Biggest Flops of the NBA Preseason
The NBA preseason is a time for every organization to establish its rotation, create unity among players and kick the kinks before the real competition begins.
Unfortunately for some, even exhibition play has been underwhelming up to this point.
With the season right around the corner, it's clear which squads have made a name for themselves. The Chicago Bulls are 7-0, the New Orleans Pelicans are 6-1, and the Toronto Raptors have also overachieved.
But for every team that has done well, there's another that has flopped during preseason play.
Disappointments aren't just limited to teams, either. Players can come in with high expectations and let down those around them. Even those who have fallen to injury can be considered a disappointment, as fans have had their hopes crushed early in the process.
The new year is right around the corner, but a few unfortunate organizations have more to deal with than they bargained for entering the preseason.
When the Milwaukee Bucks went through a face lift over the summer, nobody quite knew how the team would jell entering the new year.
As it turns out, the new-look roster needs more time together before we declare their offseason a victory.
In the Bucks' defense, they did what they needed to do. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis weren't sticking around long term, and they brought in adequate pieces to replace the stars.
O.J. Mayo, Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight are good additions to any roster, and Caron Butler and Carlos Delfino help round out the revamped rotation.
The problem is that when changes occur, fans want to see results. A 1-5 record isn't what people were hoping for, and observers can only hope they're getting the losses out of the way early.
New York Knicks
Like the Milwaukee Bucks, nobody quite knew what to expect from the New York Knicks entering the preseason.
Then again, nobody ever quite knows what to expect from this group, yet we all blame them if they're not on the level of the league's most elite competitors.
While preseason basketball means very little for long-term prominence, we haven't seen championship play out of this squad just yet. They're 2-4 in exhibition play, and if you've watched them, it's clear they're going to be without a reliable backup to an aging Tyson Chandler.
On top of the losing record, J.R. Smith has been suspended for five games for violating the league's anti-drug policy, according to Ian Begley of ESPN New York. Pair that with the overall health of the team, and Knicks fans have reason for concern with the 2013-14 season around the corner.
C.J. McCollum being a preseason flop is not his fault. In fact, it's not even the fault of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Nonetheless, fans in Rip City are frustrated after watching yet another young player fall to injury before his playing days ever truly begin.
As a score-first point guard, McCollum was supposed to come in and make a difference right away. The Trail Blazers' bench was as bad as it comes in 2012-13, and while his style mirrored that of Damian Lillard's, the two guards were expected to form the same kind of bond on the floor that they've established off of it.
The concerning part for Portland is that this is not a first offense. McCollum broke the same bone in his foot during his senior year of college, and now the organization has to wonder if it drafted yet another promising yet injury-prone prospect.
Don't write off McCollum just yet, but understand this is a blow to a team that will be fighting for a playoff spot in a deep Western Conference.
I can't reiterate this enough. Trey Burke's injury is not his fault, nor is it the fault of the Utah Jazz.
But just like C.J. McCollum and the Portland Trail Blazers, that doesn't change the disappointment of the fans cheering for a talented young point guard.
In the case of Utah, we all knew coming into the year that the team would be bad. The new roster doesn't have much of a chance to compete against the top teams out West, but the bright spot was supposed to be found in entertainment.
Even if this team wasn't winning, it had a solid mix of talent that was going to play an exciting brand of basketball. The good news is that Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Gordon Hayward will still compete night in and night out, but the bad news is that Burke will be out approximately six weeks, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.
With Dwight Howard gone, the Los Angeles Lakers have the luxury of being flexible between the power forward and center positions. It's a small silver lining, but it's one that gives players such as Jordan Hill and Pau Gasol a chance to play their natural positions.
Despite the signing of Chris Kaman, Gasol deserves a chance to start at center. That leaves the 4-spot wide open, and Hill should be looked at as a candidate to start from Day 1.
The problem is that Hill has not performed up to par throughout the preseason. He hasn't shown he's worthy of a starting spot, and he certainly doesn't look like someone to build around as the stars fade away into the future.
Through seven games, Hill is averaging a respectable six rebounds per contest, but that's about all fans have to cheer about. In 15.3 minutes per outing, he's recording just 4.1 points.
Hill has a chance to earn a lot of minutes in 2013-14, but he must improve once the regular season arrives.
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