The NBA's 4 Most Overrated Teams Entering 2022-23 Season

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured Columnist IVOctober 3, 2022

The NBA's 4 Most Overrated Teams Entering 2022-23 Season

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    PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 16: Devin Booker #1, Jae Crowder #99, Chris Paul #3, Mikal Bridges #25, and Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns huddle up during the game against the Houston Rockets on February 16, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

    The NBA is loaded with individual talent and several teams that could reasonably be expected to compete for a title.

    It's easy to fall for a number of those contenders, but increased parity throughout the league might lead to heartbreak.

    To determine which teams are likeliest to let you down, we'll look at preseason marks from FanDuel's sportsbook for both win totals and championship odds.

    Some of those projected to finish at or near the top of the mountain not only have that parity to deal with, but they'll also potentially be confronted by internal strife or lack of durability.

    The nexus of some or all of those ingredients gives us the most overrated teams in the league.

Boston Celtics

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    BOSTON, MA  - JUNE 15: Robert Williams III of the Boston Celtics addresses the media during 2022 NBA Finals Practice and Media Availability on June 15, 2022  at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

    Over-Under: 53.5 (tied for first)

    Championship Odds: +600 (shortest)

    It took the Boston Celtics months to click last season, and that team obviously made the NBA Finals. Even if they start slow in 2022-23, a similar story arc is certainly in play.

    But sheesh, there is a lot working against them right now, and it's tough to square that with the oddsmakers still seeing the Celtics as the best team in the league.

    First, and perhaps most importantly, this roster lost its head coach for at least this season when Ime Udoka was suspended for "multiple" violations of team policies. That news and its fallout coming within a month of training camp may not be a death knell for the season, but it sure isn't going to help on the stability front.

    Add to that the loss of Danilo Gallinari to a torn ACL and starting center Robert Williams III to a knee surgery that could cost him several months, and things suddenly look pretty shaky in Boston.

    Of course, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are still around and presumably pre-prime. They should keep the Celtics in the hunt until things (hopefully) coalesce, but they'll miss Williams.

    Last season, the team was an eye-popping plus-21.1 points per 100 possessions when Tatum, Brown and Williams were all on the floor. It was plus-2.9 points per 100 possessions when Tatum and Brown played without Williams.

    The big man's absence, Gallinari's injury or Udoka's suspension all could've been enough to sow some doubt in Boston being the best team in basketball. Having all three happen is legitimately concerning.

Brooklyn Nets

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    BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 25: Kyrie Irving #11 talks to Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets during Round 1 Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 25, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
    Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

    Over-Under: 51.5 (sixth)

    Championship Odds: +700 (tied for third shortest)

    The book isn't quite as high on the Brooklyn Nets, but they're still in the top tier of contenders. It's not hard to see why.

    If everyone is focused, available and altruistic, Brooklyn could be a juggernaut.

    Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of the greatest offensive players of all time, Ben Simmons is a uniquely gifted initiator and there's plenty of shooting and talent throughout the rest of the supporting cast.

    Of course, focus, availability and altruism all felt like long shots throughout an offseason in which Brooklyn seemed on the verge of a teardown.

    Kyrie wanted out bad enough to reportedly consider taking a mid-level exception elsewhere. KD demanded a trade, and when that didn't work, he issued an ultimatum and said the team had to choose between him and a brain trust that includes coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Simmons just missed all of 2021-22, partly to focus on his mental health and partly because of a back injury.

    Things may seem hunky dory at the moment, but a little adversity could stoke whatever motivated this summer's discontent. And those intangible concerns are only the start for the Nets.

    Durant is a 34-year-old, post-ruptured-Achilles forward who only managed 80 appearances in the past two seasons. Kyrie has averaged 55.5 games per season throughout his career (and just 34.3 over the past three years). Simmons has the aforementioned back issues. Even sharpshooter Joe Harris is now a concern after an ankle injury that limited him to 14 appearances in 2021-22 necessitated a "reconstruction surgery."

    The Nets may have real championship upside, but it's tough to believe in them reaching those heights. This is the NBA's version of a half-played game of Jenga.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 31: Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George (13) sit on the bench during a NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls on March 31, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
    Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Over-Under: 52.5 (tied for third)

    Championship Odds: +700 (tied for third shortest)

    It doesn't feel like the Los Angeles Clippers are exposed to the same potential chemistry issues as Boston or Brooklyn, but the age and injury concerns are real.

    Kawhi Leonard popularized the term "load management," and that was even before he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. He's now averaged fewer than 40 appearances per year over the past half-decade.

    As Leonard ages into his 30s, it's hard to imagine he'll suddenly become more durable. A random absence at the wrong moment could be crippling.

    Some level of uncertainty with Kawhi is pretty much built in, but he's no longer the only question mark on that front.

    Paul George has averaged just 44.3 games per season over the past three years, and he's even older than the 31-year-old Leonard.

    The supporting cast for those two is solid and deep, but Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Reggie Jackson, John Wall and Robert Covington are all over 30, too.

    If the roster stays relatively healthy, this team can absolutely win the title, but that's far from a safe bet.

Phoenix Suns

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    DALLAS, TEXAS - MAY 12: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns talks with Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter of Game Six of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals at American Airlines Center on May 12, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
    Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

    Over-Under: 53.5 (tied for first)

    Championship Odds: +1000 (sixth shortest)

    It's not hard to find breakdowns of the Phoenix Suns' bad vibes all over the internet. The team has all but invited those pieces since they went up 2-1 against the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals.

    From that moment on, Phoenix lost three of four to Dallas (including two embarrassing blowouts in Games 6 and 7), found out governor Robert Sarver had decided to sell the team in the wake of an investigation into his behavior around the workplace, let Deandre Ayton sign an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers before matching it and received a trade request from starting forward Jae Crowder.

    At media day, no one was able to quell any concerns. If anything, Ayton only added to them with dreadfully awkward responses...

    Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

    Ayton seems thrilled about his new contract with the Suns šŸ˜… <a href="https://t.co/wR4oceX3Xo">pic.twitter.com/wR4oceX3Xo</a>

    ...or stunning revelations about his relationship with coach Monty Williams.

    Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

    Ayton and Monty Williams have yet to talk after the Suns' playoff semifinal loss to the Mavs šŸ‘€ <a href="https://t.co/cA2xayjC6E">pic.twitter.com/cA2xayjC6E</a>

    And if all of that wasn't enough, the Suns just lost a home preseason game to the NBL's Adelaide 36ers. Phoenix was a 28-point favorite.

    Of course, the most important pieces of a team that won 64 games in 2021-22 are all in place. It's not hard to imagine this team being a regular-season wins machine again, but this is a mountain of bad vibes to overcome.

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