The Top 10 NBA Teams Going Downhill

Ethan WeiserCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2010

The Top 10 NBA Teams Going Downhill

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    Professional sports always see constant shakeups. Teams get better, then they get worse, then better then worse. The No. 1 teams are only No. 1 for so long, before they hand it off to new teams.

    This year, we saw some shakeups in the NBA surrounding the high class free agents. We will also be seeing some more highly anticipated ones in the years to come.

    With all of these moves, aging players, and team adjustments, here are the 10 NBA teams whose status is on the decline in the coming years.

10. Denver Nuggets

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    The Denver Nuggets make this team purely on the basis of the possible departure of Carmelo Anthony.

    If the Heat win the title this year, and the Nuggets struggle, there will be no question in my mind that Melo will dump Colorado for NYC, or another bidder. 

    The Nuggets also have a lot of money committed to older players, and while the promise of Ty Lawson, and other young players looks good, they'll need to really make a push for the NBA championship now in order to keep Melo going for a few more years.

    If Carmelo stays, they'll be a 2-5 seed team.

    If Carmelo leaves, they'll be in the lottery, and a completely new roster will have to emerge out of it.

9. Dallas Mavericks

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    As the No. 2 seed last year, the Mavericks had a productive offseason adding Tyson Chandler, and filling a large gap at center.

    However, with most of the roster filled with older players, in their mid- or late-30s, the Mavericks are pretty close to the end of the Nowitzki era. And without a ring to show for it, the Mavs aren't going to be impressing anyone in around three years.

    If you look at some of the best teams in the NBA, they've all got some young stars giving them youth, and a bright spot for the future.

    The Lakers have Bynum, the Celtics have Rondo, the Hawks have Horford. The Mavericks don't have that.

    While most of their players aren't playing with walkers in hand, when they start to, the Mavericks aren't going to have a well-equipped backup plan.

    We also don't know when the fall of their older players could occur, so the large tower that the Mavericks have built up, could collapse any season now.

8. New Orleans Hornets

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    A recap of the last three years of Hornets basketball: 2nd seed in the West, 7th seed in the West, 11th seed in the West.

    It seems as though the Hornets have already gone downhill in the past few years. The possibility of CP3 leaving for free agency in the coming years is what brings them to this list.

    Having a roster filled out by large contracts of players who have seen better days of basketball (Okafor, West, Stojakovic), it doesn't seem like the Hornets are going to be showing a whole lot of improvement in the coming seasons.

    In my mind it was the right choice to move Darren Collison, but they could've probably done better than Ariza.

7. Boston Celtics

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    When you look back at what the Celtics accomplished last season, being just four points away from winning an NBA title, it's hard to say that they are on the decline.

    However, when you look at the Boston Celtics, you can see why they are.

    Adding Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal may give them another legitimate shot at the NBA title, but that only gives them one shot at it.

    The major Celtics contributers have one more really good season ahead of them, but when they all start to feel a little old, it's all going to fall.

    And they've only got one piece to help them recover.

    As far as I can see, the only young Celtic to help them once Paul Pierce is past his prime, is Rajon Rondo.

    Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O'Neal, Shaquille O'Neal, and Rasheed Wallace have all hit the high points in their careers, and are slowly becoming seasoned veterans destined to guide younger players from the bench.

    And with the future Celtics only including Rondo, Big Baby, and Kendrick Perkins, it's not going to help that much. 

6. Phoenix Suns

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    The Suns weren't shy about replacing Amar'e Stoudemire this offseason. However, no one is saying that those moves will be enough for the Suns to recover from that loss.

    With only a few more seasons left with Steve Nash and Grant Hill, the Suns are going to start needing a complete overhaul with young players like Robin Lopez, and Goran Dragic to bring them up.

    Instead, the Suns prepared for the next couple seasons with Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress, and Hakim Warrick.

    While that could potentially secure them a low playoff seed, in three years, it won't make any difference whatsoever.

5. Detroit Pistons

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    Unlike a lot of the other teams on this list, the Pistons are a team whose decline is already in progress.

    After winning the finals with a core of Chauncey Billups, the Wallaces, Rip Hamilton, and Tayshaun Prince not too long ago, the Pistons have been on a steady slope down ever since.

    The team really saw itself going down last season after Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace were replaced by Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva.

    With a lot of large contracts, and not too much of a direction in sight, the Pistons are a questionable team at best for the upcoming season, and without a lot of roster changes in the offseason, it'll be the lottery once again for Detroit.

4. San Antonio Spurs

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    The once-great dynasty will soon see its demise.

    The Spurs are getting much older, and with only a few short years left in Duncan, and only one short year on Parker's contract, the near future doesn't look too bright for arguably the best team of the last decade.

    The distant future shows some bright spots in DaJuan Blair, and George Hill, but with constant injuries, and an overly seasoned roster, don't expect the seventh seed from last year moving up too many spots in the playoffs.

3. Charlotte Bobcats

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    With a slightly revamped roster last season, the Bobcats were able to secure their first playoff spot in franchise history, and promptly lost all four games to the Magic, and were eliminated.

    With this rising team, there were expectations of an upgrade to get the roster in better shape to move further into the offseason.

    That didn't happen.

    Instead, the Bobcats traded away Tyson Chandler for next to nothing, and got even less for their starting point guard Raymond Felton.

    Granted, the Bobcats didn't really want either player there, but when you get rid of players of that caliber, you can't do it nearly free of charge.

    The Bobcats got rid of two of their better players in the offseason, and now will probably struggle to see the postseason.

2. Toronto Raptors

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    When a non-playoff team loses the only thing keeping them from being terrible, they become: terrible.

    When LeBron James left the Cavs, he left them with Mo Williams, JJ Hickson, Antwan Jamison, and some other building blocks. Chris Bosh left the Raptors with much, much less.

    Jose Calderon has proven himself as a reliable starting PG, but the rest of the roster doesn't really have a player that would be worthy to start on any other NBA team.

    This is really a team that's going from bad to worse.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

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    After being dumped on national television by their two-time MVP, the Cavaliers look like they're going to be a little lost without LeBron.

    Granted, in the upcoming NBA season, the Cavs should do a little better than the Raptors. But, the higher they are, the harder they fall.

    It's going to be rough going from the best to the lottery, but that's where the Cavs put themselves.

    You have to at least give the King this: surrounding a two-time MVP with a supporting cast should've been done with a little more success than Mo Williams and Antwan Jamison.