guard Kyrie Irving stands alone as the squad's star player, averaging 24.3 points and 6.3 assists per game.
Cleveland puts up substantial point totals in each game, but they can't pull off those clutch-time plays. In every contest thus far, the Cavaliers have struggled significantly at least one quarter, and they find themselves struggling to play catchup.
In addition, offensive successes don't mean much when a team's defense is unable to stop the opponent. Cleveland ranks last in the NBA for points allowed by opponents, as it's allowed an average of 104 points per game.
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Detroit only has a single win under its belt, and even that victory seemed more due to Philadelphia's struggles than to Detroit's success.
As a whole, Detroit doesn't have the on-court chemistry to pull it together for a postseason presence. In almost every significant category, the Pistons find themselves ranked at the bottom of the league. They are No. 23 in overall points per game, No. 24 in rebounding and No. 22 in points allowed against.
These types of numbers will not get a team far into the season.
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In their defense, they didn't have much of a choice... but the Magic losing Dwight Howard puts them in a bigger predicament than before.
Orlando is 2-5 right now, and I don't see the squad being playoff ready this season or even next. The Magic have a ton of guys. On paper, their starting five are putting up decent point totals each night. Arron Afflalo is averaging 16.1 PPG; E'Twawn Moore is averaging 13.3 PPG; and Glen Davis is averaging 15.4 PPG.
The problem, though, is Orlando's roster doesn't have much depth at all. Even with their top guys putting up double-digit points, the Magic rank No. 28 in the NBA with an average of only 88 points per game.
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The Sacramento Kings are off to a rough start, and the light doesn't look to be at the end of the tunnel for an unstable squad.
Take a look at this comment on ESPN.com during Week 2 of the 2012-13 season:
"Does anyone even remember that Tyreke Evans was the Rookie of the Year in 2010? DeMarcus Cousins is making the wrong kind of headlines yet again, but Evans is off to a career-worst start after the Halloween deadline for contract extensions for his draft class came and went."
The above quote pretty much sums up the Kings' woes. Their so-called "star" players aren't living up to expectations, and the team is struggling to perform.
Sacramento comes up last in the league for assists. Tyreke Evans dishes out the most, and he's only averaging 3.3 a game.
The Kings have a hard time putting points on the board; as long as their point guard is only coming up with three assists per contest, it's going to be hard to get some strong plays going.
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The Toronto Raptors have struggled the last few seasons, and I don't think 2013 will be their year, either.
Granted, the squad is missing two of its starting lineup due to injury. Kyle Lowry is projected to miss 1-2 weeks due to a bruised ankle bone, and Landry Fields underwent elbow surgery that will sideline him indefinitely.
Lowry's return to the court will certainly help Toronto as he averages 18.3 points per game.
However, the team has concerns other than offensive points scored. For instance, the Raptors commit an average of 13 turnovers per game to assists. The defense looks shaky, too. Only three blocks are averaged per game, and Toronto ranks No. 26 overall for points allowed per game.
The Raptors have several things to work on, and it won't be a quick fix. Their starting record of 2-6 is a good indicator of where the rest of the season is headed.
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The Washington Wizards are the only winless team thus far in the 2012-13 season. The future doesn't look good for them.
Washington just doesn't have the players to win, plain and simple. Its "big name" player, John Wall, is sidelined with a knee injury and doesn't look to be coming back any sooner than 8-10 weeks.
The Wizards actually put a decent defensive squad on the floor, but points will always win basketball games. When your top offensive guy is only averaging 11.3 points per night, there's a problem.
They'll most likely look to grab a high draft pick this year, and it will be a few years before a solid team comes together.