After about 4 weeks of NBA basketball and several postponements for Health and Safety Protocols, now is a great time to look at every team’s biggest disappointment so far. For some teams, it’ll be hard to find a disappointment as they have been off to such a hot start and for others, there will be too many to choose from. With that being said let’s jump into this week’s power rankings.
- Los Angeles Lakers
Previous Ranking: 1 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Kyle Kuzma
After another offseason with some high hopes for Kuzma, he has come in and disappointed yet again. He’s averaging career lows in points per game and field goal percentage this season, along with a career low in minutes played. His role was expected to be smaller this year with the additions of Montrezl Harrel and Dennis Schroder, however the drop off was not expected to be this big.
- Los Angeles Clippers
Previous Ranking: 2 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Lou Williams
The former Sixth Man of the Year award winner has looked like a shell of his former self. Williams is averaging under 10 points per game for the first time in his career since his second year in the NBA. He has been hurting the Clippers more than helping them, as he is a major defensive liability and doesn’t really contribute unless he is getting buckets. It leaves us wondering whether this is just a slump, or if he has really regressed this much.
- Milwaukee Bucks
Previous Ranking: 6 (Up 3)
Biggest Disappointment: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throw shooting
The main thing holding Giannis back from becoming the most unstoppable player in the league has been his shooting ability. His three point shooting is improving, but his free throw shooting has regressed significantly. After shooting over 70% from the charity stripe two seasons ago, it has dropped down to 57.5% this year. Giannis had a game this week where he shot 1-10 from the line, but the Bucks were still able to pick up the win. He will need to start cashing in on these free points, or else it will start costing them games later down the line.
- Phoenix Suns
Previous Ranking: 4 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Deandre Ayton
Ayton was one of the most common Most Improved Player picks in the preseason after the addition of Chris Paul to the Suns. In theory, Paul was supposed to help him get more open looks, and make him a monster in the pick and roll. However, he is currently averaging a career low in points, only scoring 12.5 points per game and is the 4th leading scorer on a team many thought he would be the second or third option. He has looked far less aggressive and will need to start being more aggressive if he wants to get out of this slump.
- Boston Celtics
Previous Ranking: 5 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Aaron Nesmith
When the Celtics picked Nesmith with the 14th overall pick in the draft this year, many fans viewed him as a 3-and-D wing who could come in and contribute right away. That has not been the case however, as he has been given little opportunity to come in and produce. In the time that he has played, he hasn’t hit the three ball at the high efficiency he had in college, as he is only shooting only 21% from three. So far, he has been a nonfactor for the Celtics, which is disappointing for a lottery pick.
- Philadelphia 76ers
Previous Ranking: 3 (Down 3)
Biggest Disappointment: Ben Simmons’ lack of perimeter scoring
Similar to Giannis, Ben Simmons has been held back from his lack of ability to score outside of the paint. Every year, fans see clips of Simmons working on his jump shot in the gym, but that has never translated into a real game. He seems unwilling to even look at the rim sometimes when he has the ball, and teams are not respecting him whatsoever when he is standing on the perimeter. It seems that without a serviceable jump shot, Simmons will never become an elite point guard.
- Brooklyn Nets
Previous Ranking: 7 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Kyrie Irving’s attendance issues
When Kyrie has played, he has been spectacular, averaging 27 points per game along with 6 assists and 50% from the field and 40% from three. He has had trouble staying on court though, missing a stretch of games due to “personal reasons” which were later revealed to be him not wanting to play. This has had several people question his love of the game, and has even had Stephen A. Smith suggest that he retire. Although that certainly was too drastic, Kyrie needs to show up as he is one of the most important pieces of this team.
- Indiana Pacers
Previous Ranking: 8 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Aaron Holiday
Third year guard Aaron Holiday was given the chance to make a big jump this season, but he has been unable to do so. Holiday has started some games early on, but he just hasn’t been able to score efficiently, shooting only 36% from the field and 26% from three. However he may get another chance soon, as recently acquired guard Caris LeVert is out indefinitely with a kidney problem.
- Dallas Mavericks
Previous Ranking: 10 (Up 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Luka Doncic’s three point shooting
Luka has been terrific to start the season, averaging a near triple double. The only downside of his game has been the inefficiency from the three point line. Doncic is shooting over 7 threes a game, only converting on roughly 2 of them a game. He’s shooting an abysmal 26% from three which is just awful for someone who takes such a high volume.
- Portland Trailblazers
Previous Ranking: 11 (Up 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Jusuf Nurkic
Although it may seem unfair to label Nurkic the biggest disappointment because of him coming back from a grueling leg injury, it has to be him. Nurkic pre-injury was a consistent 15 and 10 a night on good efficiency. This season he was unable to even crack double digit points or rebounds, averaging just 9 points and 7 rebounds per game. Along with a major production drop off, Nurkic would break his wrist this week and be out for around 8 weeks, so players like Enes Kanter and Harry Giles will have to fill in his role.
- Denver Nuggets
Previous Ranking: 12 (Up 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Jamal Murray
After an insane run in the bubble, Jamal Murray’s production was expected to drop a little. Murray has pretty much returned to his pre bubble form, as he has put up nearly identical stats from last season. The major thing that is missing though is his confidence. In the bubble, you could tell that any shot he took, he thought was going in, but it is clear he isn’t playing with that same confidence. For a player many thought was a future All Star this year, Jamal Murray has been a big disappointment.
- Utah Jazz
Previous Ranking: 14 (Up 2)
Biggest Disappointment: Bojan Bogdanovic
After averaging a career high 20.2 points per game last season, Bojan has been unable to reproduce those numbers. He has been another player who has been shooting inefficiently right out the gate, and it has tanked his scoring numbers down to only 13 points per game. It is necessary for Bojan to get his numbers back up to help relieve the scoring burden off of Donovan Mitchell.
- Golden State Warriors
Previous Ranking: 13 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Kelly Oubre Jr.
This one should come as no surprise as Oubre is maybe the biggest disappointment in the whole league. Oubre has struggled immensely on the offensive side of the ball, particularly on shooting threes. He started 1-21 from three to start the season, and he has continued to struggle from downtown, converting on less than 20% of his threes this season. Oubre has been pretty much turned into a catch and shoot shooter and his skillset is not being properly utilized on the Warriors right now.
- Miami Heat
Previous Ranking: 9 (Down 5)
Biggest Disappointment: Kendrick Nunn
For a guy who was the front runner for Rookie of the Year at the start of last season, it is tough to see him get barely any minutes. In the limited minutes he does receive Nunn hasn’t shown any reasons for him to get more playing time. Nunn is only averaging 5 points per game compared to his 15 points per game last year which is a huge drop off. Nunn has also shot extremely inefficiently, so it is hard to see Erik Spoelstra giving him any more minutes.
- San Antonio Spurs
Previous Ranking: 20 (Up 5)
Biggest Disappointment: LaMarcus Aldridge
It seems that father time has officially caught up to LaMarcus Aldridge this season. His efficiency and scoring have decreased significantly and are almost the worst of his long career. Aldridge has taken a smaller role with players like Keldon Johnson and Dejounte Murray getting increased minutes and more shots. However the efficiency struggles are worrisome to start the year.
- Houston Rockets
Previous Ranking: 15 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: The James Harden Situation
It is never a good thing when a former MVP forces their way off the team. Harden did just that and Houston granted his request and traded him to the Nets in a blockbuster deal. Although it’s tough to lose a top ten player in the league, most saw this coming for a long time now. Harden had stated several times that he was unhappy and wanted to be moved, and teammates were frustrated with him not buying into the team. It was just unfortunate that it had to be such a messy ending for a player who led the Rockets on several deep playoff runs.
- Orlando Magic
Previous Ranking: 16 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Losing Markelle Fultz to injury
After Fultz seemingly found his home in Orlando, he would go down with a knee injury in a game against the Cavs. It would later be announced that he had suffered a torn ACL and would be out for the rest of the season. It is tough to see this for a guy who had potential to be the Most Improved player this season and had got off to such a good start. It’s extremely tough in Fultz’s case as he has had injury problems his whole career and just when it seemed like he was going to turn things around, he gets hit with another injury.
- Atlanta Hawks
Previous Ranking: 18 (Same)
Biggest Disappointment: Injuries to almost all offseason additions
Even though this isn’t one specific person, it is clearly the biggest disappointment for the Hawks. Whether it is Rajon Rondo, Danilo Gallinari, or Bogdan Bogdanovic, it seems like someone is always missing a game for some random injury. Even their first round draft pick Onyeka Okongwu has missed a lot of time, playing in just his first game this week. Due to all of these injuries, we haven’t been able to see the Hawks at their best yet.
- Toronto Raptors
Previous Ranking: 22 (Up 3)
Biggest Disappointment: Inability to close out games
Outside of Saturday’s game where the Raptors would win the game with some big plays down the stretch, Toronto has struggled in clutch moments. The Raptors had two games this week where they would find a way to blow it in the 4th quarter. Against the Warriors, Toronto fouled Damion Lee with three seconds left while in the lead. Lee would sink both free throws, and Pascal Siakam would miss the potential game winning shot on the other end. Against the Blazers, Toronto would blow a 17 point lead, and Siakam would once again miss a potential game winner. For a team full of vets it is surprising that they have struggled to close out these games.
- Charlotte Hornets
Previous Ranking: 23 (Up 3)
Biggest Disappointment: Devonte Graham
After making a massive jump last season, Graham has regressed substantially and is getting outplayed by rookie LaMelo Ball. Graham remains a starter, mainly to keep his confidence up, but he has not looked good. He has never been an efficient player, but Graham is shooting an abysmal 30% from the field to start the season. With this poor efficiency, his scoring has followed and also dropped going from 18 points per game to 12 points per game. If he can’t turn things around quickly the Hornets should seriously consider benching him and letting LaMelo flourish in the starting lineup.
- New Orleans Pelicans
Previous Ranking: 17 (Down 4)
Biggest Disappointment: Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball has been significantly hindered by the current structure of the Pelicans roster. Lonzo is at his best when he has the ball in his hands and is making plays on both sides of the ball. The Pelicans however, have relied on him to play off ball and space the floor, while Eric Bledsoe has been the primary ball handler. With that his numbers have dropped, with both his assists and three point percentage have dropped significantly. If Lonzo doesn’t start to get the ball in his hands more, you can expect him to look more and more like a role player.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
Previous Ranking: 21 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Offensive struggles
The Cavs have been one of the worst teams offensively to start the year. In their last ten games, they have failed to score over 100 points in nine of them. They currently average under 100 points per game as a team, and have lost several games because of this. They will need to get their guard duo of Colin Sexton and Darius Garland healthy, as they are both good scorers who can help fix this problem.
- New York Knicks
Previous Ranking: 19 (Down 4)
Biggest Disappointment: 5 game losing streak after a promising start
The Knicks started the season red hot, picking up some impressive wins over the Bucks and Pacers. Julius Randle led this charge and Knicks fans believed that they might have a shot at the playoffs. However, it seems like they have returned to mediocrity, rattling off 5 losses in their last 5 games to really hurt fans’ high hopes for them. Randle has still been solid, but outside of him pretty much everyone else has been inconsistent. They’ll need to turn it around now, or else it’ll be clear their run in the start of the season was just a fluke.
- Oklahoma City Thunder
Previous Ranking: 25 (Up 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Too much winning
Although this may seem backwards, OKC has been winning too much. Their roster was not built for this and in a year where many expected them to start rebuilding it is tough to see them with a .500 record. Vets like George Hill and Al Horford have come in and helped this young Thunder team grab a lot more wins than they should have. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise for OKC, as they could potentially move both Hill and Horford later down the line for even more picks and assets.
- Memphis Grizzlies
Previous Ranking: 29 (Up 4)
Biggest Disappointment: Getting hit with the Injury Bug
The Grizzlies started this season with Jaren Jackson Jr. sidelined for several weeks. After Ja Morant’s hot start, he would go down with an ankle sprain, leaving the Grizzlies in a big hole. With arguably their two best players sidelined, things looked bleak for the Grizzlies this season. Amazingly they were able to stay afloat, and with Ja Morant’s return on Saturday, were able to get back to .500. If the team can get fully healthy, they might be able to sneak back into playoff contention.
- Sacramento Kings
Previous Ranking: 24 (Down 2)
Biggest Disappointment: Marvin Bagley III
For a former number 2 overall pick, Bagley has clearly disappointed this year. His numbers have pretty much stayed the same, or even regressed from his rookie year and his dad has been vocal on social media for wanting the Kings to trade his son to a new team. In only 25 minutes per game, Bagley hasn’t been able to show why he should get an increased role and increased minutes. He’s only scoring 12 points and getting 7 boards a game, and he doesn’t really impact the game when out there. Don’t be surprised if Bagley gets moved to the bench soon.
- Chicago Bulls
Previous Ranking: 26 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: High Amount of Turnovers
The Bulls are tied for the most turnovers per game with a little over 18 per game. Both of their starting guards in Coby White and Zach Lavine are averaging over 3 turnovers a game. The Bulls have sometimes been their biggest enemy, constantly throwing away possessions off of sloppy play. If they can be more careful with the ball they could maybe sneak into the playoff race.
- Washington Wizards
Previous Ranking: 27 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Russell Westbrook
Westbrook has severely regressed this season, and it has shown in many ways. On the stat sheet, both his efficiency and scoring have plummeted going from 27 points per game on 47% shooting to only 19 points per game on 37% shooting. On the court he looks far less aggressive, settling for more jump shots than he should be. Westbrook is still a solid player, but he is no longer able to carry a bad team and doesn’t seem like a good fit next to Bradley Beal.
- Minnesota Timberwolves
Previous Ranking: 30 (Up 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Jarrett Culver
Although almost anyone of the Timberwolves roster could be their biggest disappointment, Culver is the one who gets the crown. The second year player out of Texas Tech had some high expectations to hit after being one of the best all around players coming out of the 2019 draft. After a disappointing rookie year, Culver seems to have not progressed at all this year. He is still unable to hit a jump shot consistently, and his minutes are getting cut due to rookie Anthony Edwards needing time to play. It is still early, but it is seeming more and more likely for Culver to turn into a bust.
- Detroit Pistons
Previous Ranking: 29 (Down 1)
Biggest Disappointment: Blake Griffin
After returning from injury Griffin has not looked like the same player he once was. He is no longer the high flyer, uber athletic power forward, and instead seems like a player who only wants to shoot threes. Out of his 12 shots per game, 7 of them are threes which is way too many for an average three point shooter at best. Griffin needs to stop relying so much on his three point shot and try to take it to the paint, while also stepping up and playing some better defense.