Disappointing has to do with expectations. Teams who enter with high hopes have a high bar to jump over. Should they miss, fans, media and bettors can be disappointed.
After a whirlwind of an offseason, a lot of teams that enter the 2018-19 season with high hopes. However, the following four are in prime position to disappoint. Here’s why:
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers were one of the biggest offseason winners after they acquired LeBron James. Almost immediately, expectations were set high that this could be a 50+ win team and possibly a squad that could challenge the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference playoffs. While it’s true that James and a cast of near nobodies was good enough to win the East almost every year, the West is a different story. For starters, the cast is combustible. With guys like JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson, the Lakers have a number of players who have been locker room challenges before. After that, remember that this is a young team. Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Harter are in their second seasons, while Brandon Ingram is in his third. Lastly, it sometimes just takes time for teams to come together and the Lakers – with LeBron – haven’t had a ton of it.
The Lakers aren’t good enough to compete with the Warriors in the West and should this team be ousted in the first-round of the playoffs or fall short of 50 wins, they’ll be a big disappointment.
San Antonio Spurs
One of the reasons the Spurs made the trade for DeMar DeRozan was that their plan was to compete now. They figured that while they’re not getting a ton of future assets, getting DeRozan meant they could still cling to their chances of a title while coach Gregg Popovich was still on the sidelines. However, a slew of injuries to the teams back court may have wiped out those chances. Dejounte Murray is out for the season while first-round pick Lonnie Walker is out for at least a month. Derrick White is also out for about two months.
The Spurs were hoping to be a 50-win team again and possibly get to the second or third round of the playoffs. Without a solution at point guard, it’s hard to see how they do that.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers showed so much promise in the regular season last year, winning 49 games and finishing with the No. 3 seed in the West. And then all of that was flushed down the toilet as they were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans. So what’s going to change this year?
The mood actually seems quite sour entering the season. They have the same cast and many are wondering if it’s good enough to actually succeed. And succeed for this team is merely making it to the second round. Really, not much has changed so why expect a different result? Unless they find a third reliable scorer to take some pressure off of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard – preferable an interior presence – this team is doomed for disappointment.
The Rockets were a half away from beating the Golden State Warriors last season and that might be the high-point of their era. To some fans, losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute for Carmelo Anthony might seem like the sexy move. Anthony is a 10-time All-Star, after all. However, the reality is that Anthony is a shell of his former self, is terrible defensively and Ariza and Mbah a Moute were key in the team ranking sixth in defensive efficiency last season. Although it’s just one game, seeing the Rockets give up 131 at home to the Pelicans on opening night – and seeing Anthony score just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting – is not a good look.
The bar is set so high for this team: either beat the Warriors, finish the job and succeed, or fall short and disappoint. It seems this team is more likely to fall in the latter category.